Michael Mertens of Propaganda calls the Secret Wish reissue ‘pathetic’

Propaganda photographed in 1985 by Peter Brown. Michael Mertens is on the far left

Michael Mertens, who was in the band and composed or co-composed most of the music on Propaganda‘s 1985 album A Secret Wish, has been quick to come out and call the forthcoming reissue ‘pathetic and beyond ridicule’ and has apologised to fans of Propaganda.

In a message on SuperDeluxeEdition’s Facebook page the musician adds that the words in the press release (repeated on SDE) about Propaganda performing live are a ‘lie’ since he has not ‘been contacted about such an endeavour’.

Below is the full (uncorrected) text of Michael Mertens’ statement, left this morning.

“I am very sorry to be forced to be part of this. For me as an artist it is pathetic and beyond ridicule to see the remains of an industry, namely the music industry, repackage and remarket this over 30 year old recording over and over again. I am not behind this and I apologize to the fans of Propaganda! This is soulless, shallow, unartistic and respectless behavior. To top this, it is garnished with the right out lie, as the above message implies Propaganda as a band would perform the album live in march in London. That is not true. For my part, I can state, that I neither have been contaced about such an endeavor nor do I know, who would assume he or she could authorize such.” – Michael Mertens, 30 November 2017

The comment, as left on Facebook. Click image to enlarge

SDE asked BMG to comment. The label came back with the following:

“This Art Of The Album reissue of Propaganda’s ‘A Secret Wish’ has been put together with new sleevenotes telling the story of this unique record via new interviews conducted with the producer Stephen Lipson and former band members Claudia Brücken and Ralf Dörper. In the run up to announcement it came to light that Propaganda band members Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freytag would be performing the music of A Secret Wish together as xPropaganda at selected live dates in 2018, the first to be announced being the London show on 24thMarch 2018. We decided to share this information in our announcement as it is obviously of huge interest to fans of the record, whether they intend to purchase this version of the album or not.” – BMG, 30 November 2017

One thing SDE should stress is that the live band are, it seems, ‘xPropaganda’ not ‘Propaganda’. This has been corrected on the previous post. At this point we don’t know who the musicians are that will join Claudia and Susanne on stage.

What do you make of Michael’s comments? Is he right to criticise the record label? A Secret Wish was reissued as a two-CD deluxe set back in 2010 (with loads of bonus audio) and its companion remix album Wishful Thinking was reissued in 2012. These were both put out by Union Square who are now part of BMG after a takeover a few years back. Leave your own comments with your thoughts.

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He’s most definitely right! Why should a CD with no bonus tracks be released after a real deluxe 2CD edition is already available? Thanks, but no, thanks.


I don’t think this release is targeted only to completist collectors buying the same album over and over again. There are still people who discover them only now, like Michael above.

And it is perfectly normal to re-release a work if the last release is out of print, or to have different versions of a work, as long as there is a demand. Classic works of music and literature have been re-issued for centuries, so what’s the problem.

@Ralf: “No way back”… while we’re at it :-) the lyrics also say: “He is buying them all with cash” and (!) “Sell him your soul”. So, Dr. Mabuse is really a metaphor for the music industry? Never looked at the song that way…


I wonder if ZTT completists ever wish that they had never started.


I wish they’d include the band’s original demos before they received the Trevor Horn treatment, which were very different (presumably as different as Frankie demos were originally.)


Already preordered the new CD edition, even though I already have no less than 3 previous editions! It is one of my favourite albums ever.
Considering what has been said, probably the most justifiable re-edition would have been a super deluxe with:
The vinyl as original;
The original CD remastered, plus a CD of bonus (basically the 2-CD set previously available);
A 5.1 mix of the original album;
Plus live audio/video material of the original tour. (There are quite decent recordings available)

On the other hand, I find interesting the idea of new live concerts of the album, even though 30 years have passed so it is not without its risks. In many ways it reminds me of the Drama album by Yes, a distant elder cousin of ASW; music which is so energetic that only with the addition of younger blood to the band has been possible to bring it back to life convincingly (check Topographic Drama for that matter). 30 years is a hell of a longtime!

Colin Harper

I agree with those above who have said, in essence, that if you sign a contract with someone about the monetising of your art (and take their financial advance, as was the case in days of yore), that’s the root of your problem right there – from day one. If that third-party continues to market that art within the timescale allowed the contract, while you, the ‘artist’, have moved on or would rather that work stopped being available, then too bad – you signed the contract, the commercial terms were all there.

As someone who has worked on annotating numerous reissues and archive projects, from c.1992 to the present, I’ve been on the receiving end of bile from a few 60s musicians who simply don’t get that, however unfair or otherwise, the contracts they signed in the 60s have allowed their work to be reissued and repackaged again and again. Most vintage artists are happy that people are still interested in their recordings, some might feel they are juvenilia or might feel rueful about the deals they signed but are basically happy to give an interview and help to get the best out of the inevitability of yet another reissue (and often get here-and-now publicity for their current activities out of it); the odd one is thrashing about still looking for the ‘bad guy’, and once or twice the guy writing the notes becomes that guy, or a proxy for him – however much one may be approaching the job from a position of being an admirer of the artist.
Mertens is just making himself look po-faced.

Kevin M

You mention monetising, reissuing etc. Nothing wrong with those. Or remastering, regardless of who does or doesn’t like the resulting sound. But a piece of paper…. ? When I watched the FGTH vinyl unpacking, I was waiting for the punchline, but no joke… a piece of paper.

As someone above wrote, when people buy stuff on that level of piss-taking, is it any wonder the rarities vaults of artists like Abba and Bowie remain virtually unmined. Or any wonder that tape faults and errors within the MUSIC are not noticed or cared about. Why bother with any of that when some words on a bit of paper will sell a thing…

Colin Harper

I certainly agree, Kev, that if a repackaging (especially a heavily publicised one like this ‘art of the album’ series appears to be) is basically offering very, very little in terms of ‘added value’ then it looks, in this day and age – when we’re used to having a lot of value added in terms of written, visual or audio content – as if the fan is being milked.

The usual statement, of course, applies: nobody is being forced to buy the stuff. And with communications technology and sites like Paul’s, people can very quickly get an idea of what the audio and extra content is like (and prices from loads of retail sites!) – and make a decision based on that.

I assume this ‘art of the album’ series is about presenting the audio content as-was, with no extra audio – which is a solid enough idea. But one would imagine then the added value and ‘the case’ for the item in question being a great example of the ‘art’ falls to the enhanced packaging and written/visual content. And the mastering, assuming it’s new.

When the ‘Slade Alive!’ ‘art of the album’ edition came out, it looked nice. But I dug out my 1980s vinyl reissue of the album, played it a few times, thoroughly enjoyed it, and felt no need to buy another version. Maybe that should be an option for people fed up with re-re-re-reissues of fave albums. Just stick with the ones you have.

Robert Lett

If there is nothing unique or different (track/audio wise not packaging) from the prior reissue, no point to me. What is wrong with these record companies?


Long overdue:
– The Art Of The 12″ Volume 4
– The Art Of The 12″ Volume 5
– FGTH’s SexMix Volume 2
– FGTH’s SexMix Volume 3 (the demos)
– FGTH’s SexMix Volume 4 (the 90’s mixes)
– FGTH’s SexMix Volume 5 (the 00’s mixes)
– FGTH’s Live Anthology box set
– 808 State’s Outpost Transmission, incl Archives vol. 5
– Art Of Noise’s Reduction, Expanded Edition
– Shades Of Rhythm’s Anthology
– Seal’s 1st album, Deluxe Edition
– Seal’s 2nd album, Deluxe Edition
– Seal’s Human Being, Deluxe Edition
– Seal’s IV, Deluxe Edition
– Grace Jones’ Slave To The Rhythm, Deluxe Edition
– Instinct: A Compact Introduction
– Insignificance OST, Expanded Edition
– Toys OST, Expended Edition
– Nasty Rox Inc’s Cash, Deluxe Edition

– The Art Of The Album series

Jason Schafer

Oh God I’ve been waiting for those Seal albums forever! Now he’s singing songbook dreck like some second rate Rod Stewart! Especially the first two need a remastered reissue…Good call!


This is a comment to Paul regarding this reissue.

As a mostly vinyl record buyer I may pick this up specifically for the liner notes as I have owned the original ZTT LP for years. If there’s any chance of a version of an unboxing video to show what vinyl fans will be getting for the money I would appreciate it, as sometimes additional sleeve notes can be hopeless or inadequate, and definitely not worth it. If the notes add greatly to the profundity of the work that would be a good reason to get it again. Thanks.


In this special case i would like Pauls listening experience more that an unboxing video. As i own ASW also about three times now (original vinyl, original CD and 2CD-version on Salvo) plus two versions of Wishful Thinking plus Noise And Girls Come Out To Play plus the 2CD-Collection on Metro plus about half a dozen samplers with ZTT-Artists (yes, i really like ZTT-recordings) this Art Of The Album – edition will only be of interest to me, if there will be an improvement to the sound of it.

Ralf Dörper

To Widnesian:

A few years ago Ian Peel conducted lengthy interviews with the people involved for the inclusion in the 30-year anniversary release. If there was no censorship I can guarantee plenty of insights into the P-machinery….


Albums have been reissued for years! Perry Como and Bing Crosby come to mind … they released 10″ records initially then when full length LP records came in Vogue, the labels reissued the same tracks again. Of course, usually adding additional tracks. The same artist had several of their Christmas LPs issued issued over and over again. Many times with tracks being removed!

I see David Bowie re-releases on this sight almost every other week. I don’t see much complaining on those post. If you don’t want the product, don’t buy it. It’s that simple.


If only someone in ELO had taken a stance about that atrocious picture disc of theirs I stupidly bought!

Robert Morgenstern

Hello Paul, i have the deluxe edition and was shocked as i checked the price for this at Amazon.de. But your link was to a third Party seller. The set is 8,99 directly from Amazon.


Oh yes xKraftwerk with Florian, Karl and Wolfgang would be great – would love to see the face of Ralf then he he he…


Enough of reissuing A Secret Wish and get Grace Jones’s ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ album out in a deluxe edition!!!!! How much longer do we have to bloody wait???!!!

Daniel ( from Berlin )

that’s right!
there must be tons of alternate versions from this “slave to the rhythm” album experience.


But Ralf you were happy / prepared to go on stage and contribute to the Propaganda songs Claudia performed as part of her special Scala tour show in London that appears on DVD. Is it just the touring name issue that you are unhappy about, or that you have not been asked to join them this time?

Ralf Dörper

This “name” is cheap and misleading and in fact misuse of a brand. However it appears to be a promoter´s dream as it is the easy option to fill venues by promising things which cannot be fulfilled. And by the way Propaganda was never about joining the flock, i.e. RETROISM. Just check Dr. Mabuse “Kein zurück für dich” resp. “never look back”.

Kevin M

Ralf Dörper: Just check Dr. Mabuse “Kein zurück für dich” resp. “never look back”…

Or, look back in anger, to quote another top song.. (Bowie).


Daniel ( from Berlin )

any chance that you’ll release the early demo’s of “diziplin” someday in a good quality?
i think that no major label would release the versions
with lyrics such “gehorsam” and “hart wie krupp-stahl” in germany in these days of political stagnation. i know whereof I speak.
my photographic works are since 1993 in a “sepia-Riefenstahl-style”
and sometimes it’s hard to release such works in books in germany…


Wonder what he wil do with the royalty checks from the sales?

Kevin M

Probably buy a multipack of biscuits. It isn’t Taylor Swift.

Kevin M

This “Art of the Album” nonsense does seem really ridiculous to me. And an utterly cringe inducing series title. It’s like something for toddlers… the Ladybird Book of the Album. I watched the SDE video of the FGTH one being handled, and it was IIRC just a bit of paper as the extra?

Whatever, respect to this man for speaking out about the use of his music. With Henry Rollins being human enough to publicly criticise the recent Bowie A New Career in a New Town shambles of a release, let’s hope people like them don’t remain alone, and help put a stop to the increasing number of cringe-inducing (to put it mildly), buyer-taken-for-granted reissues.


I have the 10th anniversary UK CD which is a hybrid of the original LP and CD versions.

Mertens fell out with Propaganda in the 80s. That’s why they split. Mertens wrote the songs but Claudia, along with Morley felt, she should get a bigger share. It all comes down to money and royalties in the end.

I made the following notes about A Secret Wish CD editions:

1.The original LP version was released on CD in the US in the 80’s and in the UK in 1998. So I guess this is also known as the “us version” to some. Probably this is the “purest” version of the album. Dr Mabuse is the 1st life mix.

2.The original UK and German CD is different to the above LP mix. Dream Within A Dream is Longer. Jewel is longer (the cut rough mix). Duel has been remixed. P machinery is the single mix not album mix. Dr Mabuse is the testament mix with strength to dream tacked on at the end. Dr Mabuse is also the last track rather than third from last.

3.In 1994 the CD was reissued in the UK for the 10th anniversary. I have this CD too so it must be common. This seems to be identical to the LP mix but with the rough cut of Jewel (as on the CD version) instead of the normal LP mix.

4.The Japanese CD is essentially the LP version with bonus tracks at the end including femme fatale.

5.There is an unconfirmed Japan release that seems to follow the CD version.

6. 2 CD remaster

7. This edition

Regarding the differences between the CD and LP mixes, from Ian Peel:
“‘Duel’ and ‘p:Machinery’ differed on the analogue and digital editions too. But only for those with an eye for the finer detail… They’re not different versions, or different recordings. They are the same length, but they’re different mixes. Some elements come to the fore in one mix that are hidden in the other. And vice versa. On ‘Duel’ the differences are most noticeable on the stereo mix on the percussion and the reverb on the vocals. On ‘p:Machinery’ you’ll hear a clap of thunder after the line “another truth, installed by the machine” at around the 1:16 mark* on the digital version. But its not there on the analogue version.”


To my taste the ‘Music on Vinyl’ 2013 release of ‘A Secret Wish’ on vinyl sounded horrible. Flat without any crisp airiness in the high frequency ranges. I for one am looking forward to this remastered edition on Vinyl.

Friso Pas

I have an original vinyl pressing from 1985, the first european CD version as well, also the SACD and the 2CD reissue from 2010 and numerous 12″ singles.
If reports of excellent mastering were to come in, I would probably buy it…again.


Artists frequently don’t take into account long-term considerations when they sign a contract (Prince is a prime example), and I can understand why they get really upset when they find out later on just what kinds of control they have given over to a corporation. At the same time, it’s so important to get that signing that almost anyone would put their name on the line, typically without the resources to hire an entertainment lawyer of their own to look the contract over. I can understand the anger that comes up when you realize you’ve been taken advantage of, but publicly spouting off on it doesn’t accomplish anything. Lawyers do (sometimes).

As far as whether companies should be putting out so many reissues–I think bad reissues will sit on shelves and fester. Just because we collect music doesn’t mean we’re idiots. No matter how much I love an artists, if I already have a well-mastered version of an album and a new edition is released that offers no additional material, then I’m not going to buy it. If I do buy it, then I’m not being “victimized” by a corporation. I’m making a decision about what to do with my own money. And the artist gets whatever royalty they are (hopefully) entitled to under the terms of their contract.

Yes unfortunately, it is difficult to break a binding contract, but there is precedence for forcing renegotiation when a court declares an agreement to be grossly unjust.

As for the band reforming without him, that must be painful. But it’s not like it’s a new issue. Bands do this constantly. Sometimes, again, there are lawsuits about who has the rights to perform with the name attached to them: the Beach Boys, the Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac, and Hole all immediately come to mind, but there are plenty of other situations where the question of who “makes the band the band” comes into question. I imagine a large part of his anger comes from being left out of a “reunion” of a band that he was an integral part of, and the fact that he likely doesn’t have a foot to stand on in terms of challenging them in court because they are going by “xPropaganda” likely adds to it. I can completely understand why someone would be infuriated by this kind of treatment. At the same time, what good, once again, does a public rage-fest accomplish, other than to increase hard feelings and lessen the likelihood that an amicable agreement is ever possible? The phone does go both ways. If he wanted to be part of the show, he could just as easily called their management or one of the other members himself and said, “I feel upset about being left out of this, but I’d be willing to play it if you’ll have me.”


I’m not going to buy every new edition of my favorite novels either, even if they have a new cover or introduction, but I don’t mind seeing them in the bookstore. Just stop being a completist and you’ll be free.


Now that about sums it up :-)


I just got into Propaganda last year, and I love them. That 2 cd Salvo set of ASW is fantastic. The expanded Wishful Thinking is great, too. I don’t have Outside World currently, but have heard it, and that is just even more old 12″ mixes from ASW. They are all great. The album is amazing. I don’t see anything wrong with getting the basic tracklist edition back in print, and I’m excited to have it on a vinyl edition. The cd price point will be strange, as it is more expensive than the 2cd expanded edition right now.

I also got the 1,2,3,4 cd and the cd singles from that, used of course, this year, and like those as well… where Mertens was then the only original member still in the group. That music should be brought back into print, as well, I think.

I don’t really see anything that warrants much negativity here, except perhaps Mertens’ own feelings about “xPropaganda” being a thing, but I have no interest in engaging their personal intra-band politics, as a fan. I love much of Claudia’s other music now, too, and really I think it is great that this single album still gets traction.

I will buy the vinyl. I might get the cd anyhow, for the booklet mainly, since it isn’t too pricey. Anyhow, it’s not like there is some other new Propaganda album they are holding back now in the interest of re-hashing the back catalogue. The back catalogue is all we have.


Susanne Freytag appears on a couple of tracks as well.

martin farnworth

i would be slightly annoyed if there were just a couple of unreleased tracks that may tempt me to buy it but no one is forcing me. new packaging/ linear notes are welcome but always secondary- rather pointless if this is the only “new” angle given to “tempt” fans. it’s fair comment for mertens to describe this as pathetic given the multitude of propaganda re releases/re packaging over the years drawn essentially just one album proper. most likely an unessential release.

i would like to hear the remastering but i suspect there’s little difference to previous releases as it sounds well produced and polished with previous releases.

a reissue of 1234 however would be more worthwhile- with unreleased stuff between Secret Wish and that album if any exists.

Derek Langsford

There is some material that was recorded between ASW and 1234 as the result of a reunion in 1998 and had Claudia on lead vocals but officially the reunion was not successful and nothing was officially released, though 9 tracks were leaked and are available via illegal download. Some songs ended up being released on the OneTwo EP and album but the Propaganda material was very disappointing compared to ASW or even 1234. Very soft pop.

martin farnworth

thanks for the info. good i suppose they didn’t release it- it leaves the legacy pretty much untarnished -that’s if you think 1234 is a strong record. I still see it as superior pop music but what you’d call a classic.

martin farnworth

should say NOT what you’d call a classic unlike ASW


I’m thankful 11 year old me had good (peers said weird) taste in music and the sense to look after and keep all his vinyl. I played my original vinyl of this after today’s earlier announcement and enjoyed the uncompressed sound. I won’t be purchasing any of the re-issues as I have no need to but they may serve a purpose to some

Le Baron

I hope Marillion’s Ian Mosley will join the ‘band’ on stage !


Propaganda’s early demos included a version of Throbbing Gristle’s “Discipline”.

Throbbing Gristle came to a halt as “X-TG”, a project featuring three members of Throbbing Gristle, openly denounced by the fourth.

A curious cycle.

Ralf Dörper

Caroline, funny that you say that. However as it was not Genesis who went on as xTG but the others including musical main man Chris Carter the comparison is a bit weak (regarding CC I trust my ear and Cosey’ s biography).
If there would be a gig by xP, the Propagandistas or the xP-Machine I would not mind – neither would Michael imo.
What would Ralf Hütter have done if Karl and Wolfgang would have done a xKraftwerk after “Electric Café”.
Food for thought…

Oh. And “Disziplin” was not a demo as such but nearly released by “Operation Twilight” back in 1982.


Ralf – Thanks for the clarification re. “Disziplin”.

I wasn’t making a musical comparison, rather the choice of name struck me as familiar and ironic.

I still love “A Secret Wish” but will be sticking with the 2CD edition.

Kevin M

Propaganda fans should maybe take this guy’s advice and not buy, and maybe take my advice too: use the money to buy some Throbbing Gristle instead. There’s recently been some great reissues of rare and / or valuable albums.


I wouldn’t have expected the audience for Propaganda and TG to overlap very much, but here you and I and Caroline are.

Kevin M

You have to be in the mood for TG for sure, but I like them a lot when I am. Although Propaganda were strong on melody, I can see them alongside, it’s a bit like one of my favourite “groups” Cluster, who went from the most heart-breakingly beautiful and / or strong electronic or acoustic melodies, hypnotic, structured rhythms, to industrial, abstract, atonal, sometime mayhem, like a bombs dropping out of your speakers, and back and forth throughout their career. But there’s a common strength in it all, not sure what I’m on about really. But what do I know, I have Carpenters filed near John Cage in my collection. I probably need help :)


“…it is pathetic and beyond ridicule to see the remains of an industry, namely the music industry, repackage and remarket this over 30 year old recording over and over again.”

I’m inclined to agree. Reissues seem to be in the present day what singles were in the 1980s, with labels issuing a new one every time the bank balance drops (as the Cappuccino Kid liner notes once observed). I mean, how many reissues of any given album do we need?

When the first round of CD reissues appeared (I’m thinking of the Jimmy Page-remastered Led Zeppelin catalog around 1990, the ‘Sound + Vision’ series of Bowie reissues of 1989–91, and the 1992 remastered Elton John catalog), it made sense, as many of the first CD editions did not use the original master tapes (I remember Columbia’s CD edition of Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True sounding particularly bad), and double albums were often truncated to make them fit on a single disc (at a time when CD plants would not guarantee consistent quality with discs containing more than about 70 minutes of music, and the record companies did not want to have too many expensive double-disc sets on the market while many consumers had yet to embrace the format)—plus mastering engineers were still getting used to working in the digital domain. In many cases, labels skimped on the artwork for those initial CD editions (Columbia’s generic artwork for a lot of their first CDs was particularly horrible, with the original front cover not even occupying all of the front cover).

After this, rationales for new reissues began to vary in quality. On the reasonable side: the inclusion of b-sides. rare single mixes, and unreleased tracks (as with the Bowie reissues, which—for better and for worse—established the basic format); the discovery of original masters that allowed previous errors to be corrected (e.g., Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue); artist- or original-producer-supervised remasters; material that had gone out of print; remastering the entire catalog for consistent sound quality. On the frivolous side: just about any ‘nth anniversary’ reissue; albums given brand-new mixes (e.g., The Doors, King Crimson); new editions released to coincide with changes in distribution of the artist’s catalog (e.g., Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Pink Floyd); new editions focused primarily on packaging; albums remastered to sound as loud as contemporary brickwalled releases; audiophile editions that sound no different from the original CD editions. And now we often have reissues being made available in several different editions at once, as with the Sgt. Pepper 50th Anniversary editions. (And don’t get me started on 5.1 mixes of albums that were never available in even quadrophonic versions.)

In this kind of environment, we’re seeing a couple of things happening: the deluxe treatment given to ‘lesser’ artists or albums, and previously reissued albums reissued for the umpteenth time.

This kind of thing is great for the labels, who don’t have to worry about the initial recording costs (which were incurred as long as decades ago), or extensive marketing and promotion (also done years ago)—or, with the deluxe sets in particular, selling huge quantities. But do the rest of us really need a sixth or seventh version of a favorite album? I’d say no—especially when the newest version is often worse than the one that preceded it.


Claudia Brucken always does Propaganda songs in her live gigs so I don’t see why Mertens took this opportunity to trash her and Freytag for the upcoming concerts. I saw her at the Subterranea Club some 20 years ago and several years back doing a signing and playing live at Sister Ray in London and she did the old stuff then too. Nobody attending those upcoming gigs (me for one!!!) will be under the illusion that it’s the original line-up reunited so it seems his panties are in a bunch for no reason.

I wish they’d just put out a fully comprehensive boxset of every note they ever recorded and even if it means that’s 90% stuff already released it’ll be worth doing as a definitive statement on this awesome band. But they won’t because they’d rather milk the fans in dribs and drabs like with this rather redundant re-release.


Mr Martens is quite entitled to feel the way he does over this episode, but no more or less entitled than members of other bands on the same label (back in the day) who continually have their catalogue re-issued, repackaged etc without gaining a single penny from the sales of said releases. (i’m thinking of how much ‘stuff’ has been released by FGTH over the years. Holly Johnson had to go in Sainsburys and ask for a copy of WTTPD White Vinyl HIMSELF, he did not even get a copy sent to him, let alone gain financially from the sales of it. Brian ‘Nasher’ Nash sold his copy of Inside The Pleasuredome, but I don’t know if he was sent a copy or bought it himself and decided to move it on! So (ZTT) artists NOT being involved in re-releases of their own material is nothing new. And don’t get me started on that Knob Head Morley !!!!!!


It seems the majority of ZTT reissues revolve around Frankie, AON and Propaganda. (808 State gets some action once in a while) I’m not sure how much material by other bands is still owned or controlled by ZTT/BMG, but there is a lot of music currently not in print. Some hasn’t been seen since the initial release. I remember ZTT had some digital bundles, but that doesn’t interest me. For a while they were putting out some very nice two cd reissue compilations, but that has dried up. Is Ian Peel no longer involved?


You would have thought they’d be glad that there is still interest in a 30 year old one off album and still people adding to their royalty pot as well as the possibility of earning money through live performances and merchandise.
Whilst I appreciate the comments made by both Ralf and Michael, it’s a beautiful album and it is a testament (!) to its classic and respected status.
Rejoice in the fact that it still warrants interest, I don’t need to buy it personally, as it is not offering anything new, the vaults have already been plundered, but to remain in light is always good thing.


Be great if Michael, Suzanne, Claudia and Ralf could tour together. Remastering, repackaging and new sleeve notes are one thing but seeing them all on stage performing those songs would be something special :-)

Dan T.

I’m with Charles Christopher.

I’m guessing Michael may not fully understand the implications of signing contracts and releasing his art to someone else (the record label). Does he really know that his ‘art’ becomes someone else’s ‘property’ when he signs these agreements? The ‘legal owner’ of the music can do whatever they want with it, so long as it stays within the boundaries of the contract.

Yes, ‘remasters’ are mostly nothing but old albums made LOUDER (read: compressed), but as a packaging fanatic, I always look forward to re-releases. Example: How many times have I purchased the Led Zeppelin discography? Well, there’s 1) original vinyl pressings from the 70s, 2) bought most of their cassettes in the 80s, 3) both “crop circle” box sets in the early/mid 90s, 4) the 10-CD box set with mini-gatefold albums, and 5) the recent re-issues with the individual album covers as photo negatives on black covers. I don’t regret doing all that, I love the packaging, and I take no offense to a label pushing out more content. Why? Like others said, IF I DON’T WANT IT, I WON’T BUY IT. Full stop. Why that concept is so difficult for people to grasp is beyond me. Most of the time I don’t even care what the artist says about blocking the record label after the fact. They signed over the rights to someone else, so it’s now beyond their control. That’s usually what’s in a contract. Maybe you should have read the contract before signing it, Michael.

Sorry Michael, I **WILL** be buying the re-release, because I am curious about its content and packaging. This is BMG’s decision, not yours. They own the music, not you. And, the more clamor about it, the more attention you draw to it, resulting in sales. Often silence is the best weapon.

Mike the Fish

That’s very patronising.


“packaging fanatic”

Really? Does it go something like this “I love Led Zeppelin. They’re responsible for some of the greatest packaging ever!”

Martyn Alner

In a slight defence of Dan T, physical product (packaging variants included) is why we are all here on this Website. Not for nothing does the banner say…

‘the box set and reissue music blog for collectors and fans who love holding the music in their hands’

And Dan obviously likes to do that whilst listening to his music choices. Paul, your work is done here… :)

P.S. I’m buying them too, and I already have the CD, original Vinyl, Tape, Wax Cylinder, etc…

Paul Murphy

I remember in the 60s, the great Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, when complimented about a story, or the artwork in an issue, would say “We don’t care if you buy ’em for the staples.”

Dan T.

It was one of many examples, including Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Steve Wilson, Tears for Fears, U2, etc. etc. Great music, great packaging options. Maybe it’s naive of me to respond to what I think is a snarky comment…? Yeah, it’s about the music first, then the packaging. Maybe I should have been more clear about that for others reading my note above.

Auntie Sabrina

He’d still get the royalties as he wrote most of the songs, but it seems to me like Michael’s closing remarks and reply to Grahame Lynch are possibly aimed at his former bandmates?

Tom of FIN

Mr. Martens is very clearly upset, because he has not been asked anything. All the other members have been aware according to the music company.

A classic one record anyways, 80’s soundscape at its absolute best in ambition and tunes. Unfortunately the only proper Propaganda LP too.

Gary C

Who is the playing the xylophone live then?

Simon Long

After the deluxe 2 disc version of ASW that was released back in 2010, which included all the vinyl mixes as well as the CD versions, and lots of B-sides and alternate versions, I have no idea who would choose to buy this new single disc edition. Herr Mertens is quite right – no need for this at all, and record companies need to stop re-issuing the same stuff we’ve all bought several times already. Mind you, they’d be more deterred from doing that if we stopped buying it, I guess…

The annoying thing is that there is unavailable material pertaining to ASW that people might actually want – the 5.1 mix from the SACD is rarer than rocking-horse droppings; stick that on a DVD or BD and package it with this disc, and there’d be a reason to buy it. But as it is, given I own the original CD version, the 2010 deluxe version and the Wishful Thinking remix disc, I shan’t be shelling out again.

Derek Langsford

There’s currently one SACD on eBay for £175. I have not listened to mine for a while but recall being underwhelmed. If memory serves, it was a subtle 5.1 mix not an aggressive one which is what I hoped for and which I think the album deserved. Same goes for Goldfrapp’s “Supernature” 5.1. But a new 5.1 mix is very unlikely. Was surprised Rush’s “A Farewell to Kings” got a new 5.1 mix in the new Super Deluxe.

I have the 2 CD version which is pretty comprehensive, but also the original UK CD, the original Wishful Thinking and its reissue with extra tracks, plus the Noise and Girls compilation. Unless this remaster is sonically notably superior, it will not join my collection.

Nass Khan

I have Sacd….Wow it fetches that much. The 2010 was good & the original cd was fine

I found the sacd underwhelming as well.

Mike the Fish

I agree about the SACD. The opening track had a nice mix, mind you.

Neil Young

I found the SACD quite a disappointment, aside from Dream Within A Dream which was interesting. The whole 5.1 was quite a different mix from the original. Quite dry too.

As for the 2010 double issue. I hardly ever listen to that. Disc 2 was a very strange track choice. I’d have preferred all 12 inch mixes and b sides. There’s a lot missing off it. Available elsewhere yes, but it would have been nice to have it all in one place.

Same goes for the Art Of Noise Who’s Afraid from the same time.


I love the sacd. Best surround mix ZTT issued.

DJ Salinger

Ditto. File Under: superfluous to requirements.

Charles Christopher

I don’t see what the problem is to him, regarding the reissue. Even if this isn’t a deluxe package, this is no more of a ripoff to listeners than if they were just keeping the original album in print as a physical copy – except now, it’s remastered to modern standards and gets some liner notes that puts it in 30+ years’ perspective. Anyone who wants it can buy it, and those who don’t simply don’t have to. This is effectively the same as keeping, say, Elvis’s original albums in print, but with the sound upgraded occasionally for people buying them today. I fail to see the controversy here – unless he feels that he’s not getting paid by the label or otherwise ripped-off, but that’s nothing to do with the mere existence of this reissue. (The issue of the two singers performing without him is another matter, obviously.)

CJ Feeney

If Mertens is the main composer of the album, then he should have the right to be consulted on any reissue and remaster – and the power to veto a substandard release. Who was responsible on signing off the quality of the remaster for example?

Justin (UK)

Although FGTH members were able to veto the deluxe edition of Liverpool as it contained some demos that were deemed sub-standard. The release was withdrawn and then re-released without the offending demos.


I just hope they identify those other live dates as would find it difficult to get to London that date


I am happy with my original vinyl, original cds and the expanded cds from a few years ago. However, if this release helps just one person find this album, then it will be worth it. A magnificent album, one of my very favourite.


This all rings rather hollow after listening to the George Michael interview with Kirsty Wark on Radio 2 the other week/s. George talked about the legal fights he started in order to get the artist a bit higher in the pecking order so it’s a real shame to be made aware of yet another instance of an artist being completely ignored in the promotion of a re-release of one of his old albums. There must be some band politics in this as well if Claudia, Ralf and Suzanne are all involved but still…


Hasn’t Mr Martens been uninterested in music business / Propaganda etc for years now? I read he was in finance or banking these days, so perhaps his mind set or income is from another place now. Perhaps he’s annoyed that the record company can do these releases without his permission.

Paul Barr

Ask ABBA fans – we’ve been buying the same old shite for years

Daniel ( from Berlin )

that’s right ! Polar Music does the worst thing with simply bring out the same songs
and the same material and the same boring stuff again and agin.
if nobody would buy that boring things maybe then B&B would give the fans a few rarities
that everybody knows that they are in the vaults since more than 3 or 4 decades.
to Propaganda: i love both ZTT albums and would buy new “Super Deluxe Editions”
like the “Welcome To The Pleasuredome” set of FGTH. That was really a nice collector’s item.
what is with “Sex Mix Volume II” ? Where is the “The Art Of the 12Inch Volume 4 ?


Or someone could just save time and issue a list of tracks that should be on those two cds. We have most if not all of those tracks/versions. I can just burn them onto a disc myself.


lol! True.


He’s right. Enough with reissues of albums already available on the discount bin. More vinyl titles issues of expensive or never released in this format (Gorillaz’ Demon Days, BJH’s last albums, P!nk’s Try This…etc)

Barrie Sillars

This is simple! If fans want to buy this, they can and if not they don’t have to. It’s a choice. As long as labels release physical product we should be thankful. It’s when labels eventually decide to only release albums as downloads and via streaming services, that’s when we should be upset!


Agreed, in this case the previous two disc version is still available but in many cases a previous version is oop and expensive. Also, I like this release but I’ve never been obsessed with it or anything so having a cheaper, stripped down version is something I would prefer in this case. But your point is spot on, they can release whatever they want as far as I’m concerned.


What he says is true but as long as suckers keep buying repackaged and (the old chestnut) “remastered” music that they already own over and over again and in multiple formats – as evidenced by the comments on this site – the labels will keep re-releasing it.


and that is a GOOD thing!

Fernando Grund Guzmán

These kind of editions are good because you can get a lot of material that is very difficult to find these days or only is available on vinyl. But it rest the value also because, when the first edition of those material, surely some remixes could not be available on your country or were very expensive. Today in 2 or 3 CDs can compile a lot of them easily.
Also could be interesting to put a DVD or BD with the 5.1 mix that is edited on SACD.