Morrissey deluxe edition box sets - the lack thereof

Radis Noir

Fear of a Black Radish
Over the past few years, many bands of a certain age have started producing deluxe edition boxsets of their classic albums. These generally include the original album, b-sides, out-takes, live concerts and other audio paraphernalia, including DVDs of concert and TV appearances and if one is really lucky, a surround sound remix of the album on DVD or Blu-ray. The CD editions usually run to at least four CDs and there are always expanded vinyl editions as well.
I've been wondering for a while why Morrissey doesn't do the same? With a faithful core of fans around the world who have deep pockets when it comes buying the apparently endless releases of old material in different formats, I'd say it would be a slam-dunk money-maker and would be very popular with the fanbase.
He isn't lacking material for such boxsets - I wonder why it's not a format that he's pursued beyond the odd reissues that happen now and then, which if one is being honest, haven't always been that successful in terms of content and presentation.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The closest we've got to this is 'The Queen is Dead' box set from 2017 (3 CDs, 1 DVD, plus an entire album's worth of download only tracks released at the same time). Add a nice hardback book to that, and it would have been equal to one of those chunky deluxe boxsets from The Beatles etc. I remember reading an interview with Johnny, where he inferred that Morrissey was very difficult to deal with regarding this and it took him years to get this release pushed through, so I doubt we'll see any more in the short term.

Two possibilities spring to mind - maybe it's a royalties thing, and he's still salty enough at Joyce not to want to release anything that will provide money for him. Secondly, maybe he just doesn't want lower quality material out there? As a fan, I would love to hear every aborted and unused take, including those where Morrissey gets the lyrics wrong, and misses half the notes. I'd find that interesting, as an historical record. But I can understand an artist wanting to keep that kind of stuff hidden, and that it might feel a bit like showing your dirty underwear in public.

My hunch is that eventually the archives will be fully opened, but it won't be until either Morrissey is so old he's effectively given up on making new music, or once he eventually passes on and the rights move to someone else (presumably Sam?).

But yeah - I would love box sets for each album, Smiths and solo!
 
J

Janice

Guest
So
The Smiths box sets from 2011 don’t count
8 CD
8 vinyl
Then there’s the vinyl LP and all the 7’s
You seem to have glossed over that bit.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I presume what the original poster was referring to, were the current standard for single album archival boxsets featuring substantial amounts of previously unreleased material. I have that Smiths 'Complete' box set from 2011, and it is a thing of beauty, but aside from the remastering there is almost zero new content.
 

Radis Noir

Fear of a Black Radish
The closest we've got to this is 'The Queen is Dead' box set from 2017 (3 CDs, 1 DVD, plus an entire album's worth of download only tracks released at the same time). Add a nice hardback book to that, and it would have been equal to one of those chunky deluxe boxsets from The Beatles etc. I remember reading an interview with Johnny, where he inferred that Morrissey was very difficult to deal with regarding this and it took him years to get this release pushed through, so I doubt we'll see any more in the short term.

Two possibilities spring to mind - maybe it's a royalties thing, and he's still salty enough at Joyce not to want to release anything that will provide money for him. Secondly, maybe he just doesn't want lower quality material out there? As a fan, I would love to hear every aborted and unused take, including those where Morrissey gets the lyrics wrong, and misses half the notes. I'd find that interesting, as an historical record. But I can understand an artist wanting to keep that kind of stuff hidden, and that it might feel a bit like showing your dirty underwear in public.

My hunch is that eventually the archives will be fully opened, but it won't be until either Morrissey is so old he's effectively given up on making new music, or once he eventually passes on and the rights move to someone else (presumably Sam?).

But yeah - I would love box sets for each album, Smiths and solo!
I was specifically thinking about the Moz solo albums but yes, it could work for the Smiths' albums as well, as we've seen with the TQID boxset. I think it might be dependent on certain individuals opening up their legendary cassette tape collections though.
I would think that it would be a nice project for an ageing singer approaching the twilight of his life to essentially become a curator of his own work. Lots of musicians do it - Robert Fripp springs to mind although he's also still a working musician.
 

Radis Noir

Fear of a Black Radish
I'd imagine "the vault" is very poorly-managed, if at all. Just a guess.

I'd love to be proven wrong, though.
And having been with several records labels that vault might well be widely dispersed. Nevertheless these challenges are not insurmountable, it just takes someone with the will and time to do it. I'm sure SER doesn't have anything particularly pressing to do now that he's stopped doing those photoshopped pictures!
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I've been wondering for a while why Morrissey doesn't do the same? With a faithful core of fans around the world who have deep pockets when it comes buying the apparently endless releases of old material in different formats, I'd say it would be a slam-dunk money-maker and would be very popular with the fanbase.
Probably because it's not all about the money.
Never has been.
Never will be.

Unlike some ill-informed person/people would have us believe.
 
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NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH
Time for MTV unplugged , just M and Alain Whyte cheers
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
And having been with several records labels that vault might well be widely dispersed. Nevertheless these challenges are not insurmountable, it just takes someone with the will and time to do it. I'm sure SER doesn't have anything particularly pressing to do now that he's stopped doing those photoshopped pictures!
I had the same reaction: too many different companies. But if BMG has permission to release remastered verslons of nearly every album since SG, that seemsj to suggest they have acquired a fair chunk of Morrissey's back catalogue. So there is still hope.

SER has sjhared some live recordings online, which suggests that the vault isn't empty, and there still ahre a couple of songs I think. Your suggestion to put SER to work while Morrissey is still alive, is a good one.
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH

markem41

Member
From 2004 to 2011 The Fall re-released 19 albums in "Expanded Edition" formats. There have been 3 more between 2018 and 2020. If they can manage it, with their record label history anyone can!
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
There is a strange duality with Morrissey's relationship with past. He has a stubborn and mostly deluded belief that each of his album is better than the previous one, which is of course practically impossible with a back catalogue of this size. Therefore he is reluctant to delve into the vault, because that might shatter his belief -- and there is no-one else to do it. But on the other hand he can't resist a quick buck now and then with a strange vinyl single reissue of a pointless compilation like World of Morrissey.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
There is a strange duality with Morrissey's relationship with past. He has a stubborn and mostly deluded belief that each of his album is better than the previous one, which is of course practically impossible with a back catalogue of this size. Therefore he is reluctant to delve into the vault, because that might shatter his belief -- and there is no-one else to do it. But on the other hand he can't resist a quick buck now and then with a strange vinyl single reissue of a pointless compilation like World of Morrissey.
Very insightful.
 

Jamie

Bluff, Ardour & Assoc.
There is a strange duality with Morrissey's relationship with past. He has a stubborn and mostly deluded belief that each of his album is better than the previous one, which is of course practically impossible with a back catalogue of this size. Therefore he is reluctant to delve into the vault, because that might shatter his belief -- and there is no-one else to do it. But on the other hand he can't resist a quick buck now and then with a strange vinyl single reissue of a pointless compilation like World of Morrissey.
I think it's fairly normal for any artist to hold highest regard for what they have just produced, or what they are working on now. Ultimately, the point is to be artistically in the moment. I can't fault him for that logic, whether or not I agree with it. (E.g., Maladjusted as the best of him following Your Arsenal, Vauxhall and Southpaw? Laughable.)

Personally, I think it mainly comes down to reluctance to mine what he must think of as all the "dregs." But his definition of "dregs" is questionable if, say, "Striptease With a Difference" has been overlooked in favor of "Lifeguard On Duty." Functionally, the matter of his back catalogue being dispersed amid multiple large corporations is an impediment to one holistic program of reissues/expanded editions.

World of Morrissey got it half-right by collecting the "Boxers" single and select live tracks from Beethoven and roping in a B-side like "The Loop." Where it went astray was including Arsenal and Vauxhall tracks, which were much more popular and readily available albums at the time. Repeating "Playboys" is also a real headscratcher. As you can see, strike five of the more illogical items off the track list and replace them with uncollected B-sides or singles and it becomes a more purchase-friendly proposition to fans. But then it loses power as an "overview" for the casuals, however broad that mandate was - and ill-served by the track selections.

  1. "Whatever Happens, I Love You" – 3:07 [B-side of "Boxers"]
  2. "Billy Budd" – 2:09 [from Vauxhall and I]
  3. "Jack the Ripper" [live in Paris, 22 December 1992] – 4:10 [from Beethoven Was Deaf]
  4. "Have-a-Go Merchant" – 2:41 [B-side of "Boxers"]
  5. "The Loop" – 4:16 [B-side of "Sing Your Life"]
  6. "Sister I'm a Poet" [live in Paris, 22 December 1992] – 2:15 [from "Beethoven Was Deaf"]
  7. "You're the One for Me, Fatty" [live in Paris, 22 December 1992] – 3:00 [from Beethoven Was Deaf]
  8. "Boxers" – 3:28 [single A-side]
  9. "Moon River" – 9:39 [B-side of "Hold on to Your Friends"]
  10. "My Love Life" [UK version] – 4:24 [single A-side]
  11. "Certain People I Know" – 3:10 [from Your Arsenal]
  12. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" – 3:36 [single A-side]
  13. "We'll Let You Know" – 5:16 [from Your Arsenal]
  14. "Spring-Heeled Jim" – 3:45 [from Vauxhall and I]
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
I think it's fairly normal for any artist to hold highest regard for what they have just produced, or what they are working on now. Ultimately, the point is to be artistically in the moment. I can't fault him for that logic, whether or not I agree with it. (E.g., Maladjusted as the best of him following Your Arsenal, Vauxhall and Southpaw? Laughable.)
You're right that it's a confidence trick many artists do, convince theirselves that whatever they are doing now is of equal value as their revered masterpieces from decades ago. But very few artists do it with such extreme gusto as Morrissey, who always claims that the new work is the best he's done. About a decade ago made a list of his best albums and it really was basically his albums from the new one backwards (Maladjusted and Kill Uncle were off the list however.)
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
As for World of Morrissey, that was clearly a tribute to the "World of" albums of his youth where an artist put together a low-priced compilation of some hits, some deep cuts and some rarities for a newcomer to check out the artist. But of course in this day and age such a compilation makes no sense and it was hampered by also not having anything post-1995 on it.
 
As for World of Morrissey, that was clearly a tribute to the "World of" albums of his youth where an artist put together a low-priced compilation of some hits, some deep cuts and some rarities for a newcomer to check out the artist. But of course in this day and age such a compilation makes no sense and it was hampered by also not having anything post-1995 on it.
World Of Morrissey was released in 1995, so it could not have included anything post-1995.
You're thinking of This Is Morrissey from 2018, which was probably also inspired by a classical series of albums. Capital records released titles like This Is Sinatra, This Is Dean Martin etc. in the 50s.
 
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