The Art of CD Single packaging – pt 3

Once more, we take a look at some quirky UK CD singles from yesteryear. If you enjoy this post you should also enjoy  parts one and two.

Phil Collins / Two Hearts CD Single

Phil Collins / Two Hearts CD Single

Phil Collins / Two Hearts 1988

This US number one peaked at number six in the UK, despite this quirkily packaged three-inch CD single taking the title quite literally. A bit of a case of form over function though, since the CD itself was bereft of any really interesting tracks. You got the standard seven-inch version of Two Hearts, plus The Robbery an orchestral piece (from the soundtrack to the film Buster) written by future Oscar winner Anne Dudley (also a member of The Art of Noise).

Eurythmics / Sexcrime • 1984 CD Single
The remix promise on the cover is nonsense (click to enlarge)

Eurythmics / Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty Four) CD Single

Eurythmics / Sexcrime • (nineteen eighty four)

Another three-inch CD single, this time from the Eurythmics. Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty Four) was the lead single from their massively underrated, almost-soundtrack album to the film 1984. The one starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. The single was released in lots of formats including a groovy looking twelve-inch vinyl picture disc. As well as delivering an extended remix of Sexcrime, the back of this promises an “Extended 12-inch Remix” of what would become the second single Julia. In true can’t-they-even-get-the-basics-right fashion, the timing is listed as 3.52 but the Julia on this CD is actually 6.33 – identical to the album version, and not an extended remix at all!

Suzanne Vega / Book of Dreams CD Single

Suzanne Vega / Book Of Dreams CD Single
A slightly unimpressive 'lenticular' cover insert (click to enlarge)

Suzanne Vega / Book Of Dreams  1990

The first single from Vega’s 1990 album Days Of Open Hand. This numbered limited edition featured a lenticular 3D effect cover and a CD single jewel case overprinted with ‘Suzanne Vega Book Of Dreams’. This flashy packaging didn’t help the single which peaked at a number 66 in the UK charts.

Garbage / I Think I'm Paranoid CD Single
Square is boring - Garbage experiment with shapes (click to enlarge)

Garbage / I Think I’m Paranoid  1998

The second single from Garbage’s Version 2.0 album came in this special bespoke die-cut sleeve. This was CD 2 in the UK, and contained the seven-inch version of I Think I’m Paranoid and two remixes.

World Party / Is It Like Today CD Single
A short-lived thin double CD case (click to enlarge)

World Party / Is Is Like Today? CD SingleWorld Party / Is It Like Today?  1993

The superb opening single from 1993’s Bang! album, Is It Like Today? from World Party came in a rather strange thin double CD single jewel case. ‘Disc One’ came with the package and included the single edit of the song, plus World Without Love and Ship Of Fools. ‘Disc Two’ was available separately and featured the LP version of Is It Like Today along with Message In The Box and a rare demo of The Little Man Within. The song remains their biggest single in the UK, reaching number 19 in the singles chart.

Hue and Cry / Violently CD Single

Hue and Cry / Violently CD Single

Hue and Cry / Violently  1989

The third single off Remote, the second album, came in this three-inch format and included the ‘Gospel On The Track Mix’ of the previous single Looking For Linda as well as a cover of Kate Bush’s The Man With The Child In Her Eyes – retitled as ‘his’ eyes. Violently would be Hue and Cry’s last UK top 30 hit (not including re-releases).

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Ian Burgess

Having joined SDE long after these excellent articles I wonder if it is time for some new additions.

I have several singles in tins – Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Gary Moore (a 3″ tin!),
Chris Rea Auberge in a box that looks like it is a model car box.
Fish Something in the air, two plastic cases with blown features, a black one with his logo and a white one with a penguin. One also included a poster, the other a laminate pass.
Barclay James Harvest, a large butterfly shaped card
The Apple EP, shaped like.. an apple of course.

Marc Bijlsma

My version of the Eurythmics Sex Crime cd single does have a (slightly) different mix of Julia. Okay, not an extended remix, but a remix it is. It is best noticeable in the instrumental part at the end of the song.


My quirkiest CD single packaging is probably “Too Much Love Will Kill You” by Brian May. It’s circular (front cover looks like an aspirin tablet) and folds out into four other panels which surround the disc. It has 4 tracks, I don’t know if there’s any bonuses.


I came across a whole bunch of these 80s CD-singles with odd packaging a couple of weeks back, in an unloved box of stuff at the back of a collector’s shop. Many of them I’d never seen before, a mix of 3″ discs in small card cases (the Fleetwood Mac ’89 reissue of “Hold Me” is especially nice with its gatefold sleeve), 3″ discs in full size slim jewel cases, and 5″ discs with inserts. The other World Party single from Bang! also came in one of those slim double sets, as did a few CBS releases in 1992 (Manic St Preachers, Prefab Sprout). Again, they’re rather nice, if a short-lived phenomenon. The only downside to all these unusual forms of packaging, is they can be a swine to store and/or display coherently!



Now dont forget Queen’s A Winter’s Tale 1995 cd-single. The special edition came in a Christmas package with green wrap-around sleeve and an exclusive extra track.

There’s also a EP on cd by Vile Electrodes which was released last year. A special hand-made edition comes in an actual latex sleeve. I think only about 20 copies were made.

And ofcourse there are another million other examples :D