Forget Gaga Versus Eminem, Eagles Vie Clapton for Sales

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Source: Sony Legacy via Bloomberg.

The contents of "The Complete Albums Collection" by Paul Simon. The 15-disc set includes the original albums with bonus material and a 56-page book of photos.

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Source: Sony Legacy via Bloomberg.

The contents of "The Complete Albums Collection" by Paul Simon. The 15-disc set includes the original albums with bonus material and a 56-page book of photos. Close

The contents of "The Complete Albums Collection" by Paul Simon. The 15-disc set includes the original albums with... Read More

Source: Sony Legacy via Bloomberg.

The cover of the box set "Higher!" by Sly and the Family Stone. The set is available in various formats, including a highlights disc, a 4-CD version and a collection with vinyl LPs. Close

The cover of the box set "Higher!" by Sly and the Family Stone. The set is available in various formats, including a... Read More

Source: Universal Music via Bloomberg.

The Velvet Underground pose in 1968 with their new album, "White Light/White Heat." Left to right, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale, Maureen Tucker. The album has been re-released in a new box set version. Close

The Velvet Underground pose in 1968 with their new album, "White Light/White Heat." Left to right, Lou Reed, Sterling... Read More

Source: Warner Bros. via Bloomberg

The deluxe box set of "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac, released for its 35th anniversary. It includes bonus tracks that show how the album developed, outtakes, rehearsals, live songs, a documentary and a vinyl LP. Close

The deluxe box set of "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac, released for its 35th anniversary. It includes bonus tracks that... Read More

Source: Sony Music Entertainment/Legacy via Bloomberg

The deluxe version of "Another Self Portrait" by Bob Dylan includes, for the first time ever, the complete performance by Bob Dylan and The Band from the Isle of Wight Festival on Aug. 31, 1969, as well as two hardcover books. Close

The deluxe version of "Another Self Portrait" by Bob Dylan includes, for the first time ever, the complete... Read More

Source: Apple Corps Ltd/Universal Music Enterprises via Bloomberg

The Beatles outside the BBC Paris Theatre in London on April 4, 1963. They were recording material that has now surfaced on "On Air -- Live at the BBC Volume 2." Close

The Beatles outside the BBC Paris Theatre in London on April 4, 1963. They were recording material that has now... Read More

Source: Legacy Recordings via Bloomberg

The cover of the Legacy box set "Elvis at Stax." The collection brings together for the first time the material recorded over a dozen nights at the Stax studios in Memphis in 1973. Close

The cover of the Legacy box set "Elvis at Stax." The collection brings together for the first time the material... Read More

Source: Universal Music via Bloomberg

The cover of the 20th-anniversary edition of "In Utero" by Nirvana. The title came from a Courtney Love poem and the cover is by Robert Fisher, who had worked on Nirvana's other record sleeves. Close

The cover of the 20th-anniversary edition of "In Utero" by Nirvana. The title came from a Courtney Love poem and the... Read More

Source: Universal Music via Bloomberg

The contents of the new "In Utero" box set by Nirvana. The 20th-anniversary set includes demos, rare mixes, a live show and remixes of the album. Close

The contents of the new "In Utero" box set by Nirvana. The 20th-anniversary set includes demos, rare mixes, a live... Read More

The holiday sales headlines have focused on Eminem’s rivalry with Lady Gaga.

In the background another fight is looming: in 2013 the record companies are ratcheting up reissues. Demo tracks, outtakes, remasters, live shows, souvenirs, high-quality vinyl pressings and hardback books are all being used to lure fans.

Here’s a look at the best sets priced at $100 or less.

For about $96 there is “Paul Simon -- The Complete Albums Collection,” on 15 discs. This is pretty good value for a smart box of remastered material, which includes “The Paul Simon Songbook” and 37 bonus tracks not on the original albums.

“American Radical Patriot” is by Bob Dylan’s inspiration Woody Guthrie. The $90 box pulls together the Library of Congress CDs -- now getting hard to find -- with interviews and much more. It’s not as impressive as last year’s “Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection” ($50), which contains almost every Guthrie song that matters.

A strong pick, at about $85, is “The RCA Albums Collection” by one of the most intriguing singer-songwriters, Harry Nilsson. The 17 discs reflect why his friends John Lennon and Paul McCartney called him “the Beatle across the water.” While Nilsson is known for “Without You” and “Everybody’s Talkin’,” he wrote even finer songs (such as “Jump Into the Fire”) and did impressive cover versions (Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross”.)

“Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective” is $82. Allman’s short six-year output is scattered across discs by the Allman Brothers, Derek and the Dominos and more. This box lovingly pulls it together. He was only 24 when he died in 1971.

Aficionados of The Band will already have the live album “Rock of Ages” from 1972, and its expanded 2001 edition with the Bob Dylan encores. Now some are shelling out again for many more tracks from the concerts and a DVD in a $60 box simply called “Live at the Academy of Music 1971.” It’s worth it though, because this is the best Band live album, beating “The Last Waltz,” and with a horn section adding to the power.

For $45, Sly and the Family Stone’s “Higher!” is a well-done compilation. On the plus side, there are plenty of rarities. On the minus, this has mono versions of some hits, and it’s possible to get all his albums bundled together for less than $30; “Stand!” and “There’s a Riot Goin’ On” or a greatest hits disc will satisfy the curious.

The Grateful Dead’s Veneta, Oregon show of 1972 is captured properly for the first time on “Sunshine Daydream.” Deadheads have been waiting decades for this $33 set. The film of the show is hilarious: the concert was on a boiling hot day, with supplies of water running low and clothing being declared optional.

There are plenty of new titles that put the magnifying glass on artists at about the peak of their careers -- often a good way to go, because there are less redundant extras.

At $40, Steve Earle’s “The Warner Bros. Years” captures the folk-rock star at his best with LPs such as “Train a Comin’,” “I Feel Alright” and “El Corazon.”

“Scott Walker -- The Collection 1967-70” is a 5-disc collection for $100 or less which includes his early solo albums with “’Til The Band Comes In” from 1970.

Admirers of British rockers may be lured to two compilations. For $70, Eric Clapton’s “Give Me Strength” pulls together his 1974-75 recordings that show that “461 Ocean Boulevard” might have been quieter and bluesier.

At $16, Rod Stewart’s “Rarities” has material from his early career, with rough takes of “Maggie May” and more.

If you haven’t got any Eagles, “The Studio Albums 1972-79” isn’t a bad alternative to the greatest hits collections. The neat box is $32 though it has no bonus tracks.

At the lower end of the scale are the continuing flow of classic albums reissued with perhaps just one extra disc or more of extra material. Most of these can be judged by the quality of the original album: if it is good, they probably are too.

By that measure, it’s hard to fault the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat” 45th anniversary 3-CD set for $60.

Nirvana’s final album “In Utero” can be had as a $98 set, though it is also available in a serviceable 2 CD collection for $22. Dylan’s “Another Self Portrait” comes in various options from $100 down to $19 and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” has prices from $78 to $9, all depending how much extra material you want to pay for.

Roy Orbison is well catered for with two releases: “The Last Concert, 25th Anniversary Edition” ($12), recorded two days before his death, and the “Black and White Night” CD/DVD ($15) where Orbison was joined by his friends Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, T. Bone Burnett, Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang and Jackson Browne.

Van Sings

Van Morrison’s “Moondance” from 1970 ($56) is back in a remastered, expanded form that includes outtakes of “I Shall Sing” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.”

“Last Splash” by the Breeders was one of the surprises of 1993, selling more than a million copies. Kim Deal, the Pixies bassist, had founded the band with Tanya Donelly, the singer/guitarist in Throwing Muses, who later left. Deal opted to continue with a drummer from an Ohio band she liked, a British bassist she met at a concert and her twin sister whom she taught to play. The 20th anniversary version ($40) supplements the hit “Cannonball” with songs such as “Lord of the Thighs,” its original B side.

The late lamented R.E.M. continues to bring out deluxe editions of its albums. “Green,” the band’s major-label debut, isn’t its best but gets nicely repackaged for $19 in a 25th-anniversary edition. Alongside the singles such as “Orange Crush” and “Pop Song 89,” there’s a fierce live show that makes its intentions all the more obvious on “World Leader Pretend.”

For $42, Beatles fans get the holy grail of new material. “Live at the BBC: The Collection” includes the new 2CD “On Air” with a remastered 2CD of the first volume in a slipcase.

There are simply too many box sets to cover all: for the first part of this series, covering sets from $500 to $100, click here.

(Mark Beech writes for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Mark Beech in London at mbeech@bloomberg.net or http://twitter.com/Mark_Beech.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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