It’s the lucky thirteenth part of our look at the many reissues of the 100 greatest albums of all time, as selected by Rolling Stone in 2003! We’ll explore the various versions of these classic albums on disc, letting you know which audio treasures can be found on which releases. In today’s group, we get the blues, meet the Brits, head to Laurel Canyon and fall in Love!
40. Love, Forever Changes (Elektra, 1967)
Welcome to the Top 40! Released just months after the so-called Summer of Love, Forever Changes was the third studio album by the group simply and boldly called Love. But more than just that four-letter word was on the mind of bandleader/songwriter Arthur Lee, who saw more than sunshine and flowers that summer. Love traded in the punchy electric guitar sound of the group’s first two albums (and successful singles like “7 and 7 Is” and a cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “My Little Red Book”) for a denser, more orchestrated style that incorporated strings and horns alongside acoustic guitars. Despite the often beautiful sound, though, Forever Changes was a song suite that referenced war, violence, drug abuse, failed romance and racial tension in songs like “A House is Not a Motel” (playing off another Bacharach/David song, “A House is Not a Home”), “The Red Telephone” and “Live and Let Live.” Bryan MacLean contributed the album’s single “Alone Again Or” which kicked off the album in a collision of AM-meets-FM styles.
Forever Changes has always been better-regarded in the United Kingdom than in its United States birthplace; it went Top 30 in Britain but only reached No. 154 in America. That hasn’t stopped the album’s cachet from growing every year, however, and it’s been celebrated in a number of reissues. The original 1987 CD of Forever Changes (Elektra 74013-2) retained the original track listing of the LP, and it was included in its entirety on Rhino’s 1995 double-disc anthology Love Story. In 2000, Rhino reissued the album with a brace of seven bonus tracks as R2 76717. These included demos, alternate mixes, outtakes, single sides and session highlights. A bare-bones mini-LP replica was released on CD in 2007 (Elektra/Rhino R2 74802) and a standard edition was released again (this time, in a jewel case) in 2011 at a budget price point. In 2008, though, the Rhino label issued the most comprehensive version of the album to date. The 2008 Collectors’ Edition (Elektra/Rhino R2 428796) featured the original album only as Disc 1, while Disc 2 included a complete Alternate Mix as well as ten more bonus tracks. This edition, partially remastered by Steve Hoffman, is the definitive version of this album.
39. The Beatles – Please Please Me (Parlophone, 1963)
The debut long-player from Liverpool’s favorite lads, Please Please Me was rush-released by Parlophone after The Beatles had taken the United Kingdom by storm with the singles “Please Please Me” and “Love Me Do.” Of the album’s fourteen songs (a common number for U.K. albums of the time, whereas U.S. releases usually had twelve), eight were Lennon/McCartney originals. Ten songs were recorded in a whirlwind day to supplement the four previously-released single sides. Under such inauspicious circumstances was a classic born by John, Paul, George and Ringo, and producer George Martin. Originals like “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Love Me Do,” “P.S. I Love You,” “Do You Want to Know a Secret” and the title song were joined by covers of Goffin and King’s “Chains,” Burt Bacharach, Mack David and Barney Williams (Luther Dixon)’s “Baby, It’s You,” Phil Medley and Bert Russell (Bert Berns)’s “Twist and Shout,” and Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow’s ubiquitous “A Taste of Honey.”
The original 1987 CD (Capitol CDP 7 46435-2) was the first time Please Please Me saw an American release; its tracks were released in America on such U.S.-only LPs as Vee-Jay’s Introducing…the Beatles and Capitol’s The Early Beatles. In 2009, the entire Beatles catalogue was remastered, and a new CD of Please Please Me (Capitol 09463 82416-2) replaced the 1987 issue. It was, of course, included in the complete Beatles stereo box set (Capitol 50999 69944-9) . The album was also released on CD in mono as part of the Beatles in Mono box set (Parlophone/EMI 50999 69945-1, 2009).
After the jump, we’ll traverse some Muddy Waters, head west and check into the Hotel California!
38. Muddy Waters, The Anthology : 1947-1972 (Chess/MCA, 2001)
Armed with only a slide guitar and a pained, wailing voice, Muddy Waters practically defined the sound of the blues. Discovered by musicologist Alan Lomax in 1941, Waters (1915-1983) travelled from his native Mississippi delta to the Windy City of Chicago, where he made a permanent impression on the thriving music and blues scene there. When Waters was signed by Chess Records, his authentic sound was brought to a wider audience. It would be a near-impossible task to catalogue all of the compilations of Waters’ classic Chess material, both complete and incomplete. But 2001’s The Anthology (MCA/Chess 112649), a remastered double-disc set, may do the best job of presenting Waters’ prime period in an accessible and fairly comprehensive collection. On the 50 tracks here, you’ll get all of the essentials: “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Mannish Boy,” “Got My Mojo Workin’.” It’s basically a distillation of Waters’ 1989 three-disc, 72-song Chess Box (MCA/Chess CHD3 80002), which like Anthology, is still in print. Anthology, however, was remastered. In any iteration ,Waters’ recordings are an essential part of the American blues tapestry.
37. Eagles, Hotel California (Asylum, 1976)
Call them country-rock, call them California rock, call them soft rock, Eagles (don’t call them “The Eagles” – just ask Steve Martin to tell you the story!) dominated the charts during an incendiary period between 1972 and 1979 that produced six studio albums. Though with such a short catalogue, each album has much to offer, Hotel California may be the apex of the band’s “high times and rock ‘n’ roll” attitude. Eagles’ first album without Bernie Leadon, and with Joe Walsh, Hotel California embraced a darker, more “rock” sound, and the dominant voice of drummer Don Henley, who co-wrote the epic title track with frequent collaborator Glenn Frey and then-bandmate Don Felder. Hotel California’s nine songs add up to a mini-travelogue of the seamier side of the Golden State, from “Hotel California” to “The Last Resort,” from “The New Kid in Town” to “Life in the Fast Lane.” The band was famous for its excess, and that sensibility isn’t reined in on Hotel California. Instead, it’s at the service of a tight collection of songs that resonated with listeners far beyond the Los Angeles city limits.
Hotel California first appeared on CD in 1984 (Asylum 103-2) and in 1992 was remastered by Steve Hoffman for a DCC Compact Classics 24K Gold CD (GZS-1024) that’s now highly sought-after. In 1999, the Eagles catalogue was remastered (Asylum R2 401212) and in 2001, a high resolution DVD-Audio disc was issued, containing Elliot Scheiner’s stunning surround mix of the album (Elektra/Asylum/Rhino 60509-9). In 2008, an SHM-CD was released in Japan (WPCR-13236) and in 2011, Warner Japan finally reissued the long out-of-print DVD-Audio on the SACD format, including both the high resolution stereo and surround mixes (WPCR-14165). Though the Eagles reunited in 1994 (after initially breaking up in 1982), the band’s catalogue has not yet received a major catalogue overhaul in the United States to date. The expanded-and-remastered treatment would likely be welcomed by the band’s still-fervent fans.
36. Carole King, Tapestry (Ode, 1971)
Carole King had nothing to prove when she decamped from New York to Los Angeles as the 1970s dawned. With then-husband Gerry Goffin, King had already become one of the most successful songwriters of all time, penning such instant classics as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof” and “Natural Woman.” The colorful one-time manager of the Rolling Stones deemed her “The Brill Building Queen.” But King intended to break out from her behind-the-scenes songwriters’ cubicle for the other side of the footlights. Fronting a band called The City in 1968, she titled her first full-length LP Now That Everything’s Been Said. Though that album has such irresistible songs as “Snow Queen” and “Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)” on it, King actually had much, much more to say. The singer, pianist and songwriter began her solo career, proper, in 1970 with Writer, and had the breakthrough the following year with Tapestry. The Lou Adler-produced LP yielded three number one pop hits (“It’s Too Late” and “I Feel the Earth Move” by King, and “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor, who played on the album) and four Grammy Awards, and put an accessible, fresh face on the entire female singer/songwriter movement.
Tapestry was first issued on CD by Epic/Ode (EK 34946) with its original sequence intact. In 1990, it was issued on gold CD as part of the Master Sound series (EK 66226) and in 1994, Tapestry was included in full on A Natural Woman: The Ode Collection (1968-1976), a double-disc King anthology (E2K 48833). In 1999, Ode, Epic and Legacy remastered and reissued it (EK 65850) with two bonus tracks, the outtake “Out in the Cold” and live version of “Smackwater Jack.” In 2008, a 2-CD Legacy Edition (Ode/Epic/Legacy 88697 11455-2) was released, containing just the original album on Disc One and live performances of eleven of the album’s twelve songs on Disc Two. (“Where You Lead,” popularized by Barbra Streisand and later adopted by The Gilmore Girls, is the absent song!) This edition also featured an expanded booklet with new liner notes. Tapestry has also been issued twice on SACD, once in a stereo-only SACD (Ode/Epic/Legacy ES 65850) and once as a hybrid SACD (Ode/Epic/Legacy ES 86328) with a subtle yet effective surround mix as well as the stereo mix.
Tomorrow: Ziggy Stardust rises and falls, the Ramones rock New York City, The Rolling Stones let it bleed, Bob Dylan brings it all back home, and The Band sets up shop in Woodstock!