I Just Dropped Three Figures on Prince’s LAST Box …And Now It’s Time To REALLY Commit For “Sign O’ The Times” Boxed Set Of God

prince sign o the times boxed set

8xCD + DVD + 120 pp hardcover…if you need to ask you can’t afford it

¡Ay Dios Mio! If you can remember back to fall of 2019, there was going to be a super deluxe box of Prince’s iconic “1999” album that I fancied getting. It was $60 and I was trying frantically to save for a trip I had planned for March to the UK., so I wasn’t going to buy this right away, but I certainly wanted to. The albums “Dirty Mind,” “Controversy,” and “1999” were HUGE for me as the period where Prince fearlessly wove his garments out of Funk and New Wave like no one else was doing yet. While I bought the SDLX RM of “Purple Rain” and it was tremendous, I had a special place in my heart for those earlier Prince albums that alerted me to him and made me a fan.

“1999” SDLX RM shipped at the end of November, and through January and February, I kept an eye cocked on the Prince webstore, assuring that it was still available while not spending much on anything. Then in March, as my planned trip fell victim to covid-19, I lost the plot as life changed and I began working from home and getting the kinks worked out of that painful process. I took my eye off of the “1999” target. It was about two weeks ago when I saw the “1999” box in my Discogs feed for the first time. Someone was selling it for $80. Until then I had seen it at list price. Red alarms went off. I went to the Prince webstore and saw it was sold out. Yikes! I went to buy the $80 copy on Discogs in my feed and it was sold while I was asleep. The next cheapest copy was $105. Most were $130 and up.

Later that morning I realized I could buy it on credit and if I paid it off in six months, there would be no interest charges, so I bit. That set arrived about 10 days ago and I’ve been listening to nothing else. I was trying to find out what people were saying about this so I went to the Prince Underground to get the real dirt being dished and saw that everyone was talking about the next Prince BSOG being prepped by The Estate. It was a “Sign O’ The Times” boxed set. And the rumors were flying fast and furious. More amazingly, they pointed to nine discs on CD/DVD and a price of $160!! Chatter on the topic came to a head this week on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums and the New Wave Outpost Forums I frequent. I registered with the Prince website to get the facts ASAP. They came in my email yesterday afternoon.

The Rumors Were TRUE.

The first two SDLX RMs of Prince albums were priced what I thought was affordably. Basically, $10/disc. I can’t complain about that. This time there are 9 discs and while I’d be certainly down with a $90-100 price on this bad boy, the $160 asking price is probably a function of the 120 page hardcover book included in the set which I can’t hear music from. I’m reminded about the SDLX RM of the first “Roxy Music” album that was 3xCD + DVD + hardcover book for the same price a few years back. And it can be argued that this new one has several times the music, but it does have that price. I eventually sprung for the Roxy BSOG when a flash sale put it in my comfort zone.

Maybe I’ll get lucky this time with SOTT. Because in the cosmic scheme of things, “Roxy Music” was an epochal album that influenced everything that came afterward that I was obsessed with for all of my life. Arguably. Paying a 45% premium on the “1999” box was painful, but those two discs of Vault tracks have paid dividends already. But in the cosmic scheme of things, “1999” and “Roxy Music” are major albums for me. While I certainly enjoy “Sign O’ The Times,” it isn’t “Controversy,” is it? But what is on it? Now is a good time to look.

prince sign o the times box art

Warner | 8xCD + DVD + Book | US | 2020

Album [disc 1]

  1. Sign O’ The Times
  2. Play In The Sunshine
  3. Housequake
  4. The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker
  5. It
  6. Starfish And Coffee
  7. Slow Love
  8. Hot Thing
  9. Forever In My Life

Album [disc 2]

  1. U Got The Look
  2. If I Was Your Girlfriend
  3. Strange Relationship
  4. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
  5. The Cross
  6. It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night
  7. Adore

Single Mixes & Edits [disc 3]

  1. Sign O’ The Times [7” single edit]
  2. La, La, La, He, He, Hee [7” single edit]
  3. La, La, La, He, He, Hee [Highly Explosive] [7” single edit]
  4. If I Was Your Girlfriend [7” single edit]
  5. Shockadelica [“If I Was Your Girlfriend” B-side]
  6. Shockadelica [12” long version]
  7. U Got the Look [Long Look] [2” edit]
  8. Housequake [7” edit]
  9. Housequake [7 Minutes MoQuake]
  10. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man [Fade 7” edit]
  11. Hot Thing [7” single edit]
  12. Hot Thing [Extended Remix]
  13. Hot Thing [Dub Version]

Vault, Part 1 [disc 4]

  1. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man [1979 version]
  2. Teacher, Teacher [1985 version]
  3. All My Dreams
  4. Can I Play With U? [featuring Miles Davis]
  5. Wonderful Day [original version]
  6. Strange Relationship [original version]
  7. Visions
  8. The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker [with horns]
  9. Witness 4 The Prosecution [version 1]
  10. Power Fantastic [live in studio]
  11. And That Says What?
  12. Love And Sex
  13. A Place In Heaven [Prince vocal]
  14. Colors
  15. Crystal Ball [7” mix]
  16. Big Tall Wall [version 1]
  17. Nevaeh Ni Ecalp A
  18. In A Large Room With No Light

Vault, Part 2 [disc 5]

  1. Train
  2. It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings
  3. Eggplant [Prince vocal]
  4. Everybody Want What They Don’t Got
  5. Blanche
  6. Soul Psychodelicide
  7. The Ball
  8. Adonis And Bathsheba
  9. Forever In My Life [early vocal studio run-through]
  10. Crucial [alternate lyrics]
  11. The Cocoa Boys
  12. When The Dawn Of The Morning Comes
  13. Witness 4 The Prosecution [version 2]
  14. It Be’s Like That Sometimes

Vault, Part 3 [disc 6]

  1. Emotional Pump
  2. Rebirth Of The Flesh [with original outro]
  3. Cosmic Day
  4. Walkin’ In Glory
  5. Wally
  6. I Need A Man
  7. Promise To Be True
  8. Jealous Girl [version 2]
  9. There’s Something I Like About Being Your Fool
  10. Big Tall Wall [version 2]
  11. A Place In Heaven [Lisa vocal]
  12. Wonderful Day [12” mix]
  13. Strange Relationship [1987 Shep Pettibone Club Mix]

Live In Utrecht, Part 1 [disc 7]

  1. Intro/Sign O’ The Times
  2. Play In The Sunshine
  3. Little Red Corvette
  4. Housequake
  5. Girls & Boys
  6. Slow Love
  7. Take The “A” Train/Pacemaker/I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
  8. Hot Thing
  9. Four [With Sheila E. Drum Solo]
  10. If I Was Your Girlfriend

Live In Utrecht, Part 2 [disc 8]

  1. Let’s Go Crazy
  2. When Doves Cry
  3. Purple Rain
  4. 1999
  5. Forever In My Life
  6. Kiss
  7. The Cross
  8. It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night

Live At Paisley Park – December 31, 1987 [DVD]

  1. Sign O’ The Times
  2. Play In The Sunshine
  3. Little Red Corvette
  4. Erotic City
  5. Housequake
  6. Slow Love
  7. Do Me, Baby
  8. Adore
  9. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
  10. What’s Your Name Jam
  11. Let’s Pretend We’re Married
  12. Delirious
  13. Jack U Off
  14. Drum Solo
  15. Twelve
  16. Hot Thing
  17. If I Was Your Girlfriend
  18. Let’s Go Crazy
  19. When Doves Cry
  20. Purple Rain
  21. 1999
  22. U Got The Look
  23. It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night Medley [featuring Miles Davis]

Phew! That’s a lot to listen to. It’ll take me two weeks of work commute to hear it all. The fact that I now know that these Prince SDLX RMs are one-time pressings [that significant tidbit didn’t reach me on the first two] is also a sword dangling above my head as the countdown to the September 23, 2020 street date began in earnest yesterday. There was also a 7″ single boxed set of  the album in a run of 1,987 copies that has sold out in less than 24 hours for $100. Interest is high. I’ve only half paid off the last BSOG that I just got. We’ll see if this happens. Gulp. It you’ve got the spare cash laying around, mister DJ hit that button, below.

communist purchase button

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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15 Responses to I Just Dropped Three Figures on Prince’s LAST Box …And Now It’s Time To REALLY Commit For “Sign O’ The Times” Boxed Set Of God

  1. Assuming (hoping) that this collection is also released on streaming, it’s worth the free trial period so you can at least listen to the Vault songs/Extras until (if?) the price drops, if you’re not already a subscriber.

    It seems clear that the estate is planning on monetizing the heck out of this stuff, and to be fair I will bet there was a lot of post-production on the vault material to complete it so I totally get the asking price. But Prince fans are going to have to take out second mortgages in order to get the entire SDLX packages of his best albums at this rate! ¡Ay dios mio! indeed!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – A big part of this is that comparatively, I like Bowie even more than Prince, right? But did I buy the EMI CD boxes? naah. I stuck with my RYKOs and original CDs. They are good enough, and mainly, Bowie released most of his great stuff. With Prince his work compulsion and productivity was off the charts. He’s got [rough guess] 8-9 songs in The Vault for every one that reached our ears, so hearing this stuff is very interesting to me! And all of the stuff from the periphery is here too. And Prince live was killa. So yep. fat boxes of it all are attractive to me. I just wish they were priced lower, and spaced out more! Hell, last month the “One Nite Alone With Prince” box got a DLX RM and I’d love that one too but haven’t bought it yet because I’m still paying off “1999!” At least it’s <$40 for 3xCD + DVD. A modest price. I just wish they'd stick to the $10/disc paradigm. It's probably the book that skewed the price here, just like with Roxy Boxy. Do I have any Prince books? Uh, no. I'm happy with the liner notes we got on the first two. And judging from what I see out there, there will be no price drops. The 4-disc $39.99 “Purple Rain” is selling on Discogs for 2-3x that price. The 6-disc “1999” is currently $180-$300. The Bowie boxes I mentions are a solid three figures.


  2. jsd says:

    Make sure you have SuperDeluxeEdition bookmarked for all your Prince news. (And other stuff too!) He has an interview with Prince vault archivist Michael Howe up today. https://www.superdeluxeedition.com/interview/prince-archivist-michael-howe-talks-sde-through-sign-o-the-times-bonus-cuts/


    • postpunkmonk says:

      jsd – SDE can be amazing but he spreads things too mainstream for my taste, so I don’t think to spend so much time there. I’m probably into about 30% of his coverage and right on the cusp.


  3. bpdp3 says:

    Couple of quick thoughts… my Prince timeframe of choice starts around Dirty Mind and does include this album. But he did some things to annoy me on this… for example WHY did he insist on using horns? ‘Hot thang’ didn’t need it, Prince!! (although I’ll admit to liking the sax on the previous year’s ‘Girls and Boys’) (hmmm… where have I read about horn use recently??). If the bonus tracks involve more horns and less minimal synths, count me out.

    I don’t believe any artist ever wanted fans to have to pay such big money for their tracks. For anyone not in the 1%, this is indeed a stretch. I’m NOT saying it’s not worth it, but jeezaloo. Monk, i feel your pain in still ‘paying off’ previous purchases.
    What I’m after is the ‘vault material’ from each album. That’s my main objective. Tracks like “Dont let him fool you” or “wouldn’t you love to love me” make me want to hear more more more! But alas, OWNING them has to be within reason. Isn’t there a demand for just the b-side and vault material for each album, released affordably?

    I know you already mentioned how unbelievably prolific he was. But I want to mention it again. Wow.


  4. SimonH says:

    I don’t buy many of these boxes these days for a variety of reasons. The recent shoddy Iggy box is an example of the kind of thing that has made me pause and not automatically press the purchase button. However I have pre-ordered this, my reasoning being to secure a copy (I hope) and then if I decide in the meantime to cancel I can, also, Amazon may have it’s many faults but the money isn’t taken up-front.
    I think I can safely predict I won’t cancel…


  5. SimonH says:

    Interestingly both Amazon and HMV now charging £200…that would have been too high for me!


  6. Christopher Merritt says:

    I missed out on the 1999 box for similar reasons, and have regretted it ever since. Pre-ordered the CD SDE to be sure I didn’t miss out on this, arguably his greatest album. And as much as I prefer vinyl – 13 records in a ginormous box is just too much for me!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Christopher Merritt – I differ in that I like SOTT but am not enrapt with it like some critics are. But who cares. What I want is the three discs of Vault tracks. These are all over the time map.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mathmandan says:

      This isn’t by chance the same Chris Merritt from Orange County, California, is it? That I used to buy/trade records with? Depeche Mode, ABC, Erasure, etc?


  7. Like many I became familiar with Prince with his 1999 album. I admired his stuff but wasn’t a fan. Then more stuff came out and there was undeniable talent. It was SOTT that hit me over the head and made me a fan. I have almost all of his officially released albums (not a small amount) and a couple of “others” (but not much). I would LOVE to do a deep dive into these box sets but they are far too expensive, which is a shame. And limiting the run? Ugh. Why bother? This isn’t serving the fans.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      postpostmoderndad – I was a fairly early convert to Prince. I saw the videos for “Uptown” and “Dirty Mind” when they came out and immediately sensed that this guy was onto something BIG. Funk cross-bred with New Wave. “Controversy” confirmed his genius for me, although had I bought a copy of “Dirty Mind” back then, it would have more than done the trick. Was gratified to see “1999” make him the star he already was. It didn’t take long for him to reach superstar status with “Purple Rain.” An [ultra] rare mega-seller that anyone with a pulse should find enthralling. I lost the plot when “Around The World In A Day” happened and felt it a misstep. The rest of the 80s I saw the vids on MTV and nodded, but didn’t buy anything. Got rid of my Prince vinyl during the Great Vinyl Purge that saw me trading in records for CDs. I had long intended to buy CDs of the early years, at least, but never saw cheap used copies, somehow. I snapped in 2015 and started [finally] started buying CDs and could not believe that I saw a used copy of “Dirty Mind” in a store the month after his death! I just buy everything I can now. I want the full story. But can I afford it?


  8. Tim says:

    I question the business sense of whoever decided to release this during, you know, a time of uncertainty spinning around a pandemic, social strife, high unemployment compounded with job uncertainty (and publicly funded universities are going to take a HUGE hit in a couple of months) and people generally feeling insecure,,,,,so,,,,,yeah,,,,,uh, let’s release a really sweet box set that is going to run $150 – $200.00. Great thinking, really great thinking. I would maybe splurge on this in a different time and economy but not right now. The book really seals the deal for me however i can live without it and I see the tracks will be available ala carte on Amazon so the other lure, discs of music from the vault, are easily obtainable and should be around after the box itself is gone.


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