Lou Reed / The Sire Years: Complete Albums box / 10CD set


Rhino are to release a new Lou Reed CD box set that collects the eight albums released on the Sire label during a period that spanning almost a quarter of a century.

The Sire Years: Complete Albums box kicks off with 1989’s spectacular New York album, and the rather underrated follow-up Magic and Loss. Sandwiched in between is Songs For Drella, Reed’s collaboration with Velvet Underground mucker John Cale.

That trio is the rock solid foundation for a set which also includes the last two ‘proper’ studio outings (Set the Twilight Reeling and Ecstasy) but also takes in Perfect Night in London – Reed’s acoustic live album recorded during the Meltdown ’97 festival – and the two-disc version of The Raven. Another live album, Animal Serenade (also double disc) completes the box set.

The Sire Years: Complete Albums is packaged in a clamshell box and is good value at under £3 per disc. No remastering for this set – it uses the most recent masterings available and no bonus tracks.

If you are looking to explore Reed’s solo work of this era, but aren’t interested in live material (and can live without The Raven) then the five-CD Original Album Series set highlighted here might be a better option. And it’s about 50 percent cheaper in terms of per-disc price. The packaging will be inferior though.

The Sire Years: Complete Albums is released on 30 October 2015.



Albums in the box:

  1. New York
  2. Songs For Drella
  3. Magic and Loss
  4. Set The Twilight Reeling
  5. Perfect Night In London
  6. Ecstasy
  7. The Raven (2CD)
  8. Animal Serenade (2CD)

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Andrew Greenwood

“Like a Possum” is one of my favorite Lou songs, probably because it just goes on and on.
I struggled to get New Sensations a few years ago and eventually got one from Japan. it is now in a “Classics” box with the second half of the RCA years.
In theory, no Album released after 1997 should need a remaster as everyone knew how to do it by then. This post dates New York and the early 90’s albums but I have only ever had them on CD and they have always sounded great to me. I would like a complete remastered tidy up of the RCA years, but won’t be bothering with the Sire reissue.
I stopped buying Lou on vinyl after Growing up in Public and restarted on CD at New York. I filled in the gaps and replaced all of the vinyl with CD over the last ten years.
Amazon is full of semi-official radio concerts now but it’s terribly sad that there will be nothing new.


I’m moderately disappointed that there’s no remastering on these albums, but I’ve got to second the views above that most of these albums really don’t NEED it!

Ultimately, the remastering would have given me a better excuse than “it looks better on my shelf than my ‘Original Album Classics’ set” to pick up the newer box.

However, for anyone who doesn’t own these albums, just click that “Order” button. This is essential rock and roll. Honorable mention for New York, Magic & Loss AND Ecstasy. Seriously, that last one was the first “new” Reed album that came out after I got into his stuff and it’s well worth a listen – though you can probably give “Like a Possum” a pass. “Big Sky” is one of my favorite Reed songs and definitely deserves to be more well known.

And, lest we forget, the two disc version of The Raven is well worth at least one pass. It’s challenging, it’s ambitious, and it’s a long damn album, but it’s a cool piece of work. Kind of sums up all the best aspects of Lou as far as I’m concerned.

Oh, and thanks to JoseyWales for the tip to find the earlier albums remastered in download form. I had wondered what ever became of those new masters. Reed himself sounded pretty stoked to get them out in the last interviews I’d read.


Lou Reed had Vlado Meller remaster all his albums from ‘Lou Reed’ to ‘Mistrial’ and all were released this year on streaming and download sites. Particularly interesting are the hi-res versions on HDTracks. They sound certainly “different” from the original release to say the least.
The Sire catalog has not been remastered but is also available as hi-res downloads.


None of these albums need remastering. The quality and clarity of the sound, particularly on New York, just cannot be improved upon.

Al Rearick

One of the coolest compliments I got from my dad happened the day I bought New York and played Romeo Had Juliet, dad walked by my room, stopped for a second and said, “I thought that was you singing.”

Charles Hodgson

[Simon: @Charles Seriously, I have the originals and no remastering required on these perfectly produced gems. They still sound fantastic now.]
Got New York on vinyl only. ‘Drella’ does sound fine, you’re right. Better they leave it alone rather than screw it up.
Didn’t Lou remaster all his records himself shortly before his death though? And aren’t they the versions up at HD Tracks and Pono?
Never picked up ‘Magic & Loss’ for some reason. Prob because I saw the tour at the time, and remember laughing at how depressing some of the lyrics were! He’d doubtless have had me ejected if he’d noticed. (He had a policy at that gig of not allowing people to enter or exit the auditorium during songs. And John Cale banned smoking at his shows before the smoking ban was law.)

That, Mistrial & New Sensations are the only Lou albums I’m missing, but I’m definitely going to check it out properly after hearing the love on this thread.

Edward Bates

Along with “Berlin”, which just edges it, “Magic and Loss” is one of Lou’s best albums. Criminally ignored over “Transformer” due to it’s, frankly, depressing lyrics. But as it’s about loss, they couldn’t be jolly, although some of the music is. “Magician” is also one of the best tracks he ever recorded.


Wow – I have the between thought and expression set – look at that Amazon price now

Charles Hodgson

Can’t understand going to all this trouble and NOT remastering. Does this mean “New York”, “Magic & Loss” and “Drella” are all EXACTLY THE SAME as 20+ years old original CD versions?

I know there are always moans from some quarters whenever a remaster is released (Steve Hoffman Forums et al) but to not even bother – with those older titles particularly – seems weird.


@Charles Seriously, I have the originals and no remastering required on these perfectly produced gems. They still sound fantastic now.


No Lulu, no sale!


It’s a mere £3 on Amazon at the moment so all those who want can snap it up for an absolute snip…


I agree his output during this period is under-rated. When New York came out it immediately became my favorite album of the year.
Paul- that Lou Reed box is one of my favorites. That box got mixed reviews but I think any box set of Lou Reed is gonna garner mixed reviews. I didnt realize it was out of print because I see that often in used cd stores for under $20.


I totally agree with you on “Magic And Loss”, Paul.

I’ll be buying this set, actually I only have “New York”, “Magic And Loss” and “Animal Serenade”, so it will be worthy.


No record collection is complete without New York.

Mark Lavallee

In August there was mention of an RCA/Arista Albums collection but nothing more has come of it.

There’s an Amazon link but no info given…


David Olstein

Kinda lame that there’s no remastering. Didn’t Lou oversee the remastering of his entire solo catalog before his death, or was it just the RCA albums?


I played it all the time when it came out but I haven’t heard it in years. It’s maybe time to give it a spin.


Magic & Loss came out the same time as Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes, and made early 1992 a great period for music. The trio of New York, Drella and Magic & Loss was a real highpoint of Lou’s career, in my view.


This is a great looking set. And if I hadn’t bought the albums I didn’t already have just a few months ago I’d be ordering it.

‘What’s Good’ from Magic and Loss was released as a 12″ single and featured live spoken word versions of ‘A Dream’ from Songs For Drella and ‘Harry’s Circumcision’. So, yeah, it’s a disgrace they’re not in the set! :)


Hopefully this might lead to a second series of Japanese mini Lp reissues since the last batch only went up to Mistrial and would love them to do this bunch of albums to complete the set.
I’m amazed nothing more significant has been done with Lou’s back catalogues since his passing.


I spent a bit of time recently trying to track down Set The Twilight Reeling and finally did. I was hoping they would release a set like this but was hoping for a remastering of the albums. I’ll pass on this one as I prefer my proper releases but I can’t recommend this set more to those still trying to find some of these. His work during this period is seriously underrated and even without the remastering they all sound great. For the price its a steal. Too bad they don’t include the 12″ dance mixes of several of the songs used as singles from these releases though. Totally kidding with that last sentence.


The five-CD Original Album Series set is on Amazon Uk at the moment for £7.97. By far a better buy

Simon F

Is there a box set covering Reed’s RCA years?