Rumours of the imminent demise of physical formats have proved premature. The advent of downloading and streaming has, of course, made a difference to how people now listen to music, but, for many, events such as Record Store Day have rebalanced the scales and reminded music lovers that part of the excitement of purchasing a classic album is also investing in the tactile stuff, such as a great sleeve, detailed liner notes and all the extras and rarities that bonus discs can offer. With all that in mind, those who spend their time rifling through racks and digging through crates would do well to discover the best reissues of 2023.
20: Booker T & The MGs: ‘Green Onions’ (2LP, translucent green vinyl)
Is there another instrumental in rock and pop history which carries the clout of Booker T & The MGs’ Green Onions? This snappy, soul-imbued workout (which, remarkably, emerged from a spontaneous studio jam) has been covered by everyone from Count Basie to Deep Purple – and, 60 years on from selling its initial million copies, it remains as fresh as ever.
This seemingly ageless piece of music headed up The MGs’ equally potent debut album, also titled Green Onions, which was issued in October 1962 through Stax Records, the legendary Tennessee label that shaped the sound of Southern soul in the 60s. To celebrate its diamond anniversary, Green Onions returned earlier this year in remastered form and on translucent green vinyl, cooking up a soul stew all over again as one of the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Green Onions
19: Twenty One Pilots: ‘Vessel: 10th Anniversary Edition’ (2LP)
Twenty One Pilots’ first album for Fueled By Ramen, Vessel proved to be the Columbus, Ohio, duo’s breakout release. Eventually moving over two million copies, the record contains an inspired mélange of styles, with its signature hits, Holding On To You, Guns For Hands, House Of Gold and Car Radio, adroitly blending elements of hip-hop, electronica and rock into an oddball, yet often highly accessible pop sound. One of best reissues of 2023, Vessel comes back into land as a double vinyl set featuring the original album, four live tracks from a hometown gig, and assorted merch including a series of faux Polaroids.
Must hear: Car Radio
18: Linkin Park: ‘Meteora: 20th Anniversary Edition’ (4LP/3CD box set)
Linkin Park emerged fully formed as one of the best bands of the 2000s. But while the Californian nu-metal icons’ debut album, Hybrid Theory, was a big deal, its follow-up, 2003’s Meteora, was simply gargantuan, moving around 20 million copies and spawning five hit singles, including one of the best Linkin Park songs of all time, Numb. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, this classic album is returning in super-deluxe form, boosted with a host of rarities including the suitably-titled Lost: a long-forgotten gem from the album sessions which features an impassioned vocal from the band’s much-missed frontman, Chester Bennington. A sign of Linkin Park’s continued relevance, Lost immediately became one of the best songs of 2023 following its belated release.
Must Hear: Numb
17: Whitesnake: ‘Still Good To Be Bad’ (4CD + Blu-ray box set)
As its title strongly hints, Still Good To Be Bad is effectively the super-deluxe edition of Whitesnake’s Good To Be Bad album: a UK Top 10 success when it was first released in 2008. The long-awaited follow-up to 1997’s acclaimed Restless Heart, the record went on to win Classic Rock’s Album Of The Year award, and it still impresses today. This generous expanded edition features two new versions of the original album (one remastered and the other newly remixed), plus a CD called Evolutions, which guides listeners through the genesis of each song on the record. To seal its place among the best reissues of 2023, there’s also an additional Blu-ray disc that delivers live tracks from the band’s 2008 European tour, along with acoustic performances from the era and additional interviews.
Must hear: Can You Hear The Wind Blow
16: Eric Clapton: ‘The Complete Reprise Studio Albums: Volume 2’ (10LP box set)
2022’s 12LP The Complete Reprise Studio Albums: Volume 1 effectively boxed up Eric Clapton’s 80s and 90s output, and this equally opulent, 10LP follow-up focuses on Slowhand’s hot streak during the first decade of the 21st century. Accordingly, the box contains newly remastered versions of Reptile (2001), the feted Robert Johnson tribute Me & Mr Johnson and its sister disc, Sessions For Robert J (both 2004), the Grammy Award-winning Back Home (2005) and 2010’s Clapton. All five are essentials but the clincher is arguably the additional disc, Rarities (2001-2010), which gathers together eight hard-to-source recordings from Clapton’s Reprise years. Highlights include the B-side Johnny Guitar and a former Japan-only bonus track, Losing Hand.
Must hear: Me And The Devil Blues
15: The Flaming Lips: ‘Flight Test’, ‘Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell’ (coloured vinyl EPs)
Featuring its fair share of the best Flaming Lips songs, the Oklahomans’ groundbreaking, gold-certified Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots album has enjoyed a second season in the sun thanks to its recent 20th-anniversary edition. And it’s a gift that keeps on giving, courtesy of the reissue of the album’s two highly-prized spin-off EPs, Flight Test and Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell.
Headed up by its heartfelt title track, the Flight Test EP was included in last year’s 6CD box set reissue of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, but it made its vinyl debut this year, on ruby-red wax. Ingenious covers of Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head and Radiohead’s Knives Out ensure it’s a firm fan favourite, as is the immortally-titled Ego Tripping At The Gates of Hell: a generous curio now on glow-in-the-dark green vinyl which includes two versions of the title cut, plus The Postal Services’ remix of the Yoshimi… classic Do You Realize?? and a further four non-album cuts.
Must hear: Flight Test
14: Cher: ‘It’s A Man’s World’ (4LP coloured-vinyl box set)
Originally released in 1995, Cher’s It’s A Man’s World album was something of a departure from the US star’s lighter pop and rock fare. Dark and earthy, and often sprinkled with more than a pinch of Southern Gothic, it featured a slew of excellent tracks (not least One By One and Cher’s emotive reading of Marc Cohn’s Walking In Memphis) that helped it go gold in the UK. It now returns in newly remastered form as a four-disc coloured-vinyl box set, with the original 14-track album spread across the first two discs and 11 rare remixes making up the third and fourth, with a numbered lithograph of an iconic Cher poster sealing its place among the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Walking In Memphis
13: Marillion: ‘Seasons End (Deluxe Edition)’ (3CD + Blu-Ray/5LP box set)
Despite its title, Marillion’s fifth album, Seasons End, represented the start of a significant new chapter in the band’s history. New vocalist Steve Hogarth had the unenviable task of taking over from the departing Fish, but he settled into his role with aplomb. The group also opted to pursue a more mainstream rock sound, with Seasons End bequeathing several highly agreeable, radio-friendly singles courtesy of Hooks In You, The Uninvited Guest and Easter – all of which held their own against the best Marillion songs to date. Proving the UK prog heroes did indeed have a post-Fish future, Seasons End peaked at No.7 in the UK and remains a firm fan favourite. It returned this year in a generous deluxe edition, featuring a sharp 2023 remix and a slew of rarities, in addition to showing off brand-new artwork.
Must hear: The Uninvited Guest
12: Pantera: ‘The Complete Studio Albums 1990-2000’ (5LP picture-disc box set)
Pantera’s self-explanatory The Complete Studio Albums 1990-2000 collection pretty much presents what it says on the box – but what a box it is. Including the titles which have long since set the Texan metal pioneers’ legend in stone, Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display Of Power, Far Beyond Driven, The Great Southern Trendkill and Reinventing The Steel, it’s a truly exemplary collection and, as the best Pantera songs continually prove, it contains some the most ferocious sounds ever released in the name of metal. One of the best reissues of 2023, it’s strictly limited to just 3,500 copies and there’s no previously unreleased material, but each album is pressed on a beautiful picture disc and it all fits in a neat box, so it really is an essential purchase for all self-respecting metalheads.
Must hear: Walk
11: Grateful Dead: ‘Here Comes Sunshine 1973’ (17CD box set)
Such is the legendary fervour of serious Deadheads that Grateful Dead live releases are always snapped up promptly, but as a rule they tend to be curate’s eggs for the uninitiated. In 1973, however, the group were on particularly spectacular form, as the remarkable 17CD collection Here Comes Sunshine 1973, featuring five full US shows from the summer of that year, makes abundantly clear. Yes, there’s a daunting amount of material, but much of it’s thrilling, with the band’s 10 June concert with The Allman Brothers Band, at San Francisco’s RFK Stadium, ranking right up there with their greatest live recordings. Throw in detailed liner notes, an exclusive poster and a beautiful box designed by Grammy-winning artist Masaki Koike, and you’ve easily got one of the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Ramble On Rose (Live at RFK Stadium, Washington, DC 6/10/73)
10: Madonna: ‘Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones’ (6LP coloured-vinyl box set)
Bearing in mind it dominated charts all around the world on its initial release last year, Madonna’s self-explanatory Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones needs little introduction here. However, while this immaculate collection of glorious club-friendly cuts originally appeared on red and black vinyl (which, including pre-orders, sold out in three days flat), it now returns in a special box, with all six of its discs pressed in all the colours of the rainbow. This time around, the set is being given a much wider release, but it’s still destined to become a highly desirable collector’s item, and its inclusion among the best reissues of 2023 is absolutely mandatory.
Must hear: Material Girl (7” version)
9: Neil Young: ‘Official Release Series Vol.5’ (9LP/6CD box set)
A highly necessary purchase for all dedicated Neil Young fans, the latest instalment in the Canadian-American songwriter’s Official Release Series pulls together the titles from his creative renaissance of the late 80s and early 90s. Beginning with 1989’s fierce, outspoken Freedom, it also takes in the following year’s impassioned Crazy Horse reunion, Ragged Glory, and the 1991 live album Weld, which captures Young and the Horse on truly coruscating form. There’s also Weld’s second act, the Metal Machine Music-esque Arc, now making its vinyl debut. Its ornery presence helps Official Release Series Vol.5 to be one of the more challenging listens among the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Over And Over
8: Otis Redding: ‘Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-70)’ (6LP coloured-vinyl box set)
Esteemed Georgia-born soul man Otis Redding’s premature death robbed the world of one of music’s truly great voices, but he’d stockpiled such an array of freshly recorded and/or previously unreleased work that new releases bearing his name arrived for several years following his demise. Now collected on multi-coloured vinyl, the self-explanatory box set Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-70) reintroduces this remarkable slew of music – the albums The Dock Of The Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding, Love Man and Tell The Truth – along with a further two-disc collection of attendant singles including Look At That Girl, Love Man and the immortal (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay. There’s no freshly unearthed material, but what is here amounts to one of the best reissues of 2023 – or, indeed, any other year.
Must hear: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
7: Green Day: ‘Nimrod: 25th Anniversary Edition’ (5LP/3CD box set)
Though it was a multi-platinum success at the time of its release, Green Day’s fifth album, Nimrod, didn’t have the same impact as the Californian punks’ all-conquering Dookie or its immediate successor, Insomniac. That’s a shame, for Nimrod is at least the equal of those records and it’s certainly the most adventurous of the three. There was still plenty of the trio’s patented pop-punk ramalama on display, but as tracks as disparate as the shimmering psych-tinged Redundant, the hazy surf-pop of Last Ride In and the mutant rockabilly of Hitchin’ A Ride all proved, Billie Joe Armstrong and co were keen to stretch sonically.
With hindsight, the group were right to stick their necks out, for it was Nimrod’s least Green Day-sounding track – the plaintive, acoustic Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) – which rewarded them with a surprise, multi-platinum US hit that was immediately embraced as one of the very best Green Day songs of all time. Kerrang! magazine referred to Nimrod as “a multi-faceted spreading of wings”, and the album’s tasty smorgasbord can again be enjoyed in multiple formats, all of which include stacks of rarities and an electrifying live set from a Philadelphia gig in November 1997.
Must hear: Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)
6: Alice Cooper: ‘Killer’/‘School’s Out’ Deluxe Editions (both 3LP/2CD box sets)
Essential touchstones in securing the legend of Alice Cooper (both the man and the band), 1971’s Killer and the following year’s School’s Out albums were among rock’s most celebrated titles during the early 70s – and with good reason, as both were packed with classics that still stand tall among the best Alice Cooper songs of all time. Featuring the singles Under My Wheels and Be My Lover, Killer was arguably the hardest-rocking set the ACB ever put their name to, though it was its successor which really connected globally, thanks primarily to its universally loved title track, but also to highly ambitious set pieces such as Gutter Cats Vs The Jets, an unlikely (but brilliant) homage to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story. Scrubbing up extremely well, both titles have been newly remastered for 2023 and, bolstering their reputation among the best Alice Cooper albums, each now includes a glut of rarities, including previously unreleased live recordings from Puerto Rico’s Mar Y Sol Pop Festival (Killer) and Miami (School’s Out).
Must hear: Under My Wheels
5: Enya: ‘A Box Of Dreams’ (6LP box set)
Otherworldly Irish star Enya’s A Box Of Dreams collection was first issued as a limited edition CD set in 1997, but it’s long since been out of circulation, so its reappearance as a six-disc vinyl box set is a boon for long-term fans. Essentially, it’s a collection of highlights from the best Enya albums to that point, offering a précis of the mercurial singer’s initial decade as a frontline artist (the selections are culled from her self-titled 1987 debut album through to 1996’s Only If… single), but it’s hardly a standard trawl through the hits, as the songs are arranged thematically. Discs One and Two are titled Oceans and contain upbeat signature hits such as Orinoco Flow, Book Of Days and Caribbean Blue; Discs Three and Four are titled Clouds and feature beguiling, piano-based instrumentals and ambient classics, including the title tracks from Enya’s Watermark and Shepherd’s Moon albums, and the final pair of discs are bracketed under Stars, and boast choral and meditative ballads such as Exile and the glorious hit Evening Falls.
This new 25th-anniversary vinyl edition of A Box Of Dreams also brings fresh insight into Enya’s world, with new liner notes supplied by lyricist Roma Ryan and producer Nicky Ryan. In addition, all the discs have been pressed on recycled vinyl. The manufacturing process creates a randomly generated, dark-hued marble effect on each disc, so each individual record is entirely unique.
Must hear: Evening Falls
4: The Velvet Underground: ‘Loaded: Fully Re-Loaded’ (9LP + 4 x 7” box set)
The Velvet Underground’s last proper studio album, Loaded, never had the hip cachet of their seminal earlier releases such as The Velvet Underground & Nico and the abrasive yet influential White Light/White Heat. It’s easy to understand why – John Cale was long gone; drummer Moe Tucker was pregnant, so didn’t play on the record; and a disgruntled Lou Reed left before it was released, complaining that the tracks were edited behind his back.
Despite all that, Loaded is no slouch. Though deliberately ambiguous, the album’s title related primarily to the band’s hope that it would be “loaded with hits”, and it contained plenty of shoulda-been contenders, with Who Loves The Sun, Sweet Jane, Rock And Roll, New Age and Head Held High all standing shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Velvets’ esteemed catalogue. The album’s time finally came when it received an extensive CD reissue in 2015, and it now gets the same deluxe vinyl treatment in a seriously cool 9LP box set featuring mono and stereo mixes of the record, plus a galaxy of rarities – all of which makes it a shoo-in among the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Sweet Jane
3: New Order: ‘Low-Life: Definitive Edition’ (LP + 2CD + 2DVD + book box set)
New Order stepped out of Joy Division’s shadow on their excellent second album, Power, Corruption & Lies, but they really hit their stride on 1985’s Low-Life, hands-down one of the best New Order albums and the record on which they seamlessly integrated electronica into their angular rock sound and emerged with a confident, bold work which went Top 10 in the UK and introduced the band to the US mainstream for the first time.
One of best reissues of 2023, Low-Life: Definitive Edition revisits evergreen classics among the best New Order songs, ranging from the narrative-style pop classic Love Vigilantes to the searing, guitar-based rocker Sunrise and the atmospheric, Ennio Morricone-inspired Elegia. In the spirit of the band’s Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies reissues, Low-Life returns in a beautiful box set, with the original album joined by a host of rarities, a beautiful coffee-table book featuring new interviews and rare photographs, plus two DVDs’ worth of TV and in-concert footage, including a full-length live show filmed on home turf at The Haçienda for the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test.
Must hear: Sunrise
2: David Bowie: ‘Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars: The Motion Picture: 50th Anniversary’ (2CD + Blu-ray/2LP/2CD)
One of rock’s most seismic half-century anniversaries occurred this summer with the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s final show as his iconic alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, fronting his legendary backing group, The Spiders From Mars. On that day, 3 July 1973, Bowie famously traumatised his fans (and the wider rock community) by announcing that he would be retiring the band after the show they were about to complete at London’s Hammersmith Odeon.
That night’s set was filmed by the renowned documentary-maker DA Pennebaker (Monterey Pop; Bob Dylan – Dont Look Back; Depeche Mode – 101), and his film became the definitive record of one of rock’s most momentous events. Now digitally remastered, it looks better than ever, and the soundtrack album is back in a variety of formats, too. With the never-before-released encore performances of The Jean Genie/Love Me Do (as a medley) and Round And Round, featuring the late, legendary guitarist Jeff Beck, finally seeing the light of day, this is the final word on the historic show, and it more than earns its place among the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Ziggy Stardust
1: Pink Floyd: ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon: 50th Anniversary Box Set’ (2CD + 2LP + 2 x Blu-ray + DVD + 2 x 7”s + 2 x books)
Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon has been such a monolithic presence on the rock landscape that it often feel as though there was never a time before its existence. In real terms, one of the best 70s albums is actually turning 50 this year, but its main themes (madness, consumerism, loneliness and death) remain so universally relevant that songs such as Time, Money, Any Colour You Like and Brain Damage could easily have been written this week. The Dark Side Of The Moon’s re-emergence has already inspired numerous spin-off events, among them playbacks in planetariums around the world, and its weighty 50th-anniversary reissue, featuring the remastered album, an array of mixes, an additional Live At Wembley concert, replica 7” singles and a lavish, Hipgnosis-endorsed book, easily enters orbit alongside the best reissues of 2023.
Must hear: Money
More Like This
With a new band and a jewellery box full of hits, Prince entered the hip-hop era with the ‘Diamonds And Pearls’ album.
Like medieval minstrels spinning tall tales, Genesis’ ‘Selling England By The Pound’ album harnessed fantasy and wit to craft a prog classic.
Be the first to know
Stay up-to-date with the latest music news, new releases, special offers and other discounts!