There have been Roxy Music boxed sets almost as long as there has been Roxy Music. The first one happened in the vinyl era, before the group had disbanded the second time. E’G released a seven LP box with all of their studio albums up to the time of its issue; 1981.
This puppy contained all of the albums through “Flesh + Blood” and I remember reading about it at the time, but I never saw this bad boy in any stores where I lived at the time. Admittedly, Orlando, Florida was something of a cultural backwater at the time. It still is, the last time I checked [glances at clock]. Since I already had begun buying Roxy Music albums there was no real pull to this box, other than the posh package the LPs were contained in. By five years after the release of this box, I already had begun buying all of the Roxy Music albums on the first German Polydor CDs, which were the first to market in the initial CD rush.
The next Roxy Music boxed set was issued in 1989 as part of the 20th anniversary of E’G Records. It contained the “second coming” Roxy Music studio albums: “Manifesto,” “Flesh + Blood,” and “Avalon,” in addition to a fourth disc with a sampler of the various E’G related acts. This was another set I never actually saw, but again, I already had the constituent albums on CD, so this only had pull for fetish collectors. And I was young and pragmatic in those days.
Everything changed in 1995, when the third Roxy Music boxed set, “The Thrill Of It All,” dropped from the sky like bananas from heaven. This was a box I could get behind. Among its many features was a colorful hardback box/book with scads of amazing photos and enticing sleeve images that held much import in a Discogs.com-free world. It contained highlights from the studio albums condensed to fit on three CDs. “For Your Pleasure” was only a single track shy of complete. The initial LPs of the albums had many track substitutions and changes over the years, and by the time the albums made it to CD in 1984, often the hit single versions of certain cuts were substituted into the running order. Cuts like “Dance Away” were only ever heard in their original form on the first UK pressings of “Manifesto.” So a handful of single tracks finally made their CD debut with this box. Most important of all, the fourth disc contained only Roxy music B-sides and the occasional 12″ remix the group dabbled in.
My wife got me this box as a gift one year, and that was another good reason why I married her! But there was trouble in paradise. It turns out that one track [“The Pride + The Pain”] was mastered in mono and another [“South Downs”] was mastered backwards! Plus certain other tracks were left off, presumably for space. A live B-side [“For Your Pleasure”] was excised presumably for not being a studio recording. So over the years, I came to plot a rarity BSOG that would address these failings, among several others. But as the Chinese proverb says, if you wait by the river long enough, you’ll see your enemies float by. Roxy Music is issuing their fourth boxed set and this one looks to set the record[s] straight, thus saving me the weeks of time I would have spent making this set, if I had it.
The eight studio albums will be accounted for with a staggeringly complete selection of bonus tracks that are truly monastic in their attention to detail. Little discrepancies like the two, different mixes of the group’s second single, “Pyjamarama” existed, depending whether it was issued by Island, in 1973 or Polydor, in 1977. This is now addressed, along with every legitimate edit and mix of every single from all territories. Yes, they are shooting for perfection here and I am duly impressed! Single mixes. Extended versions. North American mixes. Ever hear the US 7″ mix of “The Thrill Of It All?” Me neither! Even I don’t have some of the tracks that will make their debut digitally in this box! Better still, the full albums will now be on CD in their complete, original versions – which has never been the case for several of them, particularly “Manifesto,” which was subject to much meddling ex post facto.
But wait, there’s more! Accompanying the CDs will be four DVD-A with a pair of albums mastered flat in 24/96 each! Now how much would you pay? Well, I can’t answer that. This box has just been released with its running order to tantalize the faithful. Picky details, like how much will it cost [not to mention what it looks like – but you know it will look great] have yet to be addressed. I can tell you that it drops to Earth on Monday, April 2nd. Color me ready and waiting. Achievements like this I rarely see outside the confines of my Record Cell/remastering lab! [applause]
previously available | first time on CD
CD1: Roxy Music
03. If There Is Something
05. The Bob (Medley)
06. Chance Meeting
07. Would You Believe?
08. Sea Breezes
09. Bitters End
10. Virginia Plain
11. The Numberer
CD2: For Your Pleasure
01. Do The Strand
02. Beauty Queen
03. Strictly Confidential
04. Editions Of You
05. In Every Dream Home A Heartache
06. The Bogus Man
07. Grey Lagoons
08. For Your Pleasure
09. Pyjamarama (Island Mix)
10. Pyjamarama (Polydor Mix)
11. The Pride And The Pain
12. Do The Strand (USA 7″ Mix 3:19)
01. Street Life
02. Just Like You
06. A Song For Europe
07. Mother Of Pearl
09. Hula Kula
CD4: Country Life
01. The Thrill Of It All
02. Three And Nine
03. All I Want Is You
04. Out Of The Blue
05. If It Takes All Night
06. Bitter Sweet
09. A Really Good Time
10. Prairie Rose
11. The Thrill Of It All – [1977 Greatest Hits Edit 4:20]
12. Your Application’s Failed
13. The Thrill Of It All [USA 7″ Mix 3:20]
01. Love Is The Drug
02. End Of The Line
03. Sentimental Fool
05. She Sells
06. Could It Happen To Me?
07. Both Ends Burning
09. Just Another High
10. Love Is The Drug [USA 7″ Mix 3:00]
12. Both Ends Burning [7″ Mix 3:58]
13. For Your Pleasure – Live
03. Angel Eyes (***rock version***)
04. Still Falls The Rain
05. Stronger Through The Years
06. Ain’t That So
07. My Little Girl
08. Dance Away (***ballad Version***)
09. Cry, Cry, Cry
10. Spin Me Round
11. Trash 2
12. Dance Away (Single Version)
13. Dance Away (Canadian Extended 12″ Mix)
14. Angel Eyes (Single Version)
15. Angel Eyes (12″ Single Version)
CD7: Flesh And Blood
01. The Midnight Hour
02. Oh Yeah
03. Same Old Scene
04. Flesh And Blood
05. My Only Love
06. Over You
07. Eight Miles High
08. Rain Rain Rain
09. No Strange Delight
10. Running Wild
11. Oh Yeah [7″ Version]
12. Manifesto (Remake)
13. South Downs
15. Jealous Guy
16. To Turn On You [1981 B-Side Version]
01. More Than This
02. The Space Between
05. While My Heart Is Still Beating
06. The Main Thing
07. Take A Chance With Me
08. To Turn You On
09. True To Life
11. Avalon [7″ Single Version]
12. Always Unknowing
13. Take A Chance With Me [7″ Single Version]
14. Take A Chance With Me [USA 7″ Mix]
15. The Main Thing (12″ Single Version)
16. The Main Thing – Remix
P.S.: Most intriguingly the official press release closes with this wording: “Further issues are planned for 2012 with details to be announced at a later date.” Methinks dlx RM boxes of each individual album may be in the pipeline! Just the eight albums in the big box for $150 or so with $100 boxes of each individual album, loaded to the gills with luxury accoutrements; BBC sessions, live albums, 5.1 versions, DVDs of Dutch TV appearances. I may wish to wait before striking immediately at what may be the “overview” box. For Roxy Music I’d be up for serious RMs of the kind prevalent nowadays. The music is that vital to me.
– 30 –
It would be nice to see the Bryan Ferry ”solo” catalog receive the same treatment & please package it in something for cd’s approximating that lush looking purple lp box.
My non-MTV introduction to Roxy Music was working at a library when the Roxy-obsessed librarians were scrambling to get the albums as imports. I was acutely aware that they regarded these as fetish objects, I had no idea why at the time. Oh, and they all held ”Avalon” in disdain, which was the only one that I knew (via MTV of course).
Tim: Oh, “Avalon” is fine. It’s an incredibly poised, thematically unified album. Bloodless; but it’s trying to be bloodless. Admirable in its own frame, but put it next to the debut and it’s no contest. I love ‘em all [differently], except for “Siren!” I went out on a tear one night in the mid-80s and bought all of the first six albums on CD. German Polydor imports. I had the US 1st pressing of “Manifesto” so I was overjoyed to finally get the single version of “Angel Eyes.” The US LP still had the single version of “Dance Away,” though. I only previously had “Manifesto” through “Avalon” on vinyl, so getting albums 1-5 in one fell swoop was a mind-blowing experience. “Flesh + Blood” was the first contemporaneous album I bought. The same week that peter gabriel III came out [rolls eyes]. Yeah, 1980 was an amazing year.
Certainly all of Ferry’s Island era albums as a boxed set, with B-Sides – re-makes of Roxy Music songs!
ronkanefiles – I’m surprised that this hasn’t happened yet, but after Roxy Music gets the 40th Anniversary attention, I’d bet a nose full of nickels that your wish will be granted, eventually. Most intriguingly the official press release closes with this wording: “Further issues are planned for 2012 with details to be announced at a later date.” Methinks dlx RM boxes of each individual album may be in the pipeline! Just the eight albums in the big box for $150 or so with $100 boxes of each individual album, loaded to the gills with luxury accoutrements; BBC sessions, live albums, 5.1 versions, DVDs of what hasn’t trickled out thus far. I may wish to wait before striking immediately at what may be the “overview” box. For Roxy Music I’d be up for serious RMs of the kind prevalent nowadays. The music is that vital to me.
Ahh…I have found my birthday present to myself….this will be the last one of my 40’s so it should go out with a bang!!
One question Monk – and excuse my naivete, will I be able to play the DVD’s?
Fave Roxy albums – For Your Pleasure, Manifesto and Avalon…proof that Glam/Art Rock wasn’t all the same.
Echorich – They will be DVD-A discs, playable in any DVD player with high-res 24/96 2.0 sound, hot from the flat remasters. You won’t even need a 5.1 setup to appreciate what they offer.
My fave Roxy Music albums? “Roxy Music,” “For Your Pleasure,” “Stranded,” “Flesh + Blood.” If I had to pick one – “For Your Pleasure.” But “Stranded” comes close every time I hear “Mother Of Pearl,” my fave rave Roxy track.
It would take some deep thought but Mother of Pearl and In Every Dream Home A Heartache are the probable winners for me…having said that I am a huge fan of Love Is The Drug and feel it is a song which helped launch the English New Wave…
Echorich – I agree 100% with your choices. And “Love Is The Drug” is practically the song that launched me. See here for more detail.
I agree with Echorich — this is likely to become a birthday present for myself, though I will wait a bit after the April 2nd drop to see what else they have in mind. I’ve waited years for a “definitive” RM of the early Roxy albums — I still have the very first record I ever bought with my own money, that first Roxy Music album! I admit it — I bought it for the fold-out pin up as much as the music! There I said it!
For some reason (likely because I was getting into comic-book collecting at the time), I had the presence of mind to keep it in a plastic sleeve (later on) and well-held-onto over the years. I “rediscovered” it many years later and I’m delighted to still have it.