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Virgin Records Celebrates “40 Years of Disruptions” with New Compilation, Picture Discs

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Virgin 40Virgin Records, one of England’s most iconic labels, turns 40 this year – and they’re celebrating with a new compilation full of hits from their storied existence.

The Virgin label was largely the brainchild of one young businessman named Richard Branson. The London-born Branson began his career selling records by mail order and later opening a shop on Oxford Street. The Virgin label was blessed with early success thanks to a willingness to sign acts that major U.K. labels were keen to dismiss. This netted them a smash hit with their very first release, Mike Oldfield’s captivating instrumental “Tubular Bells,” as well as a place in cultural history as the label who’d ultimately made the strongest commitment to punk band The Sex Pistols, after EMI and A&M each dropped the band. (It was Virgin who’d pressed the commercial version of their No. 2 hit “God Save The Queen” as well as their sole studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols.)

The decades to come found Virgin succeeding with all sorts of genres: MTV-ready pop/rock (Culture Club, The Human League, The Spice Girls), groundbreaking alt-rock and New Wave (Simple Minds, XTC), multi-generational rock (Genesis and its two most famous frontmen, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins; The Rolling Stones, for a time) hip-hop and dance (Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, Daft Punk, Massive Attack) and more, all the way up to the present (recent critical and commercial hits include tracks by Swedish House Mafia, Emili Sandé and CHVRCHES).

Branson would ultimately sell Virgin to EMI in 1992 to keep other parts of his business empire afloat; the iconoclastic entrepreneur found success in everything from air travel to publishing to music festivals (Europe’s V Festival) to record stores (the late Virgin Megastores) to mobile phones to…well, even more interesting stuff (Branson plans to be aboard the inaugural Virgin Galactic flight – a commercial space trip – this year.) The label continues to exist, now of course under the Universal Music Group family.

Virgin Records: 40 Years of Disruptions plans to honor the label’s indomitable spirit across two discs, along with a bonus EP of current Virgin artists covering some classic tracks, including cuts by John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack and others. The set is in stores today, amid a swath of exhibitions in honor of the label around the U.K. area. The label is also selling a handful of their most beloved titles, including singles and albums, as limited edition vinyl titles (many of which are picture discs). The full list is available at Universal’s Uvinyl page.

As always, you can check out the track list and buy the set after the jump.

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Release Round-Up: Week of April 2

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Alexander O'Neal vinylThe S.O.S. Band / Cherrelle / Alexander O’Neal, “Tabu Reborn” Vinyl Editions (Wave 1) (Tabu/Edsel)

The start of a lengthy reissue campaign from Demon Music Group, these are 180-gram vinyl reissues of The S.O.S. Band’s III (1982), Cherrelle’s 1984 debut Fragile, and Alexander O’Neal’s self-titled debut from 1985. Expanded editions of these albums come out on CD next week, followed by a great many more waves of product throughout 2013 and into 2014!

S.O.S. Band: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cherrelle: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Alexander O’Neal: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Martha and The Vandellas Singles CollectionThe Four Tops / Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, 50th Anniversary: The Singles Collections (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Two new lavish sets collect all the single sides worldwide by two of Motown’s most underrated vocal groups – and in the case of Martha & The Vandellas, there’s a bonus disc of unreleased “lost and found” content to enjoy, too!

Four Tops: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mad Season - AboveMad Season, Above: Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

This short-lived grunge supergroup, featuring Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley and members of Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees, only put out one record, but it’s been expanded as a 2CD/1DVD set featuring unreleased tracks (with vocals by Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan) and live audiovisual content. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Born Under a Bad SignAlbert King, Born Under a Bad Sign: Expanded Edition (Stax/Concord)

One of the Memphis’ label’s most celebrated blues albums is remastered and expanded with five unreleased alternate takes! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

David Gates - Early YearsDavid Gates, The Early Years: The Early Songwriting Genius of David Gates (Rare Rockin’)

Before leading Bread, Gates was a talented singer-songwriter whose early works were covered by a myriad of vocalists – many of which are making their CD debuts on this compilation. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Simple Minds CelebrateSimple Minds, Celebrate: The Greatest Hits (Virgin/EMI)

As the ’80s hitmakers embark on a new tour, this new hits compilation – available in double and triple-disc variants – was made available in the U.K. last week. (A U.S. release is reportedly slated for later this spring.)

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

RKivesRilo Kiley, RKives (Little Record Company)

A collection of rare and unreleased material from the now-defunct L.A. band.

Margaret Whiting - Wheel of HurtChet Atkins with The Boston Pops, The Pops Goes Country/The Pops Goes West / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 24: Cow Palace, Daly City, CA – 3/23/1974 / Tom Jans, Take Heart/Tom Jans / Barbara & Ernie, Prelude To… / Steve Lawrence, Winners!/On a Clear Day / Don Nix, Living by the Days / Eydie Gorme & The Trio Los Panchos, Amor/More Amor / Margaret Whiting, The Wheel of Hurt: Deluxe Edition Maggie Isn’t Margaret Anymore/Pop Country / Alfred Newman, The Diary of Anne Frank: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The latest wares from Real Gone: plenty of two-fers, a rare Alfred Newman soundtrack, a new Dead reissue and expanded works from country-pop singer Margaret Whiting.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mills MercilessJerry Butler, Love’s on the Mend/Suite for the Single Girl / Stephanie Mills, Merciless: Expanded Edition / Donna Washington, Going for the Glow: Expanded Edition / Nancy Wilson, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You/Now I’m a Woman (SoulMusic)

A slew of great titles from SoulMusic are out this week, including a Stephanie Mills album produced by the late Phil Ramone. Check out the above post for details.

Jerry Butler: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Stephanie Mills: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Donna Washington: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Nancy Wilson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Anita WardCaston and Majors, Caston and Majors / Fern Kinney, Groove Me / Arthur Prysock, All My Life / Anita Ward, Songs of Love (Big Break)

And the latest expanded titles from Big Break include some Motown and T.K. rarities, including Anita Ward’s megahit “Ring My Bell.”

Caston and Majors: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Fern Kinney: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Arthur Prysock: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Anita Ward: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Judy Garland CreationsJudy Garland, Creations 1929-1962 (JSP)

A four-disc U.K.-only compilation of “the songs that Judy Garland sang first.” (Amazon U.K.)  U.S. customers may order at CD Universe or Collectors’ Choice Music for April 9 release.

eagles_boxEagles, The Studio Albums 1972-1979 (Elektra/Rhino)

Every one of the California hitmakers’ original studio albums, in a handy slipcase. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Alive and Kicking: New Simple Minds Compilation Announced

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Simple Minds CelebrateScottish rock/New Wave band Simple Minds have been together in some form or another since 1977, and that near-35-year run of singles is about to be commemorated this spring with a new greatest hits set.

Celebrate: The Greatest Hits+ will be available as a double or triple-disc set in March, and will feature, depending on which version you buy, up to 50 tracks from the group. The set spans the band’s entire run, from their early years on Zoom/Arista at the tail end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, to their hitmaker years with Virgin throughout the ’80s and ’90s to their current independent period. From debut U.K. single “Life in a Day” to the multinational hits “Alive and Kicking,” “Sanctify Yourself” and “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” the immortal end theme to John Hughes’ teen drama The Breakfast Club, it’s all here.

In addition, Celebrate will feature two brand-new tracks just for this release, “Blood Diamonds” and “Broken Glass Park.” (The triple-disc version includes another newer song, “Stagefright,” released as a free download in 2011.) The band, still featuring founding members Jim Kerr on vocals and Charlie Burchill on guitars (along with drummer Mel Gaynor, who’s played with the band since 1982), will commemorate the release with a 28-date tour of the U.K. in March, April and May.

After the jump, find Amazon U.K. pre-order links (a domestic release is expected in May) and the track list for the sets.

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 6, 2013 at 11:53

Release Round-Up: Week of February 21

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Various Artists, ZTT: The Art of the 12″: Volume Two (ZTT/Salvo)

A double-disc set of rare and unreleased dance mixes of vinyl classics, with a few rarities thrown in for good measure – and, as our post later today will explain, at least one Beatle!

Simple Minds, Simple Minds x5 (EMI)

The first five Simple Minds LPs – all pre-The Breakfast Club – expanded with vintage B-sides and remixes.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, Back to Front: Expanded Edition (Union Square Music/Salvo)

Gilbert’s 1972 sophomore album plus three bonus tracks, including hit single “Alone Again (Naturally).”

André Cymone, André CymoneSurviving in the ’80s: Expanded Editions (Funky Town Grooves)

Blood, Sweat & Tears, In Concert / Phil Everly, Star Spangled Springer / Mel Brooks, Greatest Hits (Wounded Bird)

Some great LPs, all rare or new to CD, coming from Wounded Bird.

Various Artists, Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties, Vol. 2: 1961 (Complete ’60s/Eric)

A three-disc set of every instrumental song that ever charted in 1961. The second in a volume of a series we’ve covered before.

Various Artists, David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits (RCA Victor/Masterworks Broadway)

Ann-Margret joins John Gary and the Merrill Staton Voices in this vintage tribute to the legendary impresario behind such musicals as Hello, Dolly! and Gypsy.

Diana Ross, Diana Ross: Deluxe Edition (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The latest set from Select is a heavy-duty expansion of Miss Ross’ 1976 album, which featured “Theme from ‘Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” and “Love Hangover,” two classic singles from a classic career. Alternate mixes, rare singles and early versions abound on this set.

Promised You a Miracle: Simple Minds Expand Early Albums for New Box Set, Tour

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In 1985, Scottish rockers Simple Minds burst onto the American music scene in a big way with “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” the chart-topping theme to iconic teen drama The Breakfast Club. Before their brush with John Hughes-induced fame, though, the band released a batch of increasingly successful post-punk and New Wave records between 1979 and 1982.

This winter, to coincide with the “5×5 Tour” in Europe, which will see founding members – singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill – leading Simple Minds through five tracks from each of those first five albums per night, that section of the band’s catalogue has been expanded and remastered for a brand new box set.

Simple Minds x5 includes the band’s first five records – Life in a Day (1979), Real to Real Cacophony (1979), Empires and Dance (1980), Sons and Fascination (1981), Sister Feelings Call (1981) and New Gold Dream 81/82/83/84 (1982) – all featuring the same remastering job as applied to the albums in 2002, along with between two and six newly-remastered bonus cuts for every disc. These include original B-sides, extended remixes and live rarities, all of which have been previously released on various singles in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

After the jump, check out the rundown of Simple Minds x5, available February 13 in Europe, one day ahead of the tour’s start in Lisbon, Portugal.

Simple Minds x5 (EMI SMBOX 2 (U.K.), 2012)

Disc 1: Life in a Day (originally released as Zoom Records ZULP 1, 1979)

  1. Someone
  2. Life in a Day
  3. Sad Affair
  4. All for You
  5. Pleasantly Disturbed
  6. No Cure
  7. Chelsea Girl
  8. Wasteland
  9. Destiny
  10. Murder Story
  11. Special View (B-side to “Life in a Day” – Zoom ZUM 10, 1979)
  12. Garden of Hate (B-side to “Chelsea Girl” – Zoom ZUM 11, 1979)

Disc 2: Real to Real Cacophony (originally released as Zoom Records/Arista SPART 1109, 1979)

  1. Reel to Real
  2. Naked Eye
  3. Citizen (Dance of Youth)
  4. Carnival (Shelter in a Suitcase)
  5. Factory
  6. Cacophony
  7. Veldt
  8. Premonition
  9. Changeling
  10. Film Theme
  11. Calling Your Name
  12. Scar
  13. Kaleidoscope (Flexi-disc A-side – Arista ARIST 372-C, 1980)
  14. Film Theme (Dub) (Flexi-disc B-side – Arista ARIST 372-C, 1980)
  15. Premonition (Live @ Hurrah’s Club, New York – 10/24/1979) (B-side to “Changeling” – Arista ARIST 325, 1980)

Disc 3: Empires and Dance (originally released as Arista SPART 1140, 1980)

  1. I Travel
  2. Today I Died Again
  3. Celebrate
  4. This Fear of Gods
  5. Capital City
  6. Constantinople Line
  7. Twist/Run/Repulsion
  8. Thirty Frames a Second
  9. Kant Kino
  10. Room
  11. New Warm Skin (B-side to “I Travel” – Arista ARIST 372, 1980)
  12. I Travel (Extended Mix) (12″ A-side – Arista 12-448, 1980)
  13. Celebrate (Extended Mix) (12″ A-side – Arista 12-394, 1980)

Disc 4: Sons and Fascination (originally released as Virgin V-2207, 1981)

  1. In Trance As Mission
  2. Sweat in Bullet
  3. 70 Cities As Love Brings the Fall
  4. Boys from Brazil
  5. Love Song
  6. This Earth That You Walk Upon
  7. Sons and Fascination
  8. Seeing Out the Angel
  9. Sweat in Bullet (Extended Remix) (12″ A-side – Virgin VS-451 12, 1981)
  10. In Trance As Mission (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 9/25/1981) (B-side to “Sweat in Bullet” 12″ –  Virgin VS-451 12, 1981)
  11. This Earth That You Walk Upon (Instrumental) (B-side to “Love Song” 12″ – Virgin VS-434 12, 1981)

Disc 5: Sister Feelings Call (originally released as Virgin OVED-2, 1981)

  1. Theme for Great Cities
  2. The American
  3. 20th Century Promised Land
  4. Wonderful in Young Life
  5. League of Nations
  6. Careful in Career
  7. Sound in 70 Cities
  8. The American (Extended Mix) (12″ A-side – Virgin VS-410 12, 1981)
  9. League of Nations (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 9/25/1981) (B-side to “Sweat in Bullet” 12″ –  Virgin VS-451 12, 1981)

Disc 6: New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (originally released as Virgin V-2230, 1982)

  1. Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
  2. Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel
  3. Promised You a Miracle
  4. Big Sleep
  5. Somebody Up There Likes You
  6. New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)
  7. Glittering Prize
  8. Hunter and the Hunted
  9. King is White and in the Crowd
  10. Promised You a Miracle (Extended Version) (12″ A-side – Virgin VS-488 12, 1982)
  11. Glittering Prize (Club Mix) (12″ A-side – Virgin VS-511 12, 1982)
  12. Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) (Extended Mix) (12″ A-side – Virgin VS-538 12, 1982)
  13. Soundtrack for Every Heaven (B-side to “Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)” 12″  – Virgin VS-538 12, 1982)
  14. New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) (German 12” Remix) (12″ A-side – Virgin VINX 1, 1983)
  15. In Every Heaven (from New Gold Dream DVD-Audio – Virgin 72438 13171 9 8, 2005)

Written by Mike Duquette

January 5, 2012 at 15:53