Deal alert / Bowie: Five Years CD box


The 12CD version of David Bowie‘s Five Years box is the lowest ever price on Amazon UK at the moment…

The box, which gathers up studio albums and live albums from 1969-1973 – as well as the exclusive double-disc compilation Re:Call 1 – is just £69 on the British site, having been £120 when first released!


In The Box:

  • • David Bowie AKA Space Oddity*
  • • The Man Who Sold The World*
  • • Hunky Dory*
  • • The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
  • • Aladdin Sane
  • • Pin Ups*
  • • Live Santa Monica ‘72
  • • Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack
  • • The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (2003 Ken Scott mix)
  • • Re:Call 1 (2CD set)

Re:Call 1 tracklisting


  1. Space Oddity (original UK mono single edit)*
  2. Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud (original UK mono single version)*
  3. Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola
  4. The Prettiest Star (original mono single version)*
  5. Conversation Piece*
  6. Memory Of A Free Festival (Part 1)
  7. Memory Of A Free Festival (Part 2)
  8. All The Madmen (mono single edit)* previously unreleased
  9. Janine*
  10. Holy Holy (original mono single version)* only ever issued on original ‘71 Mercury single
  11. Moonage Daydream (The Arnold Corns single version)*
  12. Hang On To Yourself (The Arnold Corns single version)*

CD 2

  1. Changes (mono single version)*
  2. Andy Warhol (mono single version)*
  3. Starman (original single mix)
  4. John, I’m Only Dancing (original single version)
  5. The Jean Genie (original single mix)
  6. Drive-In Saturday (German single edit)
  7. Round And Round
  8. John, I’m Only Dancing (sax version)
  9. Time (U.S. single edit)
  10. Amsterdam
  11. Holy Holy (Spiders version)
  12. Velvet Goldmine

All tracks stereo except *mono.


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Edward Steeke

Everytime I see these deal alerts I click on and they are never true. This is £98 not £69!!!


Well, Paul, actually it’s SOOO not true that a 1978 live recording “it is what it is”. I’m surprised you could say something like that! As it happens, there are live sets from the 60s/70s which are, by any standard, much better that recordings from the 2000’s.
And guess what, this one does sound AMAZING – it’s not “what it is”, at all, because it’s objectively very well recorded, and very well remastered. I’ve only listened to the first disc so far but it has a great stereo presentation and wonderful dynamics.
You might at least have given it a spin while making the unboxing video! :-)

Anyway, irrespective of the “systems and set-up”, and of the subjectivity of it all, a music critic/writer could and should take responsibility and tell us what *he* thinks, what his ears tell him. Otherwise we just keep talking about the artwork, which seems to me a bit reductive and on the safe side since it’s music we’re talking about after all.

And mind you, what you say about differences of opinion regarding sound, does apply to the packaging and the artwork as well… what you consider a great packaging might be worthless or a “missed opportunity” for others. You see it here, all the time. So we might as well talk about music, don’t you think?


I agree that £50 ish looks a good price for this box bearing in mind we have a lot of the material already. re Andrea’s point, it really boils down to whether you collect music to play it or look at it. I would very much like to see more reviews/opinions on sound quality, but the problem is that it’s quite subjective at times and maybe that’s why people steer clear.

Nigel Pond

I agree with you that the sound quality is the most important aspect of any release. I’d be quite annoyed if I bought something, however good the packaging (or price) and the sound was awful!

That said, for me, a great package is the icing on the cake. When the David Bowie box set was announced as having an suggested retail price as around £100, I thought that when it gets down to around £70 (or less), that’s the time to take the plunge. I did and I’m well happy that I did.

To me, most of it sounds great and the package was even better than expected.

I can’t help but think that the split of EMI between Universal and Warner Music has provided us with two very different approaches to various reissue programmes. Most of the post-EMI ‘Parlophone’ releases I’ve purchased have ticked all the boxes in terms of ‘never sounded better’ and excellent packaging and value for money. Universal have quite often failed to tick any of those boxes. Deep Purple’s ‘Made In Japan’ certainly fell short in the sound quality stakes for me. The Simple Minds box set fiasco was unforgivable.

Universal have raised the prices of the recent Eagle Vision/Eagle Rock releases too, some by quite a significant amount, even though there have been some great box set prices (e.g. Eric Clapton and The Who forthcoming releases though Amazon).

Amazon are very clever at raising awareness through their own tracking cookies. I access their website through a number of routes but there’s only so long until they keep up with you! It wasn’t uncommon to find different prices simultaneously using different routes to access their site. I’m not talking about third party sellers but directly from Amazon. This has reduced recently. For most items in my Wants List (new releases) they just track the opposition prices (e.g. HMV). I do monitor and note changes on an almost daily basis.


My point regarding the packaging is simply this (let’s make an example): I’m not sure I need an unboxing video for the Jam box, since the official pictures, available on any website/webstore, clearly display anything I need to know about the phisical content: the book, the inner sleeves, even the postcards. The video doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know, or need to now.
On the other hand, as a music lover and buyer of physical products, I’d be extremely interested in knowing how these disc SOUND. The quality of the recording, the dynamics of the remastering. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? About these aspects, we’re usually told nothing. Silence. Making it look a bit like, yes, it’s all part of the same gigantic display of beads and sequins in which the customer, at the end of the day, must just buy and be happy, possibly without asking too many questions.



Your point on the Amazon linking is fair enough. Bluray.com does the same thing. But since most of us use Amazon as our primary shopping point, I’m not exactly sure it uncongenial, as you say.

Regarding the packaging aspect, I don’t understand your point at all. Those of us willing to shell out money for a physical product are a dying breed. So the attributes of a very expensive/expansive version of a physical product we are looking to acquire are extremely important.

Agreed we each have our own opinions, I’m just not sure about the basis on that one. Cheers.


I’m not insinuating anything. I’m stating what I see, and what I know. Webstores deliberatlely have these huge (or not so huge anyway) price fluctuations, it’s their strategy, and the deal alerts mechanism is a perfect means to their end. As I said, “deliberate or not”: I’m really not interested in knowing which, I’m not judging, I’m stating.
Then you mention Amazon (I never did) and raise the issue that links point only to Amazon site, and as important as Amazon is, and as big an Amazon customer I am, yes, I do find it a bit uncongenial if you ask me.

Personally, I wish that sites like SDE would stick to reviewing the music, not the packaging which is info you can easily get anywhere on the web, but the quality of the music, of the remasters compared to previous releases etc., which is the kind of info labels are usually not very keen on sharing, and yet it’s the info I cherish the most (unfortunately, this rarely happens). But this is just MY opinion.

Charles Hodgson

Off topic again.
Dave, Re: Van Morrison CD’s. I had to REQUEST the £4 refund. My order despatch receipt listed them both for £7.99. Their reply agreed to the refund on a ‘one-off good-will gesture’. Big of them as I was only asking them to honour the terms and conditions of their “pre-order price guarantee”!
My bet is there will be plenty of folks out there who’ve been charged £7.99 and don’t know it was reduced to £5.99 before midnight in release day. (Particularly on a Friday night – for those amongst us ‘who have a life’!)
In that context anything I can do to help others…


Like Nigel above, I received my copy of the box set from WowHD. It took around 10 days to get to me but I was in no rush as it’s only the Recall CD that I don’t have already.
As for the Van Morrison CD’s, I pre-ordered from Amazon and received an automatic £4.00 refund. £5.99 for previously released CD’s is more like the price a reissue should be.


Agree with all re the pricing on Amazon at present. Pick a number add 95p and that is the starting price. I will wait until this drops to £50 as it is not essential but would be nice to have.


The whole “deal alert” strategy is a tool used by the webstores to raise attention on an item when they want to, if they want to. They lower the price for a bit, sites like SDE go out with a deal alert, everybody flocks in, those who check in late may find the price has raised but that’s not important, you’re on their item page and that’s just what they want, they’ve got your attention and you might decide to make the purchase anyway. So deliberate ore not, you(we) are a tool in their hand and webstores use sites like SDE to their advantage, to great effect. The important thing is to be aware of it, because this is what’s actually going on … ;-)


This site is independent but it is fair to say that Amazon have the widest choice of new releases, the biggest fluctuations in price and operate in the most territories so it is understandable that Paul uses Amazon links for the wide range of people that use this site. Amazon are really the only site they have such large price changes from one minute to the next.

If an item goes to a price much lower than a price it has previously been available for then that is ‘a deal’ and Paul alerts people to that price, which is something he isn’t obliged to do. Any buyer interested will no doubt be aware of the item and will know the price it has been retailing for and ultimately it is up to them whether they hold off or buy at that price point.

As a couple of people above have commented, that price for the Bowie box is still not suitable for them and won’t be buying. Their choice.

You seem to be insinuating that Paul is some kind of promotional arm of various companies and is using these price tactics to lure people to a website where they will be so overwhelmed by the many things for sale they won’t be in control of themselves and will simply HAVE to buy something. That is ridiculous and bordering on tin-foil hat territory.

Nigel Hall

I snaffled this last week from WOW HD for £56.22 and it’s just arrived this morning. Like others I was waiting for it to drop to the sub-£50 mark but an extra £6.22 and having it now seemed bearable whereas as an extra £19 would still make me think twice…


Given the “pre-order-lowest-price” guarantee, everyone who ordered from Amazon.it between its announcement (end of June I think) and the release date have paid €98 tops. Couple of months actually….


I mentioned this elsewhere here but it’s a shame that the sonic errors on the Space Oddity disc on this album won’t be corrected. There’s a burst of digital noise on one track a small chunk cut out of another that actually changes the lyric. Imagine if Sgt Pepper featured the line “four thousand hole in Blackburn Lancashire.” It’s a shame because the sound is really excellent on these discs and those errors spoil the set.


It’s been €98 for ages on Amazon.it when I bought it, which is exactly the £69.99 on Amazon UK… so no, I wouldn’t call it a deal.

Alan Blevin

After all these price drops it will be interesting to see where Golden Years,the second box in the series ,is priced at initially.


Like others have said, I’m in for this at £50.
I was very tempted early this morning when I saw this (I emailed Paul straight away) but I am gonna a hold out for a better price as I am not desperate for it.
I wonder if it will be in any Black Friday deals when that comes around?

Paul Anthony Chapman

Out of interest does anyone know why the full box set wasn’t made available in high-res?


I wish it would.


Not this time again for me … i’m waiting for best price …

Charles Hodgson

…also, Van Morrison ‘Astral Weeks’ & ‘His Band And Street Choir’ (Expanded 2015 Remasters) are currently £5.99!

They dropped the price from £7.99 before midnight on 30 Oct. If you’ve been charged £7.99 you should request a refund. I did and they agreed. It’s only £4, but it’s a little more to put to other buys!


Charles, I managed to cancel my Van Morrison albums ‘in dispatch’, then reorder them at 5.99 each! That morning they were 7.99 and 8.65. Mighty relieved/miffed.

Charles Hodgson

Ditto. Saw this earlier (if’s in my shopping cart). I’m in at £50. Maybe after Christmas.

Also cancelled my VU “Loaded” Box. Maybe under £40 I’ll bite.
Similar with the Matrix Tapes – should come down to £30 (esp. as two CD’s worth out of four are redundant if you’ve already bought the ‘Third’ SDE).

BTW, a lot of items in my Cart have hit £7.99 today- I snagged the first two Specials Deluxe 2CD’s & Jock Scot w. Nectarine No. 9 this morning. It’s worth checking your Cart today, if you’ve not done so already.


To be fair guys, this box was never going to keep that high price. It’s not limited in any way, the music in it can be had for far less individually (other than the rarities discs which contain virtually nothing new) and the book – which is showing up on Amazon at ridiculous prices.

Bowie is a mass market guy. The EMI discs all became very cheap too eventually.

In other words, you longer you wait on this one the better pricing will be. I’d say it’s a £50 or so set. It’ll be readily available somewhere around that in the coming months, imo. I’m a HUGE Bowie fan, but even at this reduced price I’m not biting yet. I can wait – and when prices fall further I’ll get it then.


If it goes as low as £49.99 (unlikely but not impossible) I’ll buy it.

Phil Hale

There’s obviously plenty of stock to shift!
I’d say this is a sure bet on Black Friday

John Bommarito

I think the current price of $96 US Dollars on Amazon in the US is actually cheaper. I’m not sure about the shipping cost to elsewhere, but….


My days of pre-ordering are well behind me, unless it is a very limited edition. It doesn’t make financial sense.

John Ireland

Saw this and snagged it. I’ve been waiting on this coming down in price. There seems to be no point pre ordering box sets on Amazon UK anymore.

steve johnson

Make you right,some of the so called starting off prices are well over the top.
Hang on to see a price you like.


I’m hoping for a deal on the vinyl, best deal at the moment looks like £145.