Lou Reed / The RCA & Arista Album Collection / 17CD box set


This autumn, Sony’s Legacy Recordings will issue The RCA & Arista Album Collection, a Lou Reed 17CD box set that features all his solo albums of the 1970s and early eighties remastered under the “direct personal supervision” of the American rock musician shortly before his death – his last project.

This anthology starts with 1972’s Lou Reed and takes in essential titles such as Transformer and Berlin. In total 16 albums feature in this collection including Lou Reed Live Take No Prisoners from 1978 which is a two-CD set.

Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed’s wife and partner for twenty-one years said “Lou put his heart into remastering these records. They are not smoothed out. Sometimes remastering revealed their details and roughness in the most exciting ways. They leap out at you with their original energy.


“I also love the rare images and the great selection of Lou’s words about his music in this collection. Lou was a superb analyst and sharp critic and the interview excerpts bring back his crazy sense of humour, his generosity and his big view of the world and the meaning of music. Anyone who has loved Lou’s music will be so happy to have this. I’m really grateful to Sony for putting this one out.”

Unusually for Sony ‘album collection’ sets, this is a large format, 12″ x 12″ deluxe box and includes an 80-page hardbound book capturing images of memorabilia from Lou’s personal archives, rare photos and artwork and interviews. The box also comes with five 8″ x 10″ prints and a facsimile reproduction of a rare RCA promotional poster (598mm x 572mm).

The RCA & Arista Album Collection will be issued on 7 October 2016.



  • 1. Lou Reed (April 1972)
  • 2. Transformer (November 1972)
  • 3. Berlin (July 1973)
  • 4. Rock n Roll Animal (live – February 1974)
  • 5. Sally Can’t Dance (August 1974)
  • 6. Metal Machine Music (July 1975)
  • 7. Coney Island Baby (December 1975)
  • 8. Rock and Roll Heart (October 1976)
  • 9. Street Hassle (February 1978)
  • 10. Lou Reed Live  Take No Prisoners (2 CDs – November 1978)
  • 11. The Bells (April 1979)
  • 12. Growing Up in Public (April 1980)
  • 13. The Blue Mask (February 1982)
  • 14. Legendary Hearts (March 1983)
  • 15. New Sensations (April 1984)
  • 16. Mistrial (June 1986)

Disc: 1
1. I Can’t Stand It
2. Going Down
3. Walk and Talk It
4. Lisa Says
5. Berlin
6. I Love You
7. Wild Child
8. Love Makes You Feel
9. Ride Into the Sun
10. Ocean

Disc: 2
1. Vicious
2. Andy’s Chest
3. Perfect Day
4. Hangin’ ‘Round
5. Walk On the Wild Side
6. Make Up
7. Satellite of Love
8. Wagon Wheel
9. New York Telephone Conversation
10. I’m So Free
11. Goodnight Ladies

Disc: 3
1. Berlin
2. Lady Day
3. Men of Good Fortune
4. Caroline Says I
5. How Do You Think It Feels
6. Oh Jim
7. Caroline Says II
8. The Kids
9. The Bed
10. Sad Song

Disc: 4
1. Intro / Sweet Jane
2. Heroin
3. White Light / White Heat
4. Lady Day
5. Rock ‘N’ Roll

Disc: 5
1. Ride Sally Ride
2. Animal Language
3. Baby Face
4. N.Y. Stars
5. Kill Your Sons
6. Ennui
7. Sally Can’t Dance
8. Billy

Disc: 6
1. Metal Machine Music, Pt. 1
2. Metal Machine Music, Pt. 2
3. Metal Machine Music, Pt. 3
4. Metal Machine Music, Pt. 4

Disc: 7
1. Crazy Feeling
2. Charley’s Girl
3. She’s My Best Friend
4. Kicks
5. A Gift
6. Ooohhh Baby
7. Nobody’s Business
8. Coney Island Baby

Disc: 8
1. I Believe In Love
2. Banging On My Drum
3. Follow the Leader
4. You Wear It So Well
5. Ladies Pay
6. Rock and Roll Heart
7. Chooser and the Chosen One
8. Senselessly Cruel
9. Claim to Fame
10. Vicious Circle
11. A Sheltered Life
12. Temporary Thing

Disc: 9
1. Gimmie Some Good Times
2. Dirt
3. Street Hassle
4. I Wanna Be Black
5. Real Good Time Together
6. Shooting Star
7. Leave Me Alone
8. Wait

Disc: 10
1. Sweet Jane
2. I Wanna Be Black
3. Satellite of Love
4. Pale Blue Eyes
5. Berlin
6. I’m Waiting for the Man

Disc: 11
1. Coney Island Baby
2. Street Hassle
3. Walk On the Wild Side
4. Leave Me Alone

Disc: 12
1. Stupid Man
2. Disco Mystic
3. I Want to Boogie with You
4. With You
5. Looking for Love
6. City Lights
7. All Through the Night
8. Families
9. The Bells

Disc: 13
1. How Do You Speak to an Angel
2. My Old Man
3. Keep Away
4. Growing Up In Public
5. Standing On Ceremony
6. So Alone
7. Love Is Here to Stay
8. The Power of Positive Drinking
9. Smiles
10. Think It Over
11. Teach the Gifted Children

Disc: 14
1. My House
2. Women
3. Underneath the Bottle
4. The Gun
5. The Blue Mask
6. Average Guy
7. The Heroine
8. Waves of Fear
9. The Day John Kennedy Died
10. Heavenly Arms

Disc: 15
1. Legendary Hearts
2. Don’t Talk to Me About Work
3. Make Up Mind
4. Martial Law
5. The Last Shot
6. Turn Out the Light
7. Pow Wow
8. Betrayed
9. Bottoming Out
10. Home of the Brave
11. Rooftop Garden

Disc: 16
1. I Love You, Suzanne
2. Endlessly Jealous
3. My Red Joystick
4. Turn to Me
5. New Sensations
6. Doin’ the Things That We Want To
7. What Becomes a Legend Most
8. Fly Into the Sun
9. My Friend George
10. High In the City
11. The Great Defender (Down at the Arcade)

Disc: 17
1. Mistrial
2. No Money Down
3. Outside
4. Don’t Hurt a Woman
5. Video Violence
6. Spit It Out
7. The Original Wrapper
8. Mama’s Got a Lover
9. I Remember You
10. Tell It to Your Heart

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Robert Todd

The latest Rolling Stone with Springsteen on the cover has an article on this set.


Just ordered it through amazon.co.uk. Very curious. We shall see. On amazon Germany it’s not available. You can only get the MP3 download version…(??)


Does anybody know if the CD’s will be replicas of the original albums? With their respective inner sleeves and gatefold. I couldn’t find any information online. From the picture, the sleeves seem to be just simple slipcases. Like the ones from those small budget “Original Album Classics” box sets that usually come with 5 discs.


Thank you Paul!


I see. Well, that sounds ok. I have the Cash box and despite being “just” simple slipcases they did a great job with the print quality of the covers. I assume, there will be additional info regarding the albums inside the book.


I think we have to consider who the target market is. Clearly without bonus material it’s not the long-standing Reed fan who already has previous versions. This is more of a catch-all for those buying some, or all, of the titles for the first time. Those card sleeves look awfully like he cheapo cover repro’s that are used in previous sets.

£100 for 20 discs isn’t a terrible price, but as someone who owns just a handful of titles (the obvious ones), I must say this is still more than I’d be willing to pay. You can buy many of these titles very cheaply on their own, and if you do you get booklets with each individual album. I think I’d much prefer that option to fill the gaps.

Also good to see Metal Machine Music still irks some. I guess it never loses its power to offend. I have three copies of it, and yes on occasion I play it. It really is a seminal recording for the whole “Noise” genre that is around today (for example, it’s an obvious pre-cursor for much of Merzbow’s releases). I find it a fascinating release.

But New York it ain’t.


With Lou you have to read between the lines. There are 3 possible reasons Lou Reed Live was not included
1) Lou really, really, really hated the record and was very much against the release. It was RCA trying to make a quick buck after taking a bath with MMM. R&R Animal did sell well & it was back to the watering hole for RCA. Lou chose not to include it as a latent form of protest
2) There was an agreement between Lou & RCA that MMM & Live would count towards his contract and he only had to deliver one more RCA LP before moving on.
3) When the R&R Animal was mastered for LP they cut the full concert tape was cut into shreds. The stray tracks included on the R&R remaster as bonus tracks were literally spliced together and the rest was so badly damaged it could not be resurrected .
I think this is a great set & deal if you don’t already own these.
A word to the wise: IF you really like MMM find the Quad 8 Track. It’s from another dimension


Just to add to Rich’s excellent point above, the so-called negativity is a product of previous re-issues featuring extra tracks and yet this reissue removes those tracks. I think the labels need to start hiring archivists to oversee these reissues, people who would want to find everything available before beginning the remastering process. Then the labels could start putting out things that add something new and are worth the price. As it stands, the current norms make it hard to feel bad for labels and artists when folks see out ahem “alternative” methods of obtaining music.

[…] forward to the release of the 17CD Lou Reed RCA & Arista Album Collection box set which is due next month, but what wasn’t mentioned when this was announced is that there will also be a vinyl box set […]

[…] you’ve pre-ordred the forthcoming RCA and Arista Lou Reed box, here’s an opportunity to pick up The Sire Years: Complete Albums […]


Obviously the same remastering by Vlado Meller which is already available since last year on Hi-Res download sites. Dreadfully compressed and Lou Reed voice sounding unnatural. But that was Lou Reed’s last wish…


Here is the article that I enjoyed about this project:


You took the words right out of my mouth, Rich. Well said.


jeez! what is with all of the negativity in these posts? i’m excited about this box because lou himself was involved in the remasters. i’m hoping that himself knew how the albums should sound. he was always chasing the best sound quality possible while he was alive. perhaps there are no bonus tracks because perhaps he never wanted those tracks out in the first place? perhaps lou reed live and live in italy aren’t included because he didn’t have access to the masters, wasn’t happy with them, or he wasn’t involved in their production in the first place? who knows? perhaps he, quite literally, ran out of time before the project could be completed? there seems to be a lot of unnecessary speculation in the above posts. and to call lou a “legendary asshole” is simply over the top.

the box will be what it will be. don’t like it? don’t buy it. i’ve already pre-ordered, and was happy to do so.


I agree with ab, I am surprised by the negative comments. An article about Lou Reed’s efforts in carefully remastering the pre-Sire LPs was posted on the web at about the time of his death. I have been waiting ever since to hear how and when those remastered versions would become available. I have all of Lou Reed’s LPs and CDs and all versions that I have been aware of. But now I get to hear them as he thought they should sound, near the end of his life. I am really excited about being able to get this set, and connecting with his choices for the sound, regardless whether they are all my favorite version. Come on, October! Currently $103.00 US at Amazon!


Ab and Ken, it’s not negativity. People unaware of the facts are perhaps being misinformed and are not actually going to get quite what they are being promised. The words that accompany this collection are “This autumn, Sony’s Legacy Recordings will issue The RCA & Arista Album Collection, a Lou Reed 17CD box set that features all his solo albums of the 1970s and early eighties remastered under the “direct personal supervision” of the American rock musician shortly before his death – his last project.”

The phrase “all his solo albums of the 1970’s and early eighties” is clearly not the case when 2 albums are missing. To point this out in a discussion among fans on a specific website dedicated to the discussion of re-issues etc isn’t negativity. It’s called discussion. If you wish to call out anything critical and just go with the corporate line, that is also fine. I doubt Lou personally remastered them in any event. He may have signed them off, but it is possibly of dubious merit to have someone with years of live hearing damage actively remastering anything as their ears most likely have lots of damaged frequencies are were probably not the best judge. With Lou coming from the Velvets feedback and a long touring career until his death, he is likely to have had quite damaged hearing by the end. People with damage tend to boost the frequencies that are damaged in order to hear “normally” which of course would skew the sound for someone with flat undamaged hearing. This re-issue smacks of carelessness or an attempt to withhold an official release, possibly as the artist themselves didn’t like it. One wonders why Neil Young has re released every album except Time Fades Away. Maybe his prerogative, but hardly fan friendly.

Just sayin'

I’m not sure why so many people are puzzled and upset by the “used to be there/now they’re not” bonus track thing. All of the majors have been pulling that little stunt with tons of people for years now.

And as one person pointed out to one of the people who whined about it – some of you really need to learn the difference between RCA/Arista and WB/Sire when it comes to “omissions”.


Doesn’t sound like Laurie knows his catalogue that well. If you’re going to kiss Sony’s ass then you should be sure they’re doing right by him.


This set seems like a missed opportunity. Booklet will be nice.

Lou Reed (1972)
Transformer (1972)
Berlin (1973)
Rock ‘N’ Roll Animal (1974) + Lou Reed Live (1975) [Full Concert]

… all need to be part of the Lou Reed Remastered Deluxe Edition series featuring rare bonus tracks including the original “Berlin Outro” (1:26) !


Its a bullshit cashgrab made lazily to steal your money. So its a great honor to a legendary asshole like Lou Reed.

Kris. Perth Australia

Any chance that Berlin could be re-released with the full length tracks?
From what I have read numerous times RCA were not happy with the initial length of the tapes presented to them by Bob Ezrin (producer)/Lou Reed which would have made the album a double album, and had the tracks edited to the times/length of the tracks as we know them today. If any album of Lou’s albums are crying out for an extended version it is Berlin…fingers crossed down the track.
Also Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal (with the bonus tracks) & Lou Reed Live combined and the songs put in the correct order of the concert would be very welcome…more so than a box set of albums that add little to Lou’s legacy in that no bonus tracks/outtakes are included, and both Lou Reed Live & Live In Italy are omitted. Seems like a wasted opportunity to ‘re-enjoy’ (is that a word?) Lou’s legacy!


Have to admit, from a selfish point of view I’m quite pleased there are no extras on this. I gave all the albums in various editions and the last thing I need are bonus tracks tempting me into buying another box set.

Simon F

I say well done for including Metal Machine Music, and Take No Prisoners is, due to Reed’s on- stage banter one of the funniest live albums ever released!


With more than 200 VU/Lou Reed records in my shelf I was never asking for superb sound. I bought the VU boxes because of the outtakes and the really nice outfit when they become really cheap. I never needed a remaster of Sister Ray or Venus in Furs. A remaster of Metal Maschine Music sounds like a joke to me. So we will see how cheap this box will become or how good the book will be. Perhaps someone will report here?

Paul W

I would have ordered it but not complete box set we do need new york and a couple more then we have a complete box set


Another record label(s) cock up it seems from the hard core fans reactions above but this is the norm so we should not be surprised.

I`m not a big fan of `ole grumpy` and although I`m a sucker for these box`s I`ll stick with my Original Album Series box’s and copy of `New York`.

Randy Metro

Me, too. I love Lou but I have the “Deluxey” looking Metal Machine Music CD and all the “Original Albums Series” sets, with bonus tracks. This is great for beginners if they want to dive in head first. And as always… I am thinking about the younger generations discovering the music we’ve loved for decades.

Steve P

This is a very wasted opportunity. Every album has outtakes that would be worthy of release, the reissues of Sally Can’t Dance and Coney Island Baby proved that. Surely it’s not too late for Sony to rethink this a bit. It’s not due out until autumn so re-jig it make it even better, something for Lou’s long time loyal fans that will appreciate the reamsters but would love to hear more unreleased gems like ‘Good Taste’ (Sally Can’t Dance 2006 reissue) and ‘Downtown Dirt’ (Coney Island Baby 2006 reissue) etc. Keeping the original albums intact is fine, but include a disc or two of unreleased tracks and rarities. Take a lesson from the David Bowie ‘Five Years’ box, which even though it omitted a few things that had been out on the Ryko issues, really catered to fans with a double disc of extras. Lou Reed Live and Live In Italy should also be included! Come on Sony and Laurie, do something for the people that will really appreciate this.

Charles Hodgson

Worried about the remastering too, have only heard bad things ABOUT the HD Tracks versions (though admittedly not having actually heard them). I will be waiting for SQ reports before buying this – it’s an expensive outlay for a potential dud. Hopefully HD Tracks over-compressed the masters themselves, rather than Lou.

Also, the missing albums/bonus tracks is infuriating. But I suppose separate ‘Deluxe” editions will be forthcoming for key selected works; Transfirmer, Berlin, Street Hassle, Blue Mask – or even rarities/unreleased boxes – down the line.

If thet’ve managed to make this a worse option than the pre-existing ‘Original Albums’ multi-cd sets that will be some kind of achievement even by major label standards.

I’d live to just accept what Laurie Anderson is saying about the excellence of this set at face value. But I just cannot.

eric slangen

If the sound quality has improved I will buy it.


and Ecstasy ,,,C’mon

Steve P

Ecstasy is ALSO in the Sire box. Maybe get to know the Lou catalogue a little better…?

mitchell feldstein

i think by the time the sire records came out lou had his sound down!
not sure they need remastering,


Where is NEW YORK ?…REALLY ?


In the Complete Sire box, since it was his first album for Sire.


I think the large 80 page book commemorating Reed, new remasters that were heavily influenced by Reed and a lovely box set that encompasses so much of his life’s work makes this an essential purchase.
Unfortunate no bonus tracks or an odds and ends compilation but personally there something satisfying to me about sets that seem to focus on the album.


Meh, I have all the Japanese mini LPs which are all lovely and sound fine to me but suppose it’s good for those who want the whole collection, I think some of the early 80s one were out of print or hard to get?
Would love to see NY through to Ecstacy getting the Japanese treatment or deluxe version though


Excellent and it’ll probably drop in price by the release date

Wayne Klein

I already have th Anesini remasters and the rest of those little boxed sets so I’m good. Very little in the way of goodies here to capture my interest.

mitchell feldstein

i think the goodies in this case is the remastering done with lou on board no?


So, no extra material on the boxset, not even already available tracks like:
. ‘Transformer’ (couple of acoustic demos from the 2002 CD reissue)
. ‘Sally can’t Dance’ (single b-side and edit that came with the 2001 CD reissue)
. ‘Coney Island baby’ (six bonus tracks on the expanded edition from the 2006 CD reissue)
(and a mystery of course the missing tracks from the 1973 concert released in ‘Lou Reed Live’)


Yes! Why aren’t those extra tracks included? I love those on the reissue of Coney Island Baby.


Rich, I’m guessing that since Live In Italy was originally only an import for the UK, Germany and Japan markets, that might explain why it isn’t included. Yet, if you think back to the Japanese mini LPs which were issued in 2006 Live In Italy was included, so we’re back to who knows why it isn’t being released. I can only come up with a semi-logical reason why they’ve elected to ignore Lou Reed Live: perhaps because they reissued it in 2003 as part of a program called Extended Versions they’ve forgotten it actually came out in 1975. Why they put it in the Extended Versions series is mystifying because the running times never changed between this 2003 reissue and the original 1975 pressing. As we’ve come to learn, record companies rarely need an excuse to foul things up!

Billy Dojcak

A first timer looking at a cd from the Extended Versions may be confused. Finally those long lost 12″ mixes? No, a live album of dubious quality.


If the mastering here is the same as the ones that showed up on the Hi-Res download sites last year, then I pass. The three I bought (and from what I’ve read, ALL the others as well) were super compressed/squashed/loudness-war masterings with DR’s in the single digits.

Doug Bailey

_Transformer_ and _Metal Machine Music_ are the only two I really want, so I may wait until these are released individually. Though US$90-odd for 18 CDs isn’t a bad deal…

Billy Dojcak

Found this at the bargain price of $133 us. What happened to $90 us?

David C Thompson

Down to $102 and some change.


I just finally picked up the box of the Sire albums and was trying to figure out where to start for his pre-Sire material (I never heard of Lou Reed until “Dirty Avenue” was playing on MTV–don’t get too furious, I was 12). I think the answer has become obvious now.

Andrew R

Less furious, more envious – there’s some great stuff to discover (Transformer being a particular highlight).


Strangely this set omits “Lou Reed Live”, the companion album to “Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal” (which IS included), basically the other half of the same concert. The album was released in 1975, so should be there. Also where is “Live In Italy” from the 1983 “Legendary Hearts” tour released in 1984 between “Legendary Hearts” and “New Sensations”. To says it’s Lou’s final project and a gathering of his RCA and Arista (and back to RCA) work, why miss out two live albums, especially as this set DOES include 2 other live albums? Not complete and inexplicable really. They have included the “play it once at your peril “Metal Machine Music””, but why miss those other very listenable live albums?

Kevin Farrow

Also missing the extra tracks from the re-released Transfirmer & Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal CD’s – Hangin’ ’round & Perfect Day acoustic versions and how do you think it feels & Caroline Says I


Yeesh…how do you mess this up? If anything there should have been a complete Rock n’ Roll Animal/Lou Reed Live set with original running order released by now.


I think the reason R&R animal and LRL haven’t been released together yet is the that the left and right channels are reversed on the two albums. Seems like someone could figure that out though!