Holiday Gift Guide for The Music Fans On Your List: 2022 Edition (Box Sets, Reissues and Beyond)


George A. PaulCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Finding just the right gift for a music aficionado on your holiday shopping list can be really time-consuming. With that in mind, below is a holiday gift guide highlighting some noteworthy rock and pop box sets, classic reissues, and books to help speed things along. Most can be purchased at our Rock Cellar Store (unless indicated otherwise). 

BOX SETS

The Beatles – Revolver: Special Edition (Universal Music Group/Apple Corps Ltd.) 

Backstory: Originally released in August 1966 and revisited this past October for a Special Edition reissue, Revolver spawned the double A-sided hit single “Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby.” The band was more adventurous in the studio, utilizing tape loops, Middle Eastern and chamber music, and manufactured sounds. According to Paul McCartney, “Some other artists found a formula and repeated it … John [Lennon] and I said that if we ever found one, we would get rid of it immediately.”    

Click here to pick up the Revolver Special Edition on 2-CD from our Rock Cellar Store 
Click here to pick up the Revolver Special Edition on LP from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up the Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe 5-CD set from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up the Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe 4-LP from our Rock Cellar Store

the beatles revolver super deluxe

The latest part of The Beatles revered catalog to get spruced up, this astounding box set features a sparkling new stereo and remastered original mono mix. Using a new sound technology developed for Peter Jackson’s The Beatles – Get Back documentary series, producer Giles Martin and company were able to isolate the vocal and instrumental Revolver tracks and bring them more to the fore. It’s almost like experiencing Revolver for the first time. The main album has more clarity; the Sessions discs provide multiple revelations as you hear George Martin and the band’s studio chatter, trying out various instruments, vocal arrangements and more.

What’s inside: The Super Deluxe CD and LP editions contain more than two dozen revelatory early session takes and other versions and the non-album chart-topping single “Paperback Writer/Rain” as an EP. The 12×12” slipcase has a cardboard foldout sleeve where the 5 CDs tuck inside slots. The excellent 100-page hardback book comprises a foreword from McCartney, an intro by Martin, a Questlove of The Roots essay, insightful track notes by Kevin Howlett, rare photos (handwritten lyrics, tape boxes, recording sheets, print ads) and extracts from original album cover artist/musician Klaus Voormann’s “Revolver” graphic novel.

Also available in 1CD, 2CD, 1LP and digital configurations.

George Michael – Older (Sony Music)

Backstory: The former Wham! front man emerged in 1996 after a 5 ½ year absence with his third solo album — a sophisticated foray into pop and R&B, with occasional dance, jazz and bossa nova elements. Older was successful in America but had a much bigger chart run in Europe and especially England, which sent six singles (notably “Fastlove” and “Jesus to a Child”) into the top 3.   

Click here to pick up Older on 2-LP from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Older Super Deluxe from our Rock Cellar Store

What’s inside: Utilizing a double 12×12” slipcase, the sleek physical Super Deluxe edition box set contains CD and LP versions of both the exquisite remastered Older (as a 2LP 180gsm vinyl gatefold with lyrics) and Upper album featuring radio versions and edits. There is an additional three CDs of extended mixes and remixes that originally appeared as B-sides and EPs. Standouts include a soulful live rendition of “Freedom ’94,” a live, stripped-down piano-based “One More Try” and “Star People (Unplugged)” and a gorgeous studio version of the Bonnie Raitt-popularized “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” 

A 48-page “Story of Older” book – exclusive to the box set – has an oral history of the album using archival and recent interviews, rare photos, and other ephemera. Additionally, there are three collectible color art prints on heavyweight stock. The entire packaging exudes “class.” 

Neil Young – Harvest: 50th Anniversary Edition (Reprise) Release date: Dec. 2

Backstory: While in Nashville to appear on ABC’s “The Johnny Cash Show,” Neil Young went into a studio with a quickly assembled group of studio musicians he called The Stray Gators. Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor added background vocals to some tunes. Later, Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Graham Nash would do the same. Young got the London Symphony Orchestra to sweeten a pair of songs and more recordings were done with The Gators in a barn at Young’s California ranch. The result was a solid, highly successful country/rock album that reached #1, spawned his biggest single (“Heart of Gold”), went multi-platinum and attained gold status in the U.S. “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Old Man” remain concert staples to this day.

Click here to pre-order Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition on 3-CD/2-DVD box set from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition on 2-LP/2-DVD box set from our Rock Cellar Store

neil young harvest time doc and box set

What’s inside: Each box set format (3CD+2DVD, 2LP+7″+2DVD) contains the main album, BBC In Concert from 1971 and a special EP of Harvest outtakes – “Dance Dance Dance,” “Journey Through the Past” and “Bad Fog of Loneliness” – all of which are top notch. A poster and hardcover book with rare photos and liner notes by photographer Joel Bernstein are also included. As for video: The half-hour-long BBC special looks sharp and saw a relaxed Young perform acoustically in front of a small studio audience. “Harvest Time,” a previously unreleased two-hour 1971 documentary, details the making of the album. There are laid back cameraman interviews with Young and the band, interesting scenes of them jamming, Young discussing the orchestral arrangements, having fun with his CSN compadres in the studio, doing radio interviews with Scott Shannon (and a young fan) and more. 

It will have a special worldwide theatrical showing on Dec. 1 and Dec. 4.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — Live at the Fillmore 1997 Release Date: Nov. 25

Live at the Fillmore 1997 is a collection from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers commemorating the ensemble’s 20-night stand at the famed San Francisco theater that further cementing the group’s place as one of the most electrifying live acts around.

Live at the Fillmore 1997 features a wealth of recordings from the fabled residency, which Petty previewed before the shows with this quote to the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We’re musicians and we want to play. We’ve made so many records in the past five years, I think the best thing for us to do is just go out and play and it will lead us to our next place, wherever that may be.”

Click here to pick up Live at the Fillmore 1997 on 2-CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Live at the Fillmore 1997 on 4-CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Live at the Fillmore 1997 on 3-LP from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Live at the Fillmore 1997 on 6-LP from our Rock Cellar Store

Queen – The Miracle: Collector’s Edition (Hollywood)

Backstory: Before making its 13th studio album, Queen took more than a year off to do solo projects. When the musicians regrouped, they were faced with Freddie Mercury’s HIV+ status and deteriorating health. They adopted an “all for one” attitude and credited all songwriting to the entire band. The Miracle was released in 1989 and many promising leftover tracks later appeared on B-sides, solo projects and final albums Innuendo and Made in Heaven. Frequently rocking harder than its predecessor, The Miracle topped the UK charts and is commonly ranked among the band’s finest of the Eighties. Five singles reached the UK top 30 (the biggest one, “I Want it All,” is often licensed for American TV commercials). Stateside, the album went gold.  

Click here to pick up The Miracle Collector’s Edition on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up The Miracle Collector’s Edition Super Deluxe from our Rock Cellar Store

queen the miracle box set layout

What’s inside: The 5CD/1LP+Blu-ray/DVD collector’s edition box set contains art prints, poster, postcards, a gatefold LP restoring “Too Much Love Will Kill You,” plus discs titled The Miracle Sessions (original takes, demos, rough takes, six unreleased tracks), Alternative Miracle (extra tracks, B-sides, extended and single versions), Miracu-mentals (instrumentals, backing tracks of the core songs) and Miracle Radio Interviews (BBC Radio 1 and America’s syndicated Rockline with DJ Bob Coburn originating from KLOS FM/Los Angeles). Among the previously unheard songs is the mild rocker “Dog with A Bone,” piano-based “I Guess We’re Falling Out,” and the sparse, Asian music-influenced ballad “Face It Alone.”

The video component has the five promotional music clips, Roger Taylor, Brian May, and John Deacon interviews on the “Breakthru” video set (Deacon is very chatty and never gave future interviews), behind the scenes video footage (a chat with the kids who appeared as Queen doppelgangers in “The Miracle”) and details on how the “four-headed” band image was created for the album cover.

A 76-page hardback book includes dozens of photos (many previously unseen), original handwritten fan-club letters from the band, press reviews from the time and liner notes, with other recollections from the band. 

Also available as deluxe 2CD collector’s edition with the Sessions disc.

Blondie – Against the Odds: 1974-1982 (Universal Music Enterprises/Numero Group)

Backstory: Singer Deborah Harry and the influential New York City rock band put out classic late 1970s/early ‘80s albums Parallel Lines, Eat to the Beat and Autoamerican and garnered #1 singles in both the US (“Heart of Glass,” “Call Me,” “The Tide is High,” “Rapture” and UK (the first three, plus “Atomic” and “Sunday Girl”). A forerunner of the new wave movement, they were the first to propel rap into the mainstream. 

What’s inside: The first authorized Blondie box set covers the group’s initial, most fruitful career phase. Bountiful track listings make up the Super Deluxe Collector, 10-LP and 8-CD configurations and the extravagant packaging should definitely satisfy diehard fans who’d waited four years since being announced (the retrospective recently earned a Grammy nomination for Best Historical Album). In addition to the half dozen remastered studio albums, there are B-sides, demos, and outtakes. 

Click here to pick up Against the Odds 1974-1982 on 3-CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Against the Odds 1974-1982 on 8-CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Against the Odds 1974-1982 on 4-LP from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Against the Odds 1974-1982 Super Deluxe from our Rock Cellar Store

Among the numerous noteworthy inclusions: “Yuletide Throwdown” (basically a slowed down “Rapture” alongside Fab 5 Freddy with Christmas lyrics), spirited ‘60s girl group covers popularized by The Marvelettes and Shangri-Las (“The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game,” “Out in the Street”) and listening to the trajectories of “Heart of Glass” and “The Tide is High.”    

Against the Odds comes housed in a foil-wrapped carton. The accompanying books (depending on which set is purchased) contain liner notes by Erin Osmon, track by track commentary from all original members, essays by producers Mike Chapman, Richard Gottehrer, and Ken Shipley, colorful illustrated discography, and cool period photographs.

Also available as deluxe 4-LP or 3-CD configurations of bonus tracks in a hardcover book or slipcase. 

The Cure – Wish: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino)

Backstory: Although The Cure had been a cult favorite among US college and alternative radio stations for most of the Eighties, it wasn’t until 1989’s double platinum-selling Disintegration and the #2 pop hit “Love Song” that the Brits finally became a household name in America. While making Wish, leader Robert Smith used a small palate of sounds to create a gentle, yearning vibe. It resulted in one of The Cure’s signature romantic tunes, “Friday I’m in Love,” and other modern rock charters like “A Letter to Elise” and “High.” 

Click here to pre-order Wish (30th Anniversary) on Deluxe 3-CD (Remastered) from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order Wish (30th Anniversary) on CD (Remastered) from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order Wish (30th Anniversary) on Vinyl from our Rock Cellar Store (Release date Jan. 27)

What’s inside: The deluxe 3-CD edition sports 45 tracks. In addition to the original album remastered by Smith and Miles Showell, CD2 has 21 previously unreleased demos – four 1990 studio vocal demos and 17 instrumental demos. The third CD is really fascinating, with a handful of hypnotic tracks from the mail-order-only 1993 cassette Lost Wishes that never appeared on CD or digitally, rare 12-inch mixes and an even more harrowing “End” live from Paris in 1992 which is two-minutes longer than the studio version. 

John Mellencamp – Scarecrow Super Deluxe Edition (Mercury/Universal Music Enterprises)

Backstory: John Mellencamp showed a propensity for deftly writing about hopes, dreams, and values of average working folk during “Pink Houses” in 1983. Two years later, he expanded upon that theme with “Rain on the Scarecrow” and “Small Town” from the excellent Scarecrow. One of the singer/guitarist’s most successful albums, it spun off five top 30 pop singles and fared even better at Album Oriented Rock radio. Drummer Kenny Aronoff really proves his mettle here. Special guests include singer Rickie Lee Jones and slide guitarist Ry Cooder. 

What’s inside: The 2-CD+LP+Blu-ray+7” vinyl in the Super Deluxe edition box set comes with a lift off lid. It includes the remixed and remastered original album which sounds stronger than ever, a Blu-ray with Dolby Atmos and hi-resolution stereo mixes, a half-speed mastered LP and 7” single of “Small Town.”

Among the rare and previously unreleased demos, rough mixes, and other songs: “Carolina Shag” and “Smart Guys” would’ve made worthy additions to the original release, “Small Town” (acoustic) is riveting, and fun covers of tunes popularized by the Drifters and James Brown (“Under the Boardwalk,” “Cold Sweat”) find Mellencamp sharing vocal duties with his touring band. Additionally, there is a poster, art cards, a booklet with an essay by Rolling Stone’s Anthony DeCurtis and a new Mellencamp interview. 

Elton John – Madman Across the Water: 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Universal Music Enterprises)

Backstory: The fourth album by Elton John, released in 1971, was more successful in America than the UK. It featured the singles “Tiny Dancer” and “Levon.” Both fared modestly on the U.S. charts, but would, along with the title track, become a frequent part of John’s concerts for 50 years. Paul Buckmaster’s string arrangements enriched most of the songs. John’s “classic” touring band lineup (Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnstone, Ray Cooper) all were featured for the first time here. Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman also played Hammond organ. 

Click here to pick up Madman Across the Water on 2-CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Madman Across the Water on Super Deluxe 3-CD/Blu-ray from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Madman Across the Water on Super Deluxe 4-LP from our Rock Cellar Store

What’s inside: The 3-CD+Blu-ray box set includes the original album utilizing a 2016 remaster, 18 previously unreleased tracks, a poster and 104-page book, photos, an essay with various interviews, memorabilia, and artwork. The Blu-ray features a 5.1 mix, 1971 BBC Sounds for Saturday and 1971 Old Grey Whistle Test performances. The 4-LP, 180g vinyl box set includes a 40-page booklet and more. Among the highlights: the various piano demos, live cuts and original “Madman” song done for Tumbleweed Connection with guitarist Mick Ronson (from David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars) but reworked by Johnstone.

BOOKS

“Bowie at 75” by Martin Popoff (Quarto)

“Bowie at 75” is an impressive coffee table book where music journalist/author Martin Popoff presents 75 thumbnail sketches of important milestones in the rock legend’s life and career (David Bowie would have turned 75 in 2022), including every album and selected singles. He doesn’t sugarcoat the low points either.   

Click here to pick up Bowie at 75 on hardcover from our Rock Cellar Store

Housed in a half-felt slipcase with lenticular-style cover (think: the first Bowie Sound+Vision box set on Rykodisc), the hardcover book features live concert and offstage photos and memorabilia such as gig posters and 7” single picture sleeves on glossy paper stock. There’s a gatefold timeline, a gatefold painting depicting “A Party of Bowies,” a previously unpublished 8×10 glossy print, index, and a pullout poster by noted gig poster artist Frank Kozik. Longtime fans who think they know everything about Bowie will likely find some surprising factoids that Popoff has uncovered. 

“Still Alright” by Kenny Loggins with Jason Turbow (Hachette)

At just under 300 pages, “Still Alright” is a breezy read, just like much of Kenny Loggins’ 1970s soft rock music. He writes – often with self-deprecating humor – about growing up in Southern California and becoming immersed in the Pasadena-area folk scene, touring for the first time in a well-known band (that had no original members!) and forming Loggins and Messina. A good chunk of the memoir is devoted to the latter.

Yet the most interesting sections are when Loggins starts having hits: his songwriting relationship with Michael McDonald, duetting with Stevie Nicks, becoming the soundtrack king in the Eighties, taking part in “We Are the World,” etc. Although the book lags a bit when the singer/guitarist started getting into self-actualization and therapy during the Nineties and beyond, most Loggins fans have plenty to savor here.    

Available via Amazon.com

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