The holiday season is officially up on us, and with that, time to take a look at some of the box sets that are available to place under the discerning music fan’s Christmas tree. Here’s a peek at some of the 2018 offerings:
Guns N’ Roses: ‘Appetite for Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded Edition’
Fans have been waiting for ANY archival material from GnR, and now with the arrival of this four-disc ‘Appetite for Destruction’ set, appetites have been whetted. The set features a remaster of the original album alongside a trove of bonus material. Among this is, ‘The Sound City Sessions’ which is filled with covers, demos, acoustic versions etc. If your pocketbook can handle it, there’s also a ‘Locked N’ Loaded’ edition, limited to 10,000 copies worldwide, housed in a wooden case with an embossed ‘Appetite’ logo on the front. What do you get for your hard-earned dollar? Well how about, all the band’s 7” singles from the ’80s, replica concert tickets, flyers, guitar picks, pins, patches, temporary tattoos and a 96-page hardcover book with photos from the personal archive of Axl Rose?
Metallica: ‘…And Justice for All’
Fans and critics together include ‘…And Justice for All’ as one of the finest releases in Metallica’s arsenal. This newly remastered set contains previously unreleased demos, rough mixes, previously unreleased live tracks, as well as an expanded booklet of never-before-seen photos. The one-pressing-only Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set includes extras like a “One” picture disc, a three-LP set from a live performance in Seattle, a set of four patches, a tour laminate, lyric sheets and a deluxe 120-page book with never-before-seen photos and never-before told firsthand stories.
Led Zeppelin: ‘How the West Was Won’
Fans can thank guitarist Jimmy Page for taking the time and energy to go through the band’s entire catalogue and give it the remastering treatment. This continues with the critically-acclaimed ‘How the West Was Won’ set, with live material from the band when they performed two nights in late-June of 1972 at the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena. The band were arguably at their peak and the music is effectively captured. The Super Deluxe Edition contains a 96-page hardcover book filled with rare and previously unpublished photos of the band.
Tom Petty: ‘An American Treasure’
There has been a cavalcade of Petty releases since his passing one year ago. This box set, spread across four discs and 60-tracks, captures Petty with previously unreleased recordings, alternate versions of some of his best-known hits, rarities and live material. There is also a Super Deluxe Limited Edition, which comes with a Shepard Fairey lithograph, reproductions of Petty’s handwritten lyrics and an 84-page hardcover book that has a host of rare photos of the late singer-songwriter throughout the years.
The Beatles: ‘The Beatles’
What would Christmas be without the Beatles? The ‘White Album’ is by far the most musically varied release in the Beatles’ catalog, and now it finally gets the deluxe treatment on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. This set includes a 2018 remix of the original records (produced by Giles Martin) and 50 additional recordings – most previously unreleased officially – pulled from the album’s studio sessions. All tracks have been newly mixed from the four-track and eight-track session tapes, sequenced in order of their recording start dates making for 107 tracks in total. For fans of the band, the real highlight audio Esher Demos, recorded at George Harrison’s house in Esher, Surrey. The 27 tracks have the band fresh of their excursion to India, going through acoustic takes of the songs for the album before settling down at Abbey Road and Trident Studios. A must-have for the hardcore fan.
Def Leppard: ‘The Collection: Volume One’
If early fan voting is accurate, this box set is perfectly timed for the imminent announcement that the band will be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. Containing their entire ’80s studio output, ‘The Collection: Volume One’ features reproductions of the original packaging along with a replica 7-inch single and three-inch CD of the band’s original independent EP, the self-titled ‘The Def Leppard E.P.‘ Also included is a live recording from the group’s show at the Los Angeles Forum in 1983 and a rarities set of B-sides and recordings compiled by lead vocalist Joe Elliott.
Chris Cornell: ‘An Artist’s Legacy’
Cornell’s passing continues to touch a nerve. The recently announced tribute concert that will take place in January, continues his legacy. This set captures the wide range of music that Cornell delivered in his career. From the ground-breaking tracks with Soundgarden, to the other side of the musical rainbow with Temple of the Dog and another turnaround in Audioslave, as well as his solo material, everything makes its way onto the four-disc set. The Super Deluxe edition holds 88 tracks; 64 songs and 24 videos. Thirteen of the cuts are unreleased, including covers of tracks by Bob Marley, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and duets with his daughter Toni.
Iron Maiden: ‘The Studio Collection’
Beginning in 2014, Iron Maiden, released their catalog as ‘The Studio Collection.’ Now the sets are being made available in the Digipak compact format, with the track listing matching the original U.K. releases. The albums are being put out chronologically across a nine-month period, with the first out this November featuring ‘Iron Maiden,’ ‘Killers,’ ‘The Number of the Beast’ and ‘Piece of Mind.’ If you count yourself among the avid collectors, one disc from each batch will be available in a specially art-worked box featuring a 1:24 scale figurine of Eddie and a patch.
The band is best remembered for their high-production 80’s releases which hit a large audience but wasn’t necessarily at true representation of the band’s material. Remove the glossiness, and you’re left with some enduring music that lends itself very well to the acoustic format. The five-CD, one-DVD set is full of rare and unreleased studio and live recordings, acoustic demos, concert videos, interviews and more. Their 1997 unplugged show is brought back to life (previously only available in Japan as ‘Starkers in Tokyo‘) and represented here in the most complete version thus far in both audio and video. Acoustic performances from 2006 and 2008 throughout Europe and the U.S. are also included. Every tune shows the band displaying its musical prowess in another light.