Big Star / Complete Third box set


This October, Omnivore Recordings will release Complete Third, a comprehensive reissue of Big Star‘s 1974 album (issued in 1978) that documents, in detail, the recording sessions across three CDs.

This set will contain 69 tracks in total, or to put it another way “every demo, rough mix, outtake, alt take and final master from the Third sessions known to exist”. Twenty-nine of these are previously unreleased.

One CD at a time, the box set allows you to track the creation of the album from the original demos, through sessions and rough mixes, to the final masters of each song. It will come with a booklet that includes an essay from Bud Scoppa and notes from original participants (and a raft of artists influenced by the band).

Three separate double LPs of this content will follow at a later date, with each vinyl volume representing a CD in the boxed set.

Third (aka Sister Lovers) was recorded in 1974. By the time it was eventually issued in 1978 by the PVC label Big Star had not been active for four years. Original band member Chris Bell would be tragically killed in a car accident later that same year.

Complete Third is due for release on 14 October 2016.


Volume 1: Demos to Sessions to Roughs
1. Like St. Joan (Kanga Roo) [Demo]*
2. Lovely Day (Demo)
3. Downs (Demo)
4. Femme Fatale (Demo)
5. Thank You Friends (Demo)
6. Holocaust (Demo)
7. Jesus Christ (Demo)
8. Blue Moon (Demo)
9. Nightime (Demo)
10. Take Care (Demo)
11. Big Black Car (Demo #2/Acoustic Take 1)
12. Don’t Worry Baby
13. I’m In Love With A Girl*
14. Big Black Car (Demo #3/Acoustic Take 2)
15. I’m So Tired – Alex & Lesa
16. That’s All It Took – Alex & Lesa
17. Pre-Downs*
18. Baby Strange*
19. Big Black Car (Demo #1/Band)
20. Kizza Me (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)*
21. Till The End Of The Day (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)*
22. Thank You Friends (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)*
23. O, Dana (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
24. Dream Lover (Dickinson Rough Mix)*

Vol. 2: Roughs to Mixes
1. Big Black Car (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)*
2. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
3. Take Care (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
4. Holocaust (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
5. Nightime (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
6. Thank You Friends (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
7. Nature Boy (Dickinson Rough Mix)*
8. After Hours – Lesa
9. Stroke It Noel*
10. Lovely Day (Fry Rough Mix)*
11. Nightime (Fry Rough Mix)*
12. Blue Moon (Fry Rough Mix)*
13. Till The End Of The Day (Alternate Mix #1)
14. Big Black Car
15. Holocaust
16. Downs (Fry Rough Mix)*
17. Kanga Roo
18. Femme Fatale (Fry Rough Mix)*
19. For You (Alternate Version/Alex Vocal)*
20. Thank You Friends (Fry Rough Mix)*
21. Take Care ((Alternative Version/Alex Vocal)*
22. Kizza Me (Fry Rough Mix)*
23. Till The End Of The Day (Fry Rough Mix #2/Lesa Vocals) – Lesa
24. Nature Boy (Fry Rough Mix)
25. Manana

Vol. 3: Final Masters
1. Stroke It Noel
2. Downs
3. Femme Fatale
4. Thank You Friends
5. Holocaust
6. Jesus Christ
7. Blue Moon
8. Kizza Me
9. For You
10. O, Dana
11. Nightime
12. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
13. Kanga Roo
14. Take Care
15. Big Black Car
16. Dream Lover
17. You Can’t Have Me
18. Till The End Of The Day
19. Lovely Day
20. Nature Boy

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Got mine in the mail this past Friday from PopMarket, $34.99 for a pre-order eons ago. It’s not a box set in the traditional sense, it’s in a quasi-DVD digipack and has a very slim tri-fold profile with nice graphics, and the booklet is glued inside the second (center) panel. I’m grateful to have all of these recordings under one roof, so to speak, the (re)masterings are all solid, though I haven’t done any A-B comparing between this and previous versions.


Looking forward to this release, but to all of those people who say that this was their masterpiece I have this to say: Without the first two Big Star albums this album would have never even been released and if it had no one would have taken any notice of it. It’s only because of the context of what they had done before that makes this album so intriguing.

Personally I can’t wait to get my hands on this box as I have loved Big Star for more than 25 years and have purchased the first Big Star box set, the Rhino Deluxe reissue of Chris Bell’s I am the Cosmos (if you love Big Star and don’t have the Rhino reissue of Bell’s one and only solo LP, stop reading this and buy it right away. It is amazing what they did to improve the sound and the second disc of 95% unreleased stuff is almost just as good as the LP proper), the soundtrack to their film (the RSD deluxe vinyl issue and the film itself of course), Chilton’s 2 issues of the “1970” album (also some of his solo stuff including Bach’s Bottom & LIke Flies on Sherbet) and their 3 albums on CD. This box will sit right next to them all and I will play it endlessly like I have with all of their other releases.

Big Star, Badfinger and almost the whole power pop genre is some of the greatest rock n roll music ever made. R.I.P. Chris Bell, Andy Hummel, John Fry, Jim Dickinson and Alex Chilton.


The Bangles’ take on “September Gurls” was very helpful for my discovering of “Big Star” too, way back in the 80s. And as was said before: This is surely an interesting box but also surely not at the current price. Will wait ’til it gets below 25 EUR.

Mike Zlotnicki

Bull Moose : $38.97

Import CDs : $35.04 :

I chose Bull Moose, as there’s no tax, and free shipping.

Tut Bartzen

So glad to see this comprehensive set being issued. One of the most essential albums of the 1970s, from someone old enough to have purchased all of the Big Star albums when they were released. You know you are old when people are commenting that they got into Big Star through the This Mortal Coil covers! The originals are always best, thank you Alex!


The above comment is one reason why I order from Amazon straightaway and keep a weather eye on the “current” price!!!


Price down to £37 on Amazon uk


The label site has it for USD 49.99, which is average. I’m also hoping this will be the last time I have to buy this album.


Brilliant! I could listen to this LP all day…

I guess we’ve been spoiled a bit by bargain boxsets over recent years – £46 doesn’t sound vastly over-priced compared to what a even a double CD cost a few years ago. That said, I think I too will bide my time before buying.

I’m not sure if the magic of Sister Lovers could be damaged by any number of outtakes or alternative mixes. And I’m just about obsessed enough to risk it. I mean, who could resist listening in to an initial version of Kanga Roo or Holocaust? Or getting an insight into how Kizza Me came together?

It may well just be selling dregs and offcuts to obsessives but I’m more than happy to be exploited in such a way :o)


I would prefer a 2 disc smaller version of this. My copy of Third was mastered in the 90’s I think so I could use a new remaster but don’t want to buy this big box set. It’d be fun to watch a “making of” documentary showing behind the scenes footage of a classic album being made but I don’t know that I need to listen to an entire CD of them doing outtakes recording parts of an album. It just kills the mystery of the music for me and I don’t know what pleasure people derive from it unless they are practicing sound engineers or studio producers.


For the same reason people bought The Smile or Pet Sounds Sessions.
Plus this has versions and songs no one has ever heard.


Wow, a must have, but not at that price.



Charles K.

Like Simon above I got into them in the 80’s because of the covers by This Mortal Coil. So this was my introduction album to them and is still my favorite. Was pretty surprised when I heard the first two. It’s always felt like the first Alex Chilton solo record.

This is a dream, ordering this immediately!


seems very interesting, but way overpriced

Charles Hodgson

Been hoping for this collection for many years, and waiting excitedly since I heard it would actually happen after the “Jesus Christ” RSD 10″. Probably my all-time favourite record.

Thank you Omnivore. An amazing Record Company.


I’ll be tempted by this if the price drops to somewhere between £20-25. Their “Keep An Eye On The Sky” box set from 2009 was reissued a couple of years ago and sells for £17.99 direct from Amazon.

Simon Thornhill

I became aware of Big Star via the legendary 4ad label pmroject The Mortal Coil, which featured members of bands from the 4as rosta, covering various tracks, that were the favourites of label boss Ivo Watts Russell. Featuring members of Cocteau Twins Pixies The Breeders Throwing Muses & Dead Can Dance. The three albums produced under the collective name of This Mortal Coil, have since aquired legendary status in the 4ad back catalog.
The main reason for this aside from the astonishing renditions by the likes of Elizabeth Fraser Robin Guthrie Simon Raymonde Lisa Gerrard Brendan Perry Kim Deal etc Is the excellent standards of song writing craft found in the original songs, none more so than
amongst the most notable covers were. Big Star’s Kang a roo & Holocaust along with Chris Bell’s heartbreaking track I am the Cosmos.
So this Boxset although possibly over exhausted in its coverage of the creation process of the 3rd Big Star album. Will I’m sure be a fascinating listen none the less

Donal O'Connell

Thanks Paul.

Hopefully the vinyl will follow soon.
The previous Omnivore reissue of Third/Sister Lovers for RSD a few years ago was brilliant sounding and beautifully packaged.

btw Crowded House vinyl is up for preorder in Amazon now too.