Chris Rea / Era 1: Rarities 1978-1984

Chris Rea / ERA 1 (As, Bs and Rarities 1978-1984)

3CD early years package

ERA 1 (As, Bs and Rarities 1978-1984) is a new Chris Rea rarities compilation that brings together his early work in a triple-CD package.

The set starts with an edited version of Rea’s first big hit ‘Fool (If You Think It’s Over)’ from his 1978 debut solo album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? and then works its way through B-sides, foreign language variants and different mixes.

Chris Rea issued six studio album during this period including 1984’s Wired To The Moon from which the artwork for this new compilation is derived.

It’s worth pointing out that CD 2 of this set features last year’s Rhino-exclusive One Fine Day album in its entirety. So if you are kicking yourself for not having acquired that, then this is good news.

ERA 1 (As, Bs and Rarities 1978 – 1984) will be released on 20 November 2020 (was 6 November). A series of 2CD ‘Rea-issues’ were released last year.

CD 1

1-Fool (If You Think It’s Over)
2-Midnight Love
3-Voy A Volverme Loco (Fool If You Think It’s Over) (Spanish Language Version)
4-Whatever Happened To Benny Santini?
5-Three Angels
6- Diamonds
7-Cleveland Calling
8-Raincoat And A Rose
9-No Qualifications
11-If You Really Love Me
12-Dancing Girls
13-Friends Across The Water
14-Ya No Te Veo Nunca Mas (Since I Don’t See You Anymore)
(Spanish Language Version)
15-Loving You
16-Let Me Be The One
17- Diamonds (12” version) 

CD 2

1-Do You Still Dream
(Original recording of song. First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019)

2-Loving You
(Original recording of song. First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019)

3-One Fine Day
(Original recording of the song (in 1981). First issued on Soft Top, Hard Shoulder single in 1993

4-One Sweet And Tender Touch
(Original recording of the song (in 1981). First issued on Que Sera single 1988

5-If I Ever Break Free
(Original recording of the song (in 1981). First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019.

6-Sierra Sierra
(Original recording of song (in 1981). First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019.

7-Members Only
(Original recording of song (in 1981). First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019.

8-Let Me Be The One
(Original recording of the song (in 1981). First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019.

9-One Night With You
(Original recording of the song (in 1981). First issued on ‘One Fine Day’ LP in 2019.

10-Every Beat Of My Heart

11-Don’t Look

12-Let It Loose

13-Urban Samurai

14- Let It Loose(special extended remix)

15-Sierra Sierra (5.38)

16-I Can Hear Your Heartbeat

17-From Love To Love

18-I Can Hear Your Heartbeat (special extended mix)

CD 3

1-Love’s Strange Ways
3-I Don’t Know What It Is But I Love It
4-Mystery Man
5-I Don’t Know What It Is But I Love It
6-Bombollini (6.10)
7-True Love (3.40)
8- Touche D’Amour (special remix)
9-Ace Of Hearts (special remix)
10-Excerpts from ’I Can Hear Your Heartbeat’ recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival
11-Auf Immer Und Ewig
12- Bitter Sweet
13- Touche D’Amour (instrumental)
14-Touche d’amour (Special extended remix)
15-Ace Of Hearts (special remix)
16-Special Edition 12” Medley
(Let It Loose/I Can Hear Your Heartbeat/I Don’t Know What It Is But I Love It)

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Is there much (if any) overlap between what is on this 3 CD set and what appears on the newly expanded two disc re-issues? And is there any big improvement (sonically) on those new re-issues?


No overlap. This set covers the early albums (hence Era 1) while the expanded reissues from last year cover Rea’s “Imperial phase” (Era 2: 1985-1991). Both the reissues and this set are remastered, an improvement imho. Finally it’s important to mention many of the tracks on this set appear for the first time on cd / digitally.

James Kane

Ordered from Amazon UK and arrived damaged due to inadequate packaging. Returned for refund and ordered from another source. I know other people have mentioned the poor packaging from Amazon so am doing the same here in the hope that eventually they will get the hint.

Is it too much to ask that those of us who collect CDs/vinyl receive them in perfect condition. (Not optimistic though).


Isn’t the track Fascination missing on the One Fine Day album?


Release has been delayed until November 20 now.

Guillaume Labelle

So glad this gets released, been waiting for this for a long time. Chris Rea has been my musical hero since I was a kid. I got the honor to meet him in my hometown Montreal in 1994 at a restaurant just before his first concert ever in Canada. I had brought all my CDs with me because for some reasons something was telling me that I was going to meet him and I did with the entire band. I saw him over 50 times ever since then flying to different part of the world to see him in concert. What a brilliant musician, player, writer, bluesman…! I was lucky enough to meet him many times after my first encounter with him in 1994. Such an amazing man, simple, gifted …. Now I wish he could do a few more concerts so that my kids can see him and the legend I grew up listening to for so many years and still do.


Does this mean we will not be getting individual 2 disc releases of his 78-84 albums,like the superb 2019 85-91 sets?
I already have Santini remastered so inward really looking forward to the others being fully remastered with related extra,s.
And i have the One Fine Day album/cd,so this purchase will be a double dip,which infeelmis unfair.

Paul G

There’s also a limited Edition vinyl pressing which includes highlights of the 3CD set (12 tracks). The vinyl is only available through the Rhino store and available on its own at £14.99 or as bundle with the 3CD set at £24.99.

Claude Schirripa

I am in Australia and just pre-ordered this set on Warner Music Australia’s website for AUD$30. I was thinking would have to pay much more from overseas. Just so happy to get original versions of some of his earlier singles to compliment the NLTOW versions which I love. Also happy to to get One Fine Day. But the best song to personally get for me on this collection is Tennis as didn’t want to purchase the full album. This collection will finally get me to replace some of the songs I have downloaded from Itunes.

Dire Rea

It would be nice if the wanna be artists on here would first learn respect. Mr. Rea probably has nothing to do with the releases as most record labels control most if not all control. Even when an artist has control, distributors then have the next level of control. Mr. Rea is a professional. Please treat him as such, especially since he’s earned it.

Jason Brown

And that’s Xmas pressies for me and my Dad sorted.

Interesting, this. Clumsy title notwithstanding, it is accurate : Era 1 goes from the start to the cusp of UK fame. Also, most of the B-sides were simply album tracks from the first few albums. And there are gems there; Deltics is the Great Hidden Classic; Tennis’ title track is flat out sinister; and Water Sign is great, in a very ’80s way.

I wouldn’t mind betting an Era 2 3CD comp happens at some point in the future (October 2022, to allow 3 years between the stand-alone ‘hit’ era reissues) cherry picking from last years reissues); the fact that One Fine Day is included in this points to a cross-pollination of plans.

Era 3 (October 2021?) would be Gods Great Banana Skin, Espresso Logic, The Best Of Chris Rea, La Passione, The Blue Cafe, The Road To Hell Pt2, King Of The Beach & The Very Best Of, closing the WEA / EastWest years. Chuck in the York cover of On The Beach, the new stuff off the two compilations in this ‘era’, could comfortably provide for a quality 3CD set.

So you’d have Era 1,2 & 3 : a 9CD set covering 23 years. Combine that with last years reissues (with 71 bonus tracks), and over a 4-year period, you’ve covered his whole WEA career, about 200-odd tracks, released over a period of time. Not a bad approach.

If there were an Era 4…the indie(ish) years : 2002-2017. Stony Road, Blue Street, The Blue Jukebox, Blue Guitars, The Road To Hell And Back, Hofner Blue Notes, Still So Far To Go (compilation), Santo Spirito Blues, and Songs For Road Lovers. Could be a great comp there (Dancing My Blues Away from 2011 is just brilliant)

It’s in keeping with Rea’s legacy that the reissues, when they finally have come, are low key, reasonably priced, and sensibly put together. I remember in a (1986 second hand off e-bay!) copy of Record Collector I bought in 2001 because of a Rea discography & feature. In it – and in another later interview – he stated there wasn’t much ‘bonus’ or left over material (remember, Water Sign was home demos, effectively).

I wonder if a DVD, combining all sorts of TV & Live stuff could happen (BBC Live In Glasgow concert in 1993 is magnificent!)

I doubt we’ll ever see any new material from him now, but it’s great that this career and catalogue is getting a fresh push.

Martin Rawles

Josephine (La Version Française)?………the rumour must be true that he didn’t like it! I think its a classic.


According to the autobiography of Pete Waterman ‘I wish I was Me’ Chris recorded an album before his proper debut which was then shelved as they didn’t feel they had captured Chris Rea’s sound. Pete also claims to have discovered Chris Reas’s music when he came across his rejected demo tape at the label he was working at.

Craig Hedges

Paul, I’m sure it’s not deliberate but based on your last two posts I immediately remembered the old joke about Dire Straits and Chris Rea working together and combining their names.


Just speculating on this but I think there is still a chance for remastered reissues of the six 1978-1984 Chris Rea albums, just not expanded 2-disc versions. Even with this new Rarities release, there is still space for single-disc remastered reissues of the first 6 Rea albums.


I agree. I wonder if the 1992-2001 stuff will be done in a similar way?

Incidentally there appears to be no mention of the NLTOW versions of Candles, Fool, Ace of Hearts not to mention Windy Town. Very unsatisfactory…

Larry Davis

Won’t ship to the US either…yet…would love to know…definitively…if 2CD expanded remasters of Benny thru Wired are not coming, or if post 1991 albums will be expanded…and how many ERA sets are being done…now, if the first albums are not being redone, I will take the 6 EastWest reissues from the 90s and condense them into a clamshell CD case that can hold 6 titles, to save space…that type of case only takes up 2 spaces… better than 6!!


The David Bowie estate has paved the way, 2021 will be the year of selling empty boxes !

SDE : the reissue site for fans who love holding the music in their hands, but are stuck with an empty box…

Eric Generic

I kept missing out on One Fine Day every time Rhino found a few more down the back of their sofa, so this set is a must-buy, even if I was always going to want it because it’s Chris Rea.

Agree that it’s a shame this project doubtless means no individual deluxes for the pre-1985 albums, but we have to take what we can I suppose. Even in limited runs, they must have done the sums and figured it wasn’t worth the expense.

Larry Davis

I now have a feeling that, instead of 2CD expanded remasters of the first 6, we may see a small box or triple CD of the first 6 albums condensed and cheap, 2 albums on each disc, maybe with that initial rare 1974 single (A & B-side) as bonus tracks, and maybe some other spare track or rarity forgotten about, like the New Light version of “Windy Town” left off Dancing With Strangers, also tacked on as bonuses…I don’t think this ERA1 set will be the last word on this period…maybe this will plant a seed in the minds of the Magnet folk and Chris Rea himself??

Paul Mac

The Rea-issue version of The Road To Hell is just £9.28 on Amazon UK at the moment, if anyone was interested (all the others are stubbornly staying at £11.99). Looks like they’re out of stock but they’re saying it should be back in stock in 1-2 days, so you can still order at that price.


Or £8.79 on the Rhino Dig store, as are all the 2CD sets. They have a bundle of all 5 for £39.99


For those wondering about the track list. These are all the singles/EP’s from the period in chronological order, with related B-sides and 12” versions.

The “lost 1981 album” One Fine Day is placed not entirely within this chronological order on disc 2 (the Loving You single on disc 1 was released in 1982), but this has been done to not split up the album over two discs.

In my opinion, combining all these tracks on one release, indicates that reissues of the individual albums are not to be expected.


I still hope the Smile album gets a release. This set however lumps all the a’s and b’s together so it’s a no brainer Especially for the price.

Chris Squires

If you are lucky enough to be listening to this whilst in the bath, don’t forget to crack an egg into the warm water first…… it’s a Chris Rea speciality.


What on earth are you on about Mr.Squires? A hint of sarcasm I detect…Don’t knock Mr. Rea please he is a legend, a fine songsmith with a rich catalogue of superb albums.
Real shame as others here have said that we don’t look like getting any of his first 6 albums individually remastered, even if they were just single discs with a handful of bonus songs it would be better than nothing, Plus not having his first single on this release “”So Much Love” and it’s B Side “Born To Lose” is a big disappointment.

Paul Kent

Ha ha! If you know, you know.


Hey well done Bob. I reckon we’ve cracked it like! Here’s a bath… I’ve popped an egg into it for ya.

Peter Smith

You even wrote that with the right accent!


Don’t think Mr Squires would lie to us!

Graeme ewan

Classic story that one. For the charity single.

Larry Davis

Interesting release…happy I don’t have to buy the CD/LP bundle of One Fine Day now… perhaps there will be 2CD remasters of albums 1-6…and I wonder how many ERA sets there will be…


@Ivan Goldberg: There is also an 8:15min. Club Mix and Re-Edit by Kevin Unger from that era. That one’s not included :-(

Sam Lowry

The I Can Hear Your Heartbeat edit is just horrible. Too many repeats and bad edits. Any fan-editor can do a better job with one hand behind their back.

Selling point for me is the Let it Loose extended mix. Finally on CD.


Good value. And yes I’ll buy it.

Yet I want to add that, deltics remains the unrecognised diamond in chris’ wonderful life work.

Perhaps they don’t have much else from that era. Yet I remain hopeful that I shall be able to hear other versions of cenotaph letter from Amsterdam, among others.

Chris, you mean a lot to me and others. All the best.


Agree, Chris has a formidable back catalogue, particularly these early albums, but Deltics is stand out for me. He did great versions of Cenotaph/Letter From Amsterdam, even showed my old man the chords, after he stepped offstage from a Manchester Polytech gig in the late 70’s, (the band had to walk through the audience to get back to the dressing rooms), and there is a BBC recording of Chris from In Concert which features LFA.


Deltics is a fantastic album. Cenotaph, Things Livers should do, No Qualifications, Diamonds, Deltics. All brilliant.


Wow! I was hoping for the early albums as 2 cd sets but this is good news albeit a bit weird. It’s bits of albums and then various b sides in a weird mixture. Great we’ll get the two extremely rare tracks of Auf Immer and Bitter sweet. I see that Smile has been included despite being erroneously included on the Dancing with Strangers set at the expense of the New Light Through Old Windows version of Windy Town. Also good that One Fine Day is getting a sort of CD release.

This really is an odd way to do it though!


Sorry I realise now that it’s singles and b sides. That makes a lot more sense.


Shame they couldn’t have included Chris’s first release on Magnet “So Much Love” / “Born To Lose” That single really is a “rarity”

Lewis Slade

That first release was left off at Chris’ request.


CD3 track 5: What mix is this?! What’s the difference with track 2?!

CD3 track 15: What mix is this?! What’s the difference with track 9?!


I am guessing these are 7” and 12” mixes.

Pierre Pelletier

It is frustrating, CD’s cannot be shipped in Canada and it does not appear yet on Amazon.Ca site.


Try http://www.jpc.de
They are outstanding


Nice collection. Very pleased to finally get some of these tracks on CD but I guess that now means we will not be getting 2CD reissues/remasters of the corresponding albums.

Steven Roberts

My first thought as well :(

Ivan Goldberg

Just for 18-I Can Hear Your Heartbeat (special extended mix) the entire set is worth it!

J Douglas

The Amazon page for the digital version lists most of the music as 2o20 or 2019 remasters (One Fine Day material was presumably mastered in 2019). Sadly, then this release seems to be in lieu of the first six albums being re-issued as 2 disc versions. Pity as was looking forward to those.

Wayne K

Doesn’t mean they weren’t mastered st that time as well but just not issued yet.


I’m hoping at some point they will remaster and re release the albums from Benny Santini up to Wired to the moon.

alan hansen

amen, ditto, and pass the bean-dip. (the avocados didn’t look terribly good at the market yesterday.)


Benny Santini has had a remaster

Stephen dC

At last! How long have I been waiting for the single version of Ace Of Hearts [7″ and 12″] !?

[A: Long Time]

Thank you!

Prince Fan

Fans can’t really argue about this set. Very good value indeed.


I’m not the biggest Chris Rea fan but I do like a lot of his stuff – particularly Shamrock and Wired – so this is as good a place as any to delve deeper and for the price it’s a no brainer. Incidentally, on the Chris Rea linked ‘thisisdig.com website there is the five release (2 cd per release) deluxe bundle from last year for £39.99.