The Beatles – The Beatles (50th Anniversary Edition)

How best to improve an album that most people agree is too long at 30 songs? Make it longer, of course. Such a counterintuitive move has come about now that the widely bootlegged Esher Demos recorded at George Harrison’s Surrey home finally get an official release for The Beatles’ 50th anniversary. Those 27 demos join a new Giles Martin mix which, like his take on … Continue reading The Beatles – The Beatles (50th Anniversary Edition)

David Bowie – Loving The Alien (1983-1988)

The fourth of the now-traditional annual David Bowie boxsets should be the first to make even hardcore Bowie fans pause before forking out £220. The unexpected scale of the success of Let’s Dance undoubtedly spooked Bowie, and he didn’t recover for the rest of the decade. No one, least of all Bowie himself, could pretend Let’s Dance’s successors Tonight and Never Let Me Down are … Continue reading David Bowie – Loving The Alien (1983-1988)

Review: ELO – The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978

The thumbnail sketch of Jeff Lynne is of a band leader far too in thrall to the Lennon/McCartney songbook for his own good. While he’s always readily worn his Beatles influences on his sleeve, Lynne’s own songwriting gifts shouldn’t be overlooked and this 16-disc 7″ boxset finds his assembled Brummie classicists at their peak. You’ll know the big hitters here, of course: the multi-part Mr. … Continue reading Review: ELO – The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978

The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow 50th Anniversary

The Pretty Things were victims of release-date circumstances with their concept LP S.F. Sorrow. Sandwiched between The White Album and Beggars Banquet, it hardly stood a chance. The quality of the songs on S.F. Sorrow certainly wasn’t to blame – this is a Brit psych-rock masterpiece. Out of step with the back-to-basics approach of both The Beatles and the Stones, S.F. Sorrow still resonates with tripped-out hippy … Continue reading The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow 50th Anniversary

The Band – Music From Big Pink 50th Anniversary Edition

Music critics are often guilty of bandying around hyperbolic epithets about albums – “classic”, “landmark”, “epochal” – you get the picture. But let’s not understate the case for Music From Big Pink – this was a game-changer for rock ’n’ roll. It’s not strictly true that this astonishing collection came out of nowhere – The Band had already backed Dylan and rockabilly veteran Ronnie Hawkins … Continue reading The Band – Music From Big Pink 50th Anniversary Edition

Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction

Three decades have passed since the sleazy rock ’n’ roll of Appetite For Destruction conquered an unsuspecting world; and this expansive celebration, in a dizzying array of formats, is a G N’ R fan’s ultimate fantasy fulfilled. The remastered 180g audiophile double-vinyl version of the album (£27.99), with its limited-edition slipcase and a ‘Hologroove Hologram’ on Side 4, is special enough; but the full 10,000-run … Continue reading Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction

The Rolling Stones – The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016

Steve Harnell reviews The Rolling Stones’ The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016, released by Universal, and delivers his verdict. If The Rolling Stones should have learned anything from their 50-plus years as a going concern, it’s surely that sticking to what you know best isn’t an unpardonable sin. There are shapeshifting artists down the years who’ve successfully hitched a ride on chart fashions and made … Continue reading The Rolling Stones – The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016

Voyager Golden Record

Vinyl in space: Voyager's Golden Record

 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the Voyager mission, when NASA sent two Golden Records – each holding an audiovisual snapshot of human culture – into space. Owen Bailey finds out how Ozma Records recreated these timeless artefacts for a beautiful boxset tribute, which has earned its creators a Grammy Award… Somewhere out there – NASA only knows where – two vintage space probes patiently … Continue reading Vinyl in space: Voyager's Golden Record

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Anniversary Deluxe)

Beatles fans will, of course, endlessly debate which is the band’s best album. However, the accolade for the most important surely rests with Sgt. Pepper…. As arguably the most influential long-player of all time, its reputation as rock’s first concept album has always been a misnomer – the ‘fake band’ conceit unravels after its second song and only makes a cursory reappearance on the penultimate … Continue reading The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Anniversary Deluxe)

who can i be now

David Bowie – Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976)

John Earls reviews Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976), the second instalment in the David Bowie boxset series… PARLOPHONE Before diving into this second instalment in the planned series of Bowie boxsets, which aim to chronicle his extensive career as never before, it’s prudent to first look at the first outing, Five Years, which hit the racks in 2015. That set made one thing abundantly … Continue reading David Bowie – Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976)