2017 in Review: Best of the Boxed Sets & Collections

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It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to that list of stuff we’ve craved throughout the year—for ourselves and for those we love (if they have good taste)!

For us—and we’re guessing for you too—that wish list is always topped by music.

In this first installment we round up the most essential boxed sets, reissues and other historical collections of 2017. In part two we make our suggestions for the best new releases by classic rock artists. In part three we highlight the top new holiday music albums. And in part four, we recap the year’s best music books.

The list is arranged alphabetically by artist (record label in parentheses)—no rankings here because they’re all worthy. All of these are available on CD, many also on LP and digitally. Ordering links are in the capsule reviews and also at the bottom of the page. (U.K. readers can also click here.) Hope you find something you like! We sure did!

The Beach Boys1967—Sunshine Tomorrow (Capitol/UMe)
The 2-CD set dives into a fascinating and frenetic chapter in the Beach Boys’ creative arc, exploring the band’s dynamic year. Includes session recordings for the Wild Honey and Smiley Smile albums, plus live and previously unreleased studio material from the period.

The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Editions and The Beatles Christmas Records Box (both Capitol/UMe)
Essential: The various Sgt. Pepper’s Anniversary Edition packages, including a new stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including no fewer than 34 previously unreleased recordings. Whether you opt for the 2-CD, the 2-LP vinyl or the Super Deluxe 6-disc box you’ll be newly amazed by this classic. And coming Dec. 11 for Beatles completists: The Beatles Christmas Records Box, a limited-edition collection of 7-inch singles, pressed on colored vinyl, of the Fab Four’s annual holiday messages sent to their fan club members from 1963-1969.

DionKickin’ Child: The Lost Album 1965 (Norton)
Previously unreleased tracks produced by Tom Wilson for Columbia Records during a period when the artist was veering from teen pop like “The Wanderer” and “A Teenager in Love” into a folk-rock-based style.

The DoorsThe Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Strange Days 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and The Singles (all Rhino)
The expanded version of their self-titled 1967 debut LP includes a remastered version of the original stereo mix, the original mono mix and an LP version of the mono mix. The third disc features a live performance from the Matrix in San Francisco. The deluxe edition of the followup, Strange Days, includes the original stereo mix and the album’s original mono mix. Also new, The Singles is a 2-CD compendium of all 20 U.S. singles by the band with their corresponding B-sides, plus four mono radio versions.

Bob DylanTrouble No More: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 13/1979-1981 (Columbia/Legacy)
The latest entry in the ongoing series focuses on live recordings from Dylan’s so-called “born again” period from 1979’s Slow Train Coming through 1980’s Saved and 1981’s Shot of Love. The Deluxe Edition includes 100 previously unreleased live and studio recordings, 14 unreleased songs, a DVD of the Trouble No More documentary and a hardcover book.

The EaglesHotel California Deluxe Edition (Rhino/Elektra)
The new 2-CD/1-Blu-ray Audio includes remastered sound, 10 previously unreleased live recordings, plus hi-res stereo and 5.1 mixes. Presented in an 11 x 11 hardbound book, the set also features rare and unseen photos from the era, a replica tour book, and an 11 x 22 poster. A 2-CD Expanded Edition and single CD are also available.

Related: Read our interview with Hotel California producer Bill Szymczyk

Fleetwood MacTango in the Night: Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros.)
The Deluxe three CDs, DVD and LP, expand on the original with a selection of rare and unreleased recordings, newly remastered sound, plus several music videos. An Expanded Edition takes up two discs and there’s also a single-disc reissue.

The GolliwogsFight Fire: The Complete Recordings 1964-1967 (Craft)
Before they were Creedence Clearwater Revival they were the Golliwogs. The package houses all of the band’s singles A- and B-sides, plus several recordings that were never released.


Grateful DeadCornell 5/8/77 (Rhino)
It was a very bountiful year for Dead Heads, with the release of a four-hour documentary (and soundtrack album), the 6-CD collection of 1989 shows from Washington, D.C., an 11-disc boxed set of May 1977 shows and more. But if you’re not interested in that level of commitment, the way to go is Cornell 5/8/77, a 3-CD set presenting what many consider the band’s best show ever.

INXSKick 30 (Rhino/Atlantic)
Housed in DVD-size packaging, the 30th anniversary Deluxe Edition extends previous editions with additional B-sides, rare mixes and bonus tracks over three CDs and a Blu-ray disc. In addition, it features the album mixed in Dolby Atmos. The album had four Top 10 Hot 100 singles: “Need You Tonight” (#1), “Devil Inside” (#2), “New Sensation” (#3) and “Never Tear Us Apart” (#7).

Jethro TullSongs From the Wood: 40th Anniversary Edition (Rhino)
The 1977 album is expanded with the original album remixed in stereo by Steven Wilson, unreleased tracks and alternate versions, unseen footage from the live concert (with performances of “Thick as a Brick,” “Cross-Eyed Mary,” “Aqualung” and “Locomotive Breath”) at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md., and more.

Elton JohnDiamonds (Island)
Available in single, double and 3-disc configurations (also LP and digital), the collection is intended to be the definitive roundup of the superstar’s hits.

Bob Marley & the WailersExodus 40—Deluxe Edition (UMe)
Includes the original 1977 album and the Ziggy Marley “restatement”; a 3-CD set (and digital equivalent) that includes the original Exodus, Exodus 40—The Movement Continues and Exodus Live.

Paul McCartneyFlowers in the Dirt Deluxe Edition (MPL/Capitol/UMe)
In addition to audio and video content, exclusive features of the Deluxe Edition include a 32-page notebook of Paul’s handwritten lyrics and notes, a catalog for Linda McCartney’s 1989 Flowers in the Dirt photo exhibition, a 64-page photo book featuring the music videos for “This One” and a custom-created 112-page book.

Steve Miller BandUltimate Hits (Capitol/UMe)
Available in 1-CD, 2-CD and vinyl editions, it features every one of the band’s hits, plus live tracks and eight previously unreleased recordings from the studio and the stage.

Related: Steve Miller has big plans for 2018

The MonkeesMore of the Monkees Super Deluxe Edition (Rhino)
The 3-disc version of the group’s second album is available only at the Monkees store and includes a whoppings 55 previously unreleased tracks, including newly discovered concert recordings from 1967 that are the Monkees’ earliest-known live tracks.

Watch “Mary Mary” from More of the Monkees

The Moody BluesDays of Future Passed 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (UMe)
The 2-CD/DVD and digital versions feature the album’s newly restored original 1967 stereo mix, which makes its CD debut here.

MotörheadUnder Cöver (Silver Lining Music/Motörhead)
The album features 11 “raucous” covers by the metal legends, including the Rolling Stones’ “Jumping jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil,” the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach,” the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” and David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

Nitty Gritty Dirt BandAnthology (Capitol Nashville/UMe)
The 2-disc, 39-track set begins with “Buy For Me the Rain,” their first track from their 1967 self-titled debut, and culminates with “The Resurrection” from their most recent studio release, 2009’s Speed of Life.

Elvis PresleyA Boy From TupeloThe Complete 1953-1955 Recordings (Legacy/RCA)
The most comprehensive collection of early Elvis recordings ever assembled, with many tracks becoming available for the first time. Includes every known Presley Sun Records master and outtake, plus the Memphis Recording Service acetates.

QueenNews of the World 40th Anniversary Edition Super Deluxe (Hollywood)
The 3-CD/vinyl/DVD set includes the original album–that yielded the twin hits “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”–plus two CDs of outtakes and rarities, one of which is a newly created “alternative” version of the whole album, Raw Sessions.

Listen to the official “We Are the Champions” Raw Session, from News of the World

RamonesRocket to Russia: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino)
The 3-CD/1-LP release contains two different mixes of the album: a remastered version of the original and a new 40th Anniversary Tracking Mix by original Rocket to Russia engineer/mixer Ed Stasium. The collection includes a number of unreleased studio recordings, plus a previously unissued recording of the band’s 1977 concert in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Rolling StonesTheir Satanic Majesties Request (50th Anniversary Special Edition) (ABKCO) and On Air (Polydor/UMe)
The new edition of the band’s 1967 psychedelic experiment contains a 180 gram vinyl of Satanic… in stereo, another 180 gram vinyl record in mono, and two hybrid Super Audio CDs (one in stereo and one in mono). On Air features music from the band’s formative years of 1963-65, including eight songs the band has never recorded or released commercially, originally broadcast on U.K. BBC shows.


Sex PistolsNever Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols 40th Anniversary (USM/UMC)
Released in limited numbers in 2012, this set is widely considered to be the definitive Pistols collection. This new edition still boasts three CDs, which include the original studio album with 1977 B-sides, a disc of outtakes and one disc of 1977 live material. The set also includes a DVD featuring 1977 footage of the band playing live.

SoundtrackSaturday Night Fever Super Deluxe Edition (Capitol/UMe)
The 40th anniversary of the mega-selling soundtrack is re-released in expanded commemorative configurations including a super deluxe boxed set that pairs the remastered album and remixes with the film’s 4K-restored 40th Anniversary director’s cut.

Listen to the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” with scenes from the film

Various ArtistsWoody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts (Bear Family)
In 1972, Columbia Records and Warner Bros. Records each released separate “Tribute to Woody Guthrie” albums. For the first time all of the music is together in one place. The boxed set has one 33-track disc of the 1968 Carnegie Hall event, while discs two and three contain 45 tracks from the 1970 Hollywood Bowl tribute.

The WhoMaximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles (UMe/Polydor)
The set presents all of the band’s single A-sides, B-sides and EPs in one place for the first time. The 5-CD set features 86 tracks from the Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor labels. It also includes the group’s first single, as the High Numbers, “Zoot Suit” b/w “I’m The Face.”

Brian WilsonPlayback: The Brian Wilson Anthology (Rhino)
The collection covers more than 30 years of music with selections from nine of Wilson’s solo albums on a single CD, a 2-LP set and digitally.

Neil YoungHitchhiker (Reprise)
It’s not technically a reissue because the music was never before released. It’s a studio album cut in 1976 that got shelved and forgotten. The album was recorded in a single session and contains some of Young’s well known songs plus two previously unreleased tracks.

The ZombiesOdessey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Edition (Varese Sarabande)
The album was recorded in 1967 at Abbey Road Studios but not released until 1968, by which time the British Invasion band had already broken up. The new edition includes the full album plus seven bonus tracks.

Watch the Zombies perform “Time of the Season” in 2011

Happy shopping!

Best Classic Bands Staff

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