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The Issue with Reissues

 
By on Thursday, 8th March 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Reissue! Repackage! Repackage!
Re-evaluate the songs
Double-pack with a photograph
Extra track, and a tacky badge

“Best of!” “Most of!”
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both, and feel deceived…

(excerpts from the Smiths – ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture’, 1987)

Rather conveniently, the day after Blur performed on the 2012 BRIT Awards last week, we heard the news from the Guardian that producer Stephen Street is in the midst of remastering the Britpop giants’ entire back catalogue for the band’s intention to reissue all of the albums sometime in the future. Of course, reissuing and remastering is not a new idea at all in rock. Let’s take for example two of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll of all time. Jimmy Page famously went to task on overseeing the remastering Led Zeppelin’s master tapes in order to provide higher fidelity sound quality in the early years of the CD for the ‘Remasters’ release in 1990. The Beatles Anthology released in 1995-1996 were three CD sets that culled supposedly rare early recordings, outtakes and live versions of songs from the Fabs’ musical history. So what’s the issue with reissues?

As you’ve read in perfect clarity at the very top of this article two excerpts from Morrissey’s lyrics in the Smiths’ ‘Paint a Vulgar Picture’, most times the purpose of reissues is crass commercialism. For myself, I know I’ve bought doubles of and/or different versions of albums or unusual and rare singles simply because being a fan, I wanted to have them in my collection. (This explains how I have UK, Australian, Japanese, and Taiwanese versions of albums I already own in US formats and why I am rapidly running out of storage space. Yeah…)

Surely, the only limit to your music shopping habits is your own wallet. I’ve drooled in private at Talking Heads’ ‘Brick’, all eight of the band’s studio albums remastered in Dual-Disc format and available at a price out of my budget, just like I’ve balked at the price for a leather bound, signed copy of George Harrison’s I Me Mine. Luckily, I have some willpower…and definitely some prudence.

But I’m not a completist by any means. So when reissues or remasters are announced, I rarely jump out of my seat, unless there’s something new and really great on the new versions. Do record companies really expect long-time fans of a band to fork over change on an album that already own and know by heart? And they think old skool types who still favours physical releases will buy these in droves? Are they anticipating young people to suddenly think to themselves, “ah yes. Blur. That band in the ‘90s that the bloke who fronts Gorillaz used to be in. I should buy these!”

While I concede that record companies are trying every way possible to combat illegal file-sharing by trying to put out releases like reissues that they think are going to move by the thousands, they appear to be barking up the wrong tree in most of these cases. There is no easy solution to this problem; illegal file-sharing will continue as long as there’s an Internet. But surely there has got to be other creative ways to promote an artist’s work than simply rereleasing something that’s already been out before.

Interestingly enough, Stephen Street also has a hand in the reissue of Morrissey’s first solo album, ‘Viva Hate’, which will be reissued on the 26 of March. Moz has chosen to delete ‘The Ordinary Boys’ and replace it with an outtake from that era, ‘Treat Me Like a Human Being’. Which has already been released as a B-side to ‘Glamorous Glue’ when that single was reissued by EMI last year. Follow all that? Street is not happy about the tracklisting change, but I’m not paying attention to that. I‘m a Morrissey fan and I own ‘Viva Hate’ on CD and vinyl. Will I be buying the reissued version of ‘Viva Hate’? Not likely.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uxP8h0SZRw[/youtube]

Header photo of Blur’s performance at the 2012 BRITs from Who’s Jack

 

Linkin Park & Metallica to Headline Sonisphere

 
By on Tuesday, 10th February 2009 at 10:32 am
 

2009 will see the first edition of the fresh festival Sonisphere. The event will tour Europewhere the UK will host the climax of the event which would have already visited Holland, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Finland. The UK event will be in Knebworth, England on the 1st and 2nd of August.

It has recently been announced that Nu-metal masters Linkin Park and the one and only Metallica will be headlining the Knebworth show. Other acts include Lamb of God and Mastodon with dozens of others to be announced.  Metallica are hard to impress but Lars Ulrich is already jumping up and down – “We’re stoked to be touring England and Europe with Sonisphere. Summer festivals in Europe are what Metallica do best. We can’t wait to see all of our fans over there.”

Knebworth might ring a few bells to you. Why? There are many possible reasons, but it is famously home to the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” by Edward Bulwer Lytton. But this is not all, It is also known as the home of rock as the Hertfordshire home has been host to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Queen, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and Deep Purple.

The festival is expected to be a great success due to its touring  aspect but the only way to really find out is to go. Tickets go on sale this Wednesday 11th Feburary at 9am GMT. If your interested then be quick as tickets will be snapped up quickly. If you want more information then visit the fancy Sonisphere Website.

 

Led Zeppelin / Reunion show / London

 
By on Wednesday, 12th September 2007 at 3:49 pm
 

Led Zeppelin - Lego StyleThe much-rumoured Led Zeppelin reunion show is all set to go ahead.

Pete Townshend, Paolo Nutini and Bill Wyman will also perform at the gig which is set to be a tribute to the co-founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegu. Ertegun signed Zeppelin in the 1970s, died last year after an accident at a Rolling Stones show in New York.

The band will play London’s O2 on Monday 26th November, with tickets costing £125, and only available via a public ballot. To register go to ahmettribute.com, though it is currently under exceptional pressure.

Photo of Lego Led Zeppelin taken from dunechaser’s flickr stream under the creative commons license.

 

Led Zeppelin / Reunion tour?

 
By on Sunday, 2nd September 2007 at 8:51 pm
 

Led Zeppelin - Lego StyleRumours are flying around about a possible Led Zeppelin reunion at the end of this year. It’s widely reported that there have been press adverts in recent days offering ticket and hotel packages for fans to see the band at the O2, formerly the Millenium Dome.

Whilst the dates haven’t been officially announced, promoter Harvey Goldsmith hasn’t denied it either.

It’s widely believed that the band will play the capital on Friday 16th November, just four days after their greatest hits album Mothership is launched. It’s also expected that the band will play dates in New York, and on the west coast of the USA.

The line-up will be most likely Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones with Bonham’s son Jason expected to be announced as the drummer for the show.

As ever, I guess the news is “watch this space”.

Photo is taken from dunechaser’s flickr stream under the creative commons license.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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