Saturday Deluxe / 9 May 2015

It’s the weekend! SDE is nursing a hangover and is kicking back with some stories and updates from the past week, along with gossip and news from the weeks to come…

A spot of recording shopping in Slovakia

Last weekend I was on a stag do in Bratislava in Slovakia. Obviously, the usual revelry took place… but I couldn’t resist popping into a local shop to pick up some CDs. Funnily enough, it wasn’t a record shop but rather a ‘pound shop’ stacked high with discount household items. I say pound shop – this being Slovakia it was actually a ‘Euro Shop’ so each item was the equivalent of around 72p – even better! A stack of Madonna CDs in the shop window – many of which were the 2001 remasters – drew me inside. I knew I ‘needed’ True Blue, so what the hell… In the end I walked out with both that and Confessions On A Dancefloor, both sealed for a total cost of €2. They are definitely originals before you ask!

Nothing to declare: Madonna CDs brought back from Slovakia

Of course the Madonna remasters are rubbish. I realise that. Why Warners even bothered is still a bit of a mystery. On True Blue you get just two measly extra tracks (The ‘Color Mix’ of the title track and the ‘Extended Remix’ of La Isla Bonita). There is only about 53 minutes of music on the disc and so much material missing such as at least three non-album versions of Open Your Heart, the extended version of Papa Don’t Preach, the B-side Ain’t No Big Deal. I could go on. When you consider this was the same era of the Pet Shop Boys‘ excellent ‘Further Listening’ two-CD sets, it’s all rather embarrassing. The only good thing that happened was reinstating the original cover to Madonna’s first album, but that aside, these now 14-year old reissues were virtually pointless at the time and should be superseded at the earliest opportunity.


Talking of albums from the 1980s, Warner Music have this week announced a 30th anniversary edition of Tina Turner‘s 1984 album Private Dancer.

The ‘math’ fans amongst you will spot that this is actually a 31st anniversary – which perhaps suggests that the original plan was to get this out last year. A decent one-CD remaster was issued in 1997 but one disc was never going to be enough to include all the relevant bonus tracks because there were so many singles. This time around the reissue offers two-CDs which should be enough to include everything, but as you will see if you read this news story not all boxes are ticked.

This was such a big album it’s quite hard to understand why it hasn’t been given more of a push. My feeling is that pop music isn’t yet taken half as seriously a rock music with the major labels and therefore, if there are no other factors at play (the artist on an ‘anniversary’  world tour, for example) they are worried about not seeing enough return on investment if they green light a big lavish multi-disc release. The trouble is, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because fans might not embrace a compromised deluxe reissue for exactly that reason – it’s compromised. So if sales expectations are not met, the executives will sit around the table and say ‘thank god we didn’t do a bigger set’!

Read more about the Private Dancer reissue here.


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Absolutely right on that. Madonna is notoriously reluctant to look back, as she’s usually got some new project or tour and prefers to leave the past be. Her control freak tendencies pretty much eliminate hope of any alternate/demo/early versions coming out and I suspect anything she would ok would have a big revisionist streak to it. Maybe all it takes is someone to put forth a decent proposal to her, but I’m suspecting they’re aren’t even going anywhere near it.


I have a feeling that the lack of good Madonna reissues/expanded editions can be tied to the lack of good Prince reissues/expanded editions: The Artist in Question is difficult to work with when it comes to their back catalog and they simply won’t approve an archival release of this nature.

Remember, we got a definitive statement that, after years of waiting, a deluxe Purple Rain would finally be released. And that didn’t happen.

There is plenty to blame Warner Bros. and other big record companies for when it comes to reissues, but in the case of Madonna and Prince, I think the blame falls more on the artist. They simply aren’t interested.


Considering the number of B’sides and mixes issued by artists like Madonna, to throw in one or two measly extra tracks sounds cheap.


As a huge Madonna fan I have given up wishing for a Super Duper Hooper Looper Pooper Deluxe Edition of her catalogue, or whatever new name combo the companies come up with.

I would like & ive said it before on here, Singles & Albums remastered, Edits, Demos, Blu Ray’s of all tours, promo versions etc etc.

Not a fancy box set thingy with the album a couple of mixes & a poster and or pin badge!

I’m sure some fans will agree on this?


Madonnas sleeves have always varied quite widely in quality. She’ll bounce from well thought out campaigns with coordinated artwork (ray of light, music) to random, atrocious messes (most recent releases). Never her strong suit for sure


This last part hits the nail on the head for me;

“The trouble is, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because fans might not embrace a compromised deluxe reissue for exactly that reason – it’s compromised. So if sales expectations are met, the executives will sit around the table and say ‘thank god we didn’t do a bigger set’!”

I buy CDs every day, but I don’t buy sets that are half-hearted efforts. I go to the supermarket and always check out what they have there and it is always just the mainstream titles and a few “cheapies”. So, I rarely buy anything there. They probably have no clue that people are bypassing their music selection because it is just too generic and can be purchased anywhere. I’m sure they would do much better having more variety of less obvious titles.

With regards to the deluxe sets, the target market is people who were young when these things were first released. We now want all the mixes that weren’t on CD before and we want them to be fully comprehensive sets. Companies like Big Break Records, Edsel and Cherry Pop usually deliver, but the likes of Universal Music, Sony and Warners are asleep.

Craig hedges

I’ve always been amazed that considering how madonna has controlled her image throughout her career, it never seemed to extend to a lot her record sleeves. She’s never had a long term logo which I always thought was a shame. Her best sleeves were true blue and like a prayer but the rest weren’t up to much. As for her single sleeves these looked like they were thrown together in a rush and were put together by the Warner in house team, who also seemed to do a-ha’s single sleeves.


I imagine Madonna never wanted a long-term logo as that would conflict with the idea of constant reinvention and constantly being a cutting-edge artist. Just a thought.


I do not know if that is the case in Bratislava, but I once had the chance to visit record shops in cities such as Budapest and Prague and I can assure you there is a treasure of local music hidden in the East European countries, specially if you enjoy jazz or Prog. .


if these albums sold by the bucketload in the past, surely the rationale would be they are worth reviving properly with proper added value? and the decade in question is constantly ‘on-trend’ to use a nauseating expression. all the components are there really if these things are done right with the involvement of fans who are the real experts. and why is there not a dedicated freeview channel to the 80’s, for example? – a platform that in my view would be ideal for a ridiculous amount of commercial reasons. like shooting fish in barrel.


I think record companies are starting to realise there is a market for good pop reissues. The recent Belinda Carlisle, Bananarama and Kylie deluxe sets have all been great and have joined my collections with joy. However there is a lot more out there that would benefit from this treatment. Hopefully things will start to develop further in this genre. As you say the Madonna reissues were just pointless, they brought nothing new to the table. These could have been multi disc expanded box sets and people would have lapped them up. Maybe one day it will happen and also not just the first three albums. Unfortunately pop is seen as a disposable genre by many so the thought of reinvesting in these albums will probably turn record companies off doing it or at least doing it well. The PSB ‘further listening’ sets were excellent and it seems they are working on new ones which I think will be even better still.

More well done expanded pop reissues please!