But let's not be downhearted about the passing of the years. For every unwanted reminder of time's cruel passage there's a reason to celebrate, as albums we loved growing up are repackaged to celebrate their Big Birthdays.
40th and 50th anniversaries are now the norm, with standard albums reissued in deluxe packaging of ever-increasing complexity, heft and price, stuffed with bonus material that was deemed sub-par upon release but is now a selling point.
There's never a greater time for fans to get to grips with the inner working of their favourite bands. Or indeed, to empty their wallets in doing so. Here are 20 packages released in 2022 that may help do just that.
Rush - Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary (UME) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Fourth record 2112 will always be the cult favourite, but Moving Pictures is Rush’s masterwork – and their biggest seller. The £270 Super Deluxe Edition includes three CDs, one Blu-ray audio disc and five 180g black vinyl LPs – featuring the 2015 Abbey Road remasters (the first time on CD) – plus a 44-page book.
"The irresistible bonus is Live In YYZ 1981 (included in more affordable ‘basic’ editions). This reissue is a real treasure.”
Venom - In Nomine Satanas (BMG) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “In Nomine Satanas, now available in six-CD/single-DVD format, includes Venom’s original recordings for legendary Geordie NWOBHM label Neat Records, ranging from Welcome To Hell, via seminal second album Black Metal (1982), to live album Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1986).
"Also included is the Sons Of Satan collection of previously unreleased demos, including some of their earliest known performances. Where would heavy metal be today without them? In a much healthier, less scary place, for sure. And that would be no damn good at all. 10/10.”
The Beatles - Revolver (Special Edition) (Apple/Capitol/UME) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “It was believed that Giles ‘Son Of George’ Martin would not be in a position to provide the full remix magic he’d previously performed on the multi-track recordings of the White Album and Abbey Road because Revolver had been recorded on four-track, so the guitar, bass and drums all shared the same track.
"Miraculously, however, using next-generation tech, Peter Jackson’s team in New Zealand found a way to isolate each instrument – even taking apart the elements of Ringo’s drum kit – so they could be remixed for stereo. The results are both revelatory and astonishing."
Slade - All The World Is A Stage (BMG) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Five scorching live albums boxed, three of them previously unreleased is as you like it: Slade banging it out with loose, licentious ferocity, so brutish and raucous that you begin to question whether punk needed to happen, and you keep checking that a fleet of jumbo jets hasn’t landed in your ear canals.
"What a racket. What a riot. Arguably, nobody did adrenaline better.”
Pink Floyd - Animals 2018 Remix (Warners) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “After sitting on the shelf for a couple of years while Roger Waters reignited his feud with David Gilmour over an essay he wanted to have in the sleeve notes, the remixed version of 1977’s Animals finally gets released.
"The sound is as bleak as Waters’s stark, Orwellian view of the world over three lengthy songs that the comparative tenderness of the book-ending acoustic pieces does nothing to dispel. The fact that the band were sinking into an autocracy at the same time simply adds to the grim atmosphere."
Sex Pistols - The Original Recordings (UMC) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Possibly the most straightforward job of compilation available to modern man, considering that the band only released 15 self-written songs during their brief time as a John Lydon-fronted quartet. And yet UMC have still managed to overlook EMI, Liar and Seventeen (aka I’m A Lazy Sod) in favour of the band’s admittedly raucous, if hardly essential, live-in-the-studio covers of The Monkees’ (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone and The Who’s Substitute.
"But, hey, it’s on double vinyl. And transparent green vinyl. And yellow vinyl. And CD. And digital. And even cassettes. Lydon-channelling gripes aside, what’s actually good about it? Sonically speaking, almost everything."
Jellyfish - When These Memories Fade (New Land +) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Jellyfish are renowned for the two landmark albums they released in the early 90s before sadly falling to bits, and WTMF does a very fine job of celebrating the band’s enduring legacy through seven remastered seven-inch singles.
"From first single The King Is Half Undressed through to a live version of Badfinger’s No Matter What backed with a take on Harry Nilsson’s Think About Your Troubles, all the tracks are superb. These memories will never fade”.
Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick 50th Anniversary (PLG) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “The loquacious lampoon’s half-century anniversary is now celebrated with a half-speed remaster of Steven Wilson’s 2012 remix, clad in the original’s mock-newspaper packaging.
"Anderson and crew spent as long on the in-jokes and mythology of that as on recording the album, so it’s good to see it returning as something loftier than fish-and-chips wrapping. Far away from its controversial birth, Thick As A Brick still works as an enthused, motivated statement.”
Lou Reed - Words And Music, May 1965 (Light In The Attic) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Accompanied by a booklet that’s longer than most bands’ career, this collection of demos, mostly recorded in – you guessed it – May 1965, has been given almost reverential treatment, in the great rock tradition of these things.
"Filled up with curios and covers – a ’58 Gee Whiz, a ’63 Michael Row The Boat Ashore, this collection it suggests a quieter, more lyrical songwriter than Velvet Underground Lou would become, and is nevertheless a fascinating and entirely listenable record of an imminently great talent."
Blondie - Against The Odds (UMC/Numero) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Nearly half a century after Blondie manifested as the ultimate embodiment of mid-70s New York’s anarchic downtown revolution, this gloriously chaotic band finally get their definitive box set.
"Years in the making, their cryptically titled motherlode chronicles the band’s golden run from derided CBGB support act (“Blondie will never be a star simply because she ain’t good enough,” squeaked NME) to global chart toppers, with remastered albums joined by juicy bonus tracks (36 previously unreleased) across 10 LPs or eight CDs in Super Deluxe formats."
Little Feat - Waiting For Columbus (Rhino) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Such is the sombre shadow cast by Lowell George’s early death and the sorrowful soulfulness of tracks such as Long Distance Love that you can forget that Little Feat were a fun proposition. Waiting For Columbus, based on live 1977 recordings, now comes in a Super Deluxe edition.
"Tracks featuring for the first time include an alternative version of Fat Man In The Bathtub, and several recordings from Manchester City Hall, including Rock And Roll Doctor and Time Loves A Hero. Essentially this collection captures a lingering moment, in which a fine group make the sort of connection with an audience that not all fine groups can.”
What we said: “The two-CD set of the complete [El Mocambo, Toronto] show has been remixed by Bob Clearmountain, who has ditched the overdubs and some ‘unwoke’ Mick Jagger jokes, although he has kept an exchange between Jagger and Ronnie Wood as they wonder which song Richards is going to play next – 'I dunno, he keeps changing guitars'. The sound is ragged at times (they hadn’t played in seven months), but it’s real.
Licked Live In NYC is from a restored 2003 TV special from Madison Square Garden that features the Rolling Stones Big Band – two keyboard players, a four-piece horn section and three backing singers. So the sound is big, but not glossy.”
Al Stewart - The Admiralty Lights (Madfish) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “This is not a resume of Al Stewart’s career. This is Al Stewart’s career, expanded, enhanced, annotated and chronicled across 50 (yes, 50) CDs, a 160-page hardback book, a 24-page annotated guide to the track-listing, two posters and two prints.
"The 21 albums Stewart has released since 1967’s Bedsitter Images are not even the half of it. There are another 18 live CDs, three discs of BBC sessions and eight discs of demos, out-takes etc. This has to be the most comprehensive retrospective ever compiled for a single artist."
The Clash - Combat Rock (Sony) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Classic line-up of The Clash’s surreal last statement, now expanded with rarities. The People’s Hall bonus disc adds early Radio Clash and Know Your Rights versions, B-sides and curios including racy out-take instrumental He Who Dares Or Is Tired, and Outside Bonds acknowledging 1981’s NY-conquering residency with field-recorded street sounds.
"This magnificent set – on triple vinyl! – is a vital snapshot of The Clash’s glorious last stand.”
T.Rex - 1972 (Demon) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “This is a terrific package with mind-bogglingly comprehensive sleeve notes and super photos. Bolan’s naive missteps form part of its charms. Listening to the audio from the Empire Pool matinee concert, one cannot help but detect a degree of confusion from the audience, largely composed of teenage girls, when Marc embarks on yet another freak-out guitar solo.
"The sounds of Marc in then early stages of an, ultimately tragic, implosion is what makes 1972 such an essential purchase, even at £100-plus for the full-on bells-and-whistles edition.”
Brian May - Another World Deluxe Edition (EMI) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “While his 1992 debut album Back To The Light and Queen’s bittersweet 1995 swan song Made In Heaven felt like extensions of the grieving process in the wake of his friend and bandmate Freddie Mercury’s death, Another World sounded like the work of a man embracing the world again, despite whatever personal turmoil he was going through.
"This expanded, two-disc Deluxe Edition is both welcome (the original album was long out of print and not on streaming platforms) and fascinating, and provides an intriguing snapshot of the guitarist’s many facets."
Keith Richards - Main Offender (30th Anniversary) (BMG) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “The second X-pensive Winos record, beautifully repackaged with a previously unheard show. This sublimely classy reissue comes clad in a leather-bound book with photos, lyrics and memorabilia, plus previously unreleased Winos Live In London ’92 capturing the ecstatic second December ’92 night at London’s Town And Country Club that happened to be Richards’s forty-ninth birthday.
"Like a fine wine, this magic band seems to taste better with age; a deliciously unique sensation that’ll send fans of Richards and both his bands spinning deliriously off the wagon."
Lemonheads - It’s A Shame About Ray (Fire Records) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “In 1992, through all the angst and anguish, the shirt ripping and guitar flinging of grunge, shot a Ray of light. Lemonheads instantly encapsulated a far more idyllic form of teen spirit.
"Half an hour of breezy grunge folk odes to friendship, romance, layabout living and recreational drugs, capped with the flying freak flag of a casual acoustic cover of Frank Mills from Hair, It’s A Shame About Ray was a stepping stone between the melodic end of US grunge (Buffalo Tom, Smashing Pumpkins) and the cult indie-rock and alt. folk acts of the later 90s (Elliott Smith, Fountains Of Wayne, Ryan Adams).”
What we said: “From demos of Hunky Dory material and other songs (including King Of The City, a fantastic song, previously unknown to most people) to BBC sessions and concerts, Divine Symmetry (An Alternative Journey Through Hunky Dory) is a comprehensive trawl through 1971 – and an extraordinary one.
"Gone is everything from the proto-metal apocalypse of The Man Who Sold The World bar The Supermen; now there are piano ballads, acoustic musings and a lot of Biff Rose. This Bowie is a singer-songwriter, and he’s about to be very good at it.”
Neu! - 50! (Gronland) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “Despite releasing just three official albums during their short, combustible but intensely creative collaboration, seminal early-70s Krautrock duo Neu! helped shape the past five decades of avant-pop, noise-rock, post-punk and beyond.
"Squeezed into this lavishly packaged but compact five-disc box set are propulsive classics that clearly influenced Bowie and Eno, Joy Division and PiL, Blur and Stereolab, from shiny ambient blueprints such as Im Glück and Leb’ Wohl to the proto-punk avant-primitivism of Negativland and Hero.”
Hawkwind - Dust Of Time: An Anthology 1969-2021 (Esoteric) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “The 81-track, six-CD retrospective Dust Of Time is as fulsome and monolithic and progressive and spaced-out and indulgent and influential as you’d expect. Heavy metal, trance, acid-rock, acid-house... Hawkwind’s ‘outsider’ legacy and audience have travelled many different and unlikely routes.
"This box set comes with a new interview with the band’s visionary leader Dave Brock, detailing his formative years as a busker on London Transport, through the formation of Hawkwind, and more – so much more."
Sparks - Balls / Lil’ Beethoven / Hello Young Lovers (BMG) (opens in new tab)
What we said: “With the Mael brothers’ career enjoying an Indian summer in recent years, as films about them or written by them besiege the streaming platforms, it’s fitting that their early 21st-century work gets a relaunch. As the century began, Sparks were singing Balls. They’re all you need to succeed, they posited, somehow deadpan despite the artfully histrionic voice and layered electronic pulse.
"On 2002’s Lil’ Beethoven they revamped their sound: faux-classical chamber-pop with no beats, its repetitive minimalism will drive you crazy. For 2006’s Hello Young Lovers they fused the operatic and the rhythmic to, well, first of all, Dick Around (a single the BBC banned). They then subverted The Star- Spangled Banner, and informed us that There’s No Such Thing As Aliens.”