Yesterday, while closing an issue of Billboard, executive editor Bill Werde tweeted an interesting factoid: while album sales for 2012 are up 2.3 percent, sales of current albums to date are down 6.3 from last year. Sales of catalogue albums, however, are up 11.6 percent.
In what I’m sure is an astounding coincidence, reissues of three works by acclaimed rock artists were announced that same day. Each of them, in traditional fashion, is packing some intriguing bonus material that music geeks are going to love.
First up, David Bowie’s classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars is being remastered and reissued by EMI on June 5 for its 40th(!) anniversary. Long before Stefani Germanotta invented a crazy, future-forward alter ego for herself as Lady Gaga, Bowie went ultra-theatrical as the fictitious bandleader of The Spiders from Mars, that well-hung, snow-white tanned entity whose attempts to save the world through rock and roll are dampened by – what else? – the sex-drugs-rock-and-roll excesses that obviously took quite the toll on Bowie’s own life throughout the decade.
Given that a) this album is a high point for British rock and b) Bowie’s Station to Station got the super-deluxe box treatment last year, it’s weird to note that there are no bonus tracks on this edition of Ziggy Stardust. (This is the fifth release of the album on CD, and the album included bonus tracks in 1990 and an entire extra disc in 2002.) Instead, there will be standard remasters on CD and vinyl, as well as a DVD edition featuring 5.1 surround mixes of the album and several extra tracks.
Fellow British rock legend (and onetime EMI label-mate) Paul McCartney has been getting into the box set game ever since licensing his solo catalogue to Hear Music/Concord, issuing super-deluxe editions of Wings’ Band on the Run as well as his own solo albums McCartney and McCartney II. May 22 will see an expansive re-release of Ram, McCartney’s second post-Beatles album (credited as a collaboration between himself and wife Linda). The album, which featured the chart-topping “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” will come in a four-CD/one-DVD box set featuring a disc of non-LP material (mostly unreleased but for the Top 5 non-LP single “Another Day/Oh Woman, Oh Why”), the rare mono mix of the album, the experimental Thrillington album released in 1977 (which saw McCartney and arranger Richard Hewson supervising an orchestral version of Ram) and some unreleased video footage.
Last but not least, Sony Music U.K. announced remasters of the two albums by shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine. Isn’t Anything (1988) and Loveless (1991), the latter of which will feature a bonus disc with alternate master overseen by MBV’s Kevin Shields, have been on fans’ radars since retailers first reported on them at the end of 2009. But only now are they being confirmed for a May 7 release across the pond, along with a double-disc compilation, EPs 1988-1991, featuring just about all of the band’s non-album material, plus three previously unreleased tracks.
Any of these reissues got you excited? How many albums have you bought more than once for bonus content? Sound off below!