Welcome to another packed Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the many titles available today! As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
The Beatles, Now and Then (Apple/Capitol/UMe)
Various Formats including CD single: The Beatles Online Store
7-inch clear single: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
7-inch blue single: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
12-inch black vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Target-exclusive red 12-inch single: Target.com
"Now and Then." No matter who's listening, the title conjures the ghosts of the past that we all confront. The voice of John Lennon - not far-removed, but viscerally present - is the first one heard on what's billed as "the last Beatles song." The ballad is stark in its simplicity and immediate in its emotional effect, filled with enough familiar motifs (those unmistakable harmonies, dramatic strings, a slide guitar solo played by Paul McCartney in the style of George Harrison) to send a happy shiver down the spine of any longtime Beatles fan. The experience is expectedly moving and leans heavily into the rapport and camaraderie shared by these four remarkable men as well as our own relationship to their music. As a dialogue between the two living Beatles and the two who have departed, its lyrics take on additional meaning. To compare it with the band's best recordings is very nearly to miss the point; this is a reflective, beautiful, and understated coda to one of music's most indelible discographies.
"Now and Then" arrives today in physical formats including various 7- and 12-inch vinyl records and a cassette tape. In a nice bit of circularity, all of them have "Love Me Do" as the B-side. It's a poignant valedictory for the Fab Four, based upon the cassette demo provided to Paul, George, and Ringo at the time of Anthology. McCartney, co-producing with Giles Martin (who's also joined McCartney and Ben Foster to provide the string arrangements in the mold of his late father, Sir George Martin), has fleshed out and built upon John Lennon's demo, creating the track from all-new recordings with Ringo Starr as well as archival audio from George Harrison recorded by Jeff Lynne at the time of Anthology. It's to all of their credit that "Now and Then" doesn't veer into maudlin territory, though it may well bring a tear to even the most hardened listener's eyes - especially when heard in Peter Jackson's whimsical yet moving music video which premieres this morning at 10am EST/2pm GMT/7am PDT. A terrific making-of mini-documentary about "Now and Then" is currently airing on Disney+.
The Vinyl Collection, Vol. 2 brings newly remastered and repressed LP versions of Joel's final six studio albums - Glass Houses (1980), The Nylon Curtain (1982), An Innocent Man (1983), The Bridge (1986), Storm Front (1989) and River of Dreams (1993) - plus the debut vinyl pressing of Joel's classical compositions set Fantasies & Delusions (2001) and the premiere audio release of his beloved Live from Long Island concert special, broadcast 40 years ago. All the audio has been transferred from original analog and digital sources by Joel's longtime mastering engineer Ted Jensen, with lacquers cut at Sterling Sound by Joe Nino Hernes. As with 2021's first vinyl box, an accompanying booklet will feature a new essay by Rob Tannenbaum alongside rare photos and era-appropriate memorabilia. Read more here, and watch this space for a full review as part of our annual Holiday Gift Guide series!
Cher, Believe: Deluxe Edition (Warner)
The 25th anniversary Deluxe Edition of Cher's best-selling album - featuring the title track, one of the biggest-selling singles of all time, arrives on 2 CDs or 3 LPs with the original album plus 13 period remixes, all newly remastered. The leopard-printed vinyl package includes LPs pressed on sea blue, light blue, and clear vinyl, along with an exclusive numbered lithograph of Cher. All versions include two commercially unreleased remixes of "Dov'e L'amore": Tee's Radio One Instrumental and Ray Roc's Latin Soul Instrumental. Available on CD, LP, and digital/streaming. Read more here.
Bob Marley and The Wailers, Catch a Fire: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Tuff Gong/Island/UMe)
One of reggae's most enduring international releases gets the deluxe treatment this fall, with a new reissue of Bob Marley & The Wailers' Catch a Fire. The 50th anniversary set (available on three CDs or three LPs with a single-sided bonus 12") brings together Marley's first album for Island Records along with an unreleased 1973 concert at London's Paris Theatre, unreleased session versions (similar to material featured on a 2001 deluxe edition of the album) and three widely-bootlegged tracks from another live show in Edmonton, North London. The bonus 12" is single-sided, with the other featuring an etching of the original album sleeve, built to open like a Zippo lighter; the more familiar worldwide image of Marley smoking a spliff will be used on the general packaging. Get more info here.
1973's Time Fades Away, the first live album released by Neil Young, returns in a 50th anniversary vinyl edition. Supported by The Stray Gators and joined by David Crosby and Graham Nash, Young introduced a set of previously unheard songs on the album. "The Last Trip to Tulsa," the B-side of the title track, has been added to this clear vinyl release.
Chicago, Greatest Christmas Hits (Rhino)
Chicago's new 13-song compilation Greatest Christmas Hits draws on all four of the band's Christmas releases, blending holiday classics with the band's original compositions including Robert Lamm and the late Billy Hinsche's "(Because It's) Christmastime," Neil Donell and Don Breithaupt's "All Over the World," and Lee Loughnane and John Durrill's "Merry Christmas, I Love You." Dolly Parton is the only guest star, as her duet on "Wonderful Christmastime" has been reprised. On the same date, Rhino reissues one of those original four albums, O Christmas Three, on CD. Read more here!
Dire Straits, Live 1978-1992 (Mercury/UMR)
When Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits reissued their classic catalogue in a box set in 2020, it only covered studio recordings. Now, a companion box will feature their live material, including 29 unreleased tracks. Live 1978-1992 will offer expansions of two classic Dire Straits concert albums (1984's Alchemy: Dire Straits Live and 1993's On the Night, one of the last releases before their dissolution), the 1993 companion EP Encores, 1995's Live at the BBC compilation and, for the first time anywhere, an album drawn from sets at The Rainbow Theatre in London at the end of 1979. The set, available on eight CDs or a dozen LPs, will include new liner notes from Paul Sexton focusing on Dire Straits as a live act. Rhino will release domestic versions of the CD and LP boxes on January 19. Read more here!
Christine McVie, Christine McVie / In the Meantime (Rhino)
In the Meantime:
Rhino reissues two albums from the late, great Christine McVie on CD and LP: her 1984 self-titled set which yielded the hit "Got a Hold on Me" and her 2004 final studio album, In the Meantime. The latter has been completely remixed by her nephew, Todd Perfect, and includes one previously unreleased bonus track, "Little Darlin'." Barnes and Noble has a cola-bottle-colored vinyl variant of Christine McVie.
Mercury Studios brings a 2003 Little Feat concert to a 2CD/BD set as well as digital video. Previously issued on DVD in 2004, this release marks a significant upgrade for the concert film, as it's being made available on Blu-ray for the first time. The lineup includes Bill Payne, Paul Barrere (guitars/vocals), Sam Clayton (percussion/vocals), Kenny Gradney (bass), Richie Hayward (drums/vocals), Fred Tackett (guitars/trumpet), and Shaun Murphy (vocal/percussion). (Shaun was one-half of Stoney and Meatloaf opposite the future Bat Out of Hell superstar.) Running at over 134 minutes, the Blu-ray not only includes the full concert, but a bonus 11-minute documentary Little Feat Close Up in St. Louis, in which the band members reflect on the band's history to that period in time.
The legendary artist is celebrated by Legacy on this new, career-spanning single-CD/double-LP/digital compilation featuring 22 songs including "Crazy," "On the Road Again," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," "Always on My Mind," and more.
New Kids on the Block, The Block Revisited (Interscope)
NKOTB's 2008 reunion album returns in a 15th anniversary Revisited edition which feature the original album and nine bonus tracks on CD or two LPs, including the unreleased fan favorite "Coming Home" and a new remix of the track "Dirty Dancing" recorded with K-pop outfit SEVENTEEN. Digital editions will include a further eight bonus tracks, including four unheard songs from the album sessions. Get more details here.
Mandatory features 21 songs drawn from the band's albums recorded for Rollin' Rock Records and Slash/Warner Bros., as well as "One Bad Stud" and "Blue Shadows" from the MCA Streets of Fire soundtrack. (The Blasters appeared in the film.) "Dark Night," also featured on the collection, was heard on television's popular Miami Vice and in the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk Till Dawn. Numerous special guests are heard on the compilation including the Heartbreakers' Stan Lynch, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, and The Jordanaires. Mandatory is housed in a six-panel digipak and includes a six-page insert with new liner notes by Chris Morris. Randy Perry has remastered the audio.
The Blasters' Mandatory is joined by a reissue of Blaster Phil Alvin's 1986 solo debut Un "Sung Stories," an acclaimed amalgam of jazz, blues, and gospel. Alvin was joined for the Americana romp by fellow musical adventurers The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Sun Ra and The Arkestra. Chris Morris again provides new liner notes for this reissue which is housed in a standard jewel case.
Johnny Marr, Spirit Power: The Best of Johnny Marr (BMG)
This new 16-song collection has been curated by the ex-Smiths guitarist and includes two new recordings, "Somewhere" and "The Answer." The balance is drawn from his four solo albums released between 2013 and 2022: The Messenger (2013), Playland (2014), Call the Comet (2018), and Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4 (2022) as well as a sprinkling of rarities such as non-LP sides "Armatopia," "The Priest" with Maxine Peake, and a cover of Depeche Mode's "I Feel You" originally issued on vinyl for Record Store Day 2015. The deluxe hardcover book-style 2CD set has a total of 24 songs including five previously unreleased cuts: demos of "Hi Hello," "The Messenger," and "Somewhere," the Crazy Face Version of "The Answer," and the Crazy Face Version of "Speak Out, Reach Out."
At long last, the U.K.'s Sepia label assembles the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in "as complete as possible" fashion. The Marilyn Monroe/Jane Russell vehicle has been expanded with the French-dubbed soundtrack, demos, rehearsal takes, outtakes, and more. This release is made possible via current U.K. public domain laws.
The new EP Dolenz Sings R.E.M. arrives from 7a Records. Produced by Christian Nesmith (who also plays guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion, and sings background vocals) and featuring Christopher Allis, Circe Link, and Coco Dolenz, Dolenz Sings R.E.M. reinvents the Athens, Georgia band's "Shiny Happy People," "Man on the Moon," "Radio Free Europe," and "Leaving New York" as only Micky can.
The late Jimmy Buffett's 32nd studio album, and first to be released posthumously, features 14 original songs (including "Bubbles Up" and "My Gummie Just Kicked In") and guest appearances by Paul McCartney, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Angelique Kidjo, and Emmylou Harris. Available on CD, LP, and digitally.
Tony Award-winning Broadway luminary Stephanie J. Block (The Cher Show, The Boy from Oz) premieres her first holiday album today. Merry Christmas, Darling features Stephanie's moving interpretation of the Carpenters' classic title track as well as holiday evergreens including "What Child Is This," "Sleigh Ride," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas;" Club44 founder Wayne Haun and Tony Award-winning lyricist David Zippel (City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl) also penned a new song for Stephanie, "When You Hold Me in Your Arms (It's Christmas)" which she performs with her husband Sebastian Arcelus (Into the Woods). It makes for a truly merry - and moving - Christmas album! Available on CD and digital/streaming.
The prolific Mr. Morrison returns with a new studio album - his 45th overall and second this year, following Moving on Skiffle - that salutes classic rock and roll. Accentuate the Positive features his renditions of such favorite tunes as the jaunty title track, "You Are My Sunshine," "Sea of Heartbreak," "Red Sails in the Sunset," "Lucille," "Blueberry Hill," and "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." Chris Farlowe and the late Jeff Beck are guests. Available on 2CD, 2LP, and digitally.
Shooter Jennings and The Werewolves of L.A. are celebrating the late, great Warren Zevon on a new set which includes their reinterpretations of such Zevon favorites as "Excitable Boy," "Carmelita," "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me," "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," and, of course, "Werewolves of London." Available on CD, LP, and digitally.