Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, here we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. Today’s installment concerns a former Police man and his lack of decent compilations over the past few decades.
There’s something disconcerting when an artist gets to the point where they’re comfortable enough to do whatever they want, but that “whatever they want” just doesn’t count toward reissues, box sets or the like.
One such example I’ve been thinking of lately is Sting, the erstwhile frontman of The Police and the world’s most hell-bent, pretentiously literary pop star. The Police have been treated well on CD, whether it’s through the Message in a Box set from 1993 or a series of SACD remasters in 2003. Sting’s catalogue, meanwhile, is in need of some sort of attention, regardless of how often ridiculous his albums are.
The last time Sting was even compiled on CD by himself (a threadbare 1997 compilation paired his early singles with the hits of The Police) was 1994. That’s nearly 20 years ago. Now, they say the greatest-hits compilation is sometimes a kiss of death; so often are the post-greatest hits albums kind of boring. Sting has done three pop albums since: the mostly forgettable Mercury Falling (1996), the surprise hit Brand New Day (2000) and the retread Sacred Love (2003). Everything since then has been increasingly pretentious – the lute album, the winter carols album, the orchestral covers album – but you could get a decent single disc compilation of Sting songs from his entire pop career if you (or Universal) wanted.
Sting, All This Time: His Greatest Hits (A&M/UMe)
- If You Love Somebody Set Them Free (Special Dance Remix) – 4:18
- Fortress Around Your Heart (Hugh Padgham Remix) – 4:36
- Russians – 3:58
- We’ll Be Together (Video Mix) – 4:50
- Fragile – 3:53
- Englishman in New York (Ben Liebrand 7″ Mix) – 4:25
- All This Time – 4:55
- Why Should I Cry for You? – 4:54
- Mad About You (Remix) – 4:01
- The Soul Cages (Edit) – 4:24
- If I Ever Lose My Faith in You – 4:30
- Fields of Gold – 3:42
- When We Dance (Edit) – 4:17
- You Still Touch Me – 3:46
- Desert Rose (featuring Cheb Mami) (Radio Edit) – 3:55
- Brand New Day – 6:22
- After the Rain Has Fallen (Radio Remix) – 3:55
- Send Your Love (Dave Aude Remix) – 3:15
Original versions of Tracks 1-3 from The Dream of the Blue Turtles (A&M DREAM 1 (U.K.)/SP-3750 (U.S.)), 1985.
- This version of Track 1 from A&M single (AM 2765 (U.S.)), 1985.
- This version of Track 2 from Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994 (A&M 540 307-2 (U.K.)/314 540 269-2 (U.S.)), 1994.
Original versions of Tracks 4-6 from …Nothing Like the Sun (A&M AMA 6402 (U.K.)/SP-6402 (U.S.)), 1987.
- This version of Track 4 from music video. An extended version appeared on A&M single (AMCD 410 (U.S.)), 1987.
- This version of Track 6 from A&M single (AM 580 (U.K.)), 1990.
Original versions of Tracks 7-10 from The Soul Cages (A&M 396 405-1 (U.K. and U.S.)), 1991.
- This version of Track 9 from A&M single (AMCD 721 (U.K.)/750 217 294-2 (U.S.)), 1991.
- This version of Track 10 from A&M promotional single (750 217 530-2 (U.S.)), 1991.
Tracks 11-12 from Ten Summoner’s Tales (A&M 540 075-2 (U.K.)/314 540 070-2 (U.S.)), 1993.
Original version of Track 13 from Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994 (A&M 540 307-2 (U.K.)/314 540 269-2 (U.S.)), 1994.
- This version from A&M promotional single (no catalogue # (U.K.)), 1994.
Track 14 from Mercury Falling (A&M 540 468-2 (U.K.)/314 580 483-2 (U.S.)), 1996.
Original versions of Tracks 15-17 from Brand New Day (A&M 490 451-2 (U.K.)/069 490 443-2 (U.S.)), 2000.
- This version of Track 15 from A&M single (497 240-2 (U.K.)/069 497 321-2 (U.S.)), 1999.
- This version of Track 17 from A&M promotional single (AMRR-10318-2 (U.S.)), 2000.
Original version of Track 18 from Sacred Love (A&M 0602498097335 (U.K.)/B0001141-02 (U.S.)), 2003.
- This version of Track 18 was a bonus track included on the album.
UPDATE: In the comments, there was discussion of making a double-disc edition of the set, not unlike the recent Bon Jovi compilation. The idea was developed even further with a theoretical third bonus disc (some sort of “fan edition”) of B-sides. The thought was so great that a theoretical track list for the B-sides disc has been added below.
- Spread a Little Happiness (from Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack)
- Another Day (B-side to “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”)
- Gabriel’s Message (B-side to “Russians”)
- Conversation with a Dog (B-side to “We’ll Be Together”)
- If You There (B-side to “They Dance Alone”)
- Someone to Watch Over Me (B-side to “Englishman in New York”)
- Ghost in the Strand (B-side to “Be Still My Beating Heart”)
- Up from the Skies (B-side to “Englishman in New York”)
- I Miss You Kate (B-side to “All This Time”)
- Everybody Laughed But You (B-side to “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”)
- January Stars (B-side to “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”)
- Lullaby to an Anxious Child (B-side to “You Still Touch Me”)
- Beneath a Desert Moon (B-side to “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying”)
- Giacomo’s Blues (B-side to “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying”)
- The Pirate’s Bride (B-side to “You Still Touch Me”)
- This Was Never Meant to Be (B-side to “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying”)
- Twenty Five to Midnight (B-side to “You Still Touch Me”)
- End of the Game (B-side to “Brand New Day”)