Skip to main content

Enter your email below to be the first to hear about new releases, upcoming events, and more from Dig!

Please enter a valid email address
Please accept the terms
Best Reissues Of 2023: 40 Essential Box Set And Vinyl Releases
List & Guides

Best Reissues Of 2023: 40 Essential Box Set And Vinyl Releases

The best reissues of 2023 include gargantuan box sets and back-to-basics vinyl among a smorgasbord of essential releases.

Back

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.

Best Reissues Of 2023: 40 Essential Box Set And Vinyl Releases

40: 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

39: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers: ‘Mojo’ (2LP, translucent ruby-red vinyl)

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ 12th studio set, Mojo, was initially released in 2010 and debuted at No.2 on the Billboard 200. Recorded in a relaxed atmosphere at the group’s legendary rehearsal space, The Clubhouse, in Los Angeles, it captured Petty and co doing what they did best, inhabiting a space that Petty said was “where the band lives when it’s playing for itself”. Featuring the driving chart hit I Should Have Known It along with impressive material such as Good Enough and the bluesy First Flash Of Freedom, the material made it clear that all concerned still had their mojo working – a feeling that the record’s new double-disc reissue easily reinforces.

Must hear: I Should Have Known It

38: Richard Wright: ‘Wet Dream’ (translucent deep-Blue marbled vinyl/CD + Blu-ray)

The late Richard Wright was often regarded as Pink Floyd’s quiet genius, and that reputation is backed up by this reissue of the much-missed keyboardist’s debut solo album. Originally issued in 1978, Wet Dream arrived between two monolithic Floyd releases – Animals and The Wall. Now, however, it has a chance to shine on its own merits, coming housed in a bi-fold sleeve with new artwork and sounding resplendent thanks to a new mix from Steven Wilson which gloriously enhances Wright’s dextrous melodic skills. A quiet gem and certainly one of the best reissues of 2023.

Must hear: Cat Cruise

37: Electronic: ‘Get The Message: The Best Of Electronic’ (2LP/2CD)

First issued on CD in 2006 but now enjoying its vinyl debut, the self-explanatory Get The Message: The Best Of Electronic rounds up all the key tracks recorded by the all-star alt-rock duo of Johnny Marr and New Order’s Bernard Sumner. That inevitably means all the best Electronic songs are present and correct, from Get The Message and Feel Every Beat to Getting Away With It and Disappointed (the latter two also featuring Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant), though the newly expanded CD edition also includes a host of B-sides, remixes and rare tracks.

Must hear: Getting Away With It

36: Kids In Glass Houses: ‘Smart Casual’ (clear vinyl/limited-edition coloured cassettes)

Blending the melodic highs of power-pop with post-punk angularity and a smidgen of Strokes-esque pizzazz, South Wales quintet Kids In Glass Houses released their memorable debut album, Smart Casual, through Roadrunner Records in 2008, and went on to enjoy the first of their four UK Top 30 successes to date. Produced with clarity by Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Funeral For A Friend), the album yielded several radio-friendly classics courtesy of Easy Tiger, Give Me What I Want and the yearning Saturday, and – as its 15th-anniversary vinyl and cassette reissue makes clear – it’s barely aged a day since.

Must hear: Easy Tiger

35: David Bowie: ‘Pin Ups’ (half-speed Mastered vinyl)

David Bowie’s decision to publicly retire his fame-scoring alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, onstage at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, in July 1973, rewarded him with maximum publicity, but also meant the chameleonic Starman was under extreme pressure to deliver something groundbreaking when he unveiled his next phase. Remarkably, Bowie had no immediate plan, but to buy himself some time he released a collection of covers, titled Pin Ups, which not only topped the UK chart, but also afforded him the space he needed to begin plotting his next significant move, with 1974’s Diamond Dogs album.

Still one of rock’s more desirable covers albums, Pin Ups saw Bowie salute most of his early influences (ranging from The Who and The Yardbirds to Van Morrison’s Them and the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd) on a collection that still has both power and presence. Pin Ups celebrates its golden jubilee with a limited-edition 50th-anniversary half-speed mastered LP which begs mandatory inclusion among the best reissues of 2023.

Must hear: See Emily Play

34: Starsailor: ‘Silence Is Easy’ (LP/2CD)

Though Coldplay and Doves producer Danton Supple oversaw the majority of its songs, Starsailor’s storied second album, 2003’s Silence Is Easy, has the distinction of being the final title bearing the production stamp of Phil Spector, the “Wall Of Sound” architect who would be convicted of murder in 2009. Creatively, at least, Spector went out in style, in that the two songs he produced for Silence Is Easy – the glorious White Dove and the album’s evergreen title track – remain among the very best Starsailor songs, with the latter also rewarding the band with a UK Top 10 hit. After the runaway success of their debut album, Love Is Here, Silence Is Easy proved a successful consolidation for James Walsh and company, with the album peaking at No.2 in the UK, en route to going gold.

Now returning as a 2CD set with an additional disc of rarities, including live tracks, remixes and two further Spector-produced demos (of the songs Fidelity and White Dove), the 20th-anniversary edition of Silence Is Easy is also available on aqua-blue vinyl. Even on its own, the album’s inherent quality stakes its claim among the best reissues of 2023.

Must hear: White Dove

33: Cher: ‘Believe: 25th Anniversary Edition’ (3LP/2CD)

Cher has scaled numerous peaks during her remarkable 60-year career, but none can match up to the success the much-loved US singer experienced with her biggest-selling album of them all, 1998’s Believe. On the back of its irresistible title track alone (a global smash widely embraced by the LBGTQ+ community), the album went on to sell 11 million copies worldwide, with further hits such as All Or Nothing and a second era-defining empowerment anthem, Strong Enough, sealing its reputation for good. Reissued in celebration of the original album’s 25th anniversary, the newly expanded, multi-disc edition of Believe features a host of remastered remixes, with the leopard-print vinyl box set including discs in sea-blue, light-blue and clear pressings, along with an exclusive numbered lithograph of the artist.

Must hear: Believe

32: 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

31: 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

30: 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

29: 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

28: The Darkness: ‘Permission To Land… Again’ (4CD+DVD box set)

Soaring into place among the best reissues of 2023, the deluxe edition of The Darkness’ audacious, legend-building debut album, Permission To Land, is close to exhaustive. Not only does it feature the original album, demos and a comprehensive disc’s worth of B-sides and rarities, but it also lobs in three live gigs (London Astoria and Knebworth, from 2003; Wembley Arena, from 2004) and an extensive DVD’s worth of goodies, such as History Of The Darkness (a companion documentary of sorts to Simon Emmett’s excellent Welcome To The Darkness), the official videos for the album’s singles and behind-the-scenes footage for extremely good measure.

Must hear: I Believe In A Thing Called Love

27: 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

26: Muse: ‘Absolution XX’ (2CD + 2LP silver vinyl + clear 12”)

Muse’s sophomore set, Origin Of Symmetry, provided the band with their commercial breakthrough, but their third album, Absolution, took the Devon trio to a whole new level. Produced by Rich Costey (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave) and primarily recorded at Ireland’s Grouse Lodge (U2, R.E.M.), the album featured Muse’s most daring material to date, with tracks such as Blackout, Stockholm Syndrome and the eerie Time Is Running Out adroitly blending the complexity of prog-rock and the all-out attack of metal with highly memorable tunes. This newfound accessibility thrust Matt Bellamy and company into the heart of the mainstream, with Absolution scoring the group their first UK No.1 and multi-platinum returns.

Worthy of such an ambitious work, the deluxe box set, Absolution XX, strides into place among the best reissues of 2023. Housed in a silver-foil slipcase reminiscent of the original release’s promo bag, and including with a four-page casebound book with debossed cover detailing, the collection includes a remastered edition of Absolution on one CD and across two 12” silver-vinyl discs, with bonus audio (including a stack of live tracks) spread across a second CD and a clear-vinyl 12”.

Must hear: Time Is Running Out

25: 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

24: 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

23: Pet Shop Boys: ‘Relentless: 30th Anniversary Edition’ (yellow vinyl/CD)

One of Pet Shop Boys’ most sought-after rarities, Relentless was initially released as part of a limited 2CD edition of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s UK chart-topping Very album in 1993. Known as Very Relentless, that original edition featured a heady six-track album of extended dance mixes which was also released as a standalone vinyl set, limited to just 500 copies, with the six tracks spread over three 12” singles, pressed on pink, yellow and blue vinyl. Finally returning after 30 years, Relentless is now back in circulation as a limited-edition yellow vinyl release complete with new artwork, as well as in standalone CD and digital formats.

Must hear: My Head Is Spinning

22: Devo: ‘50 Years Of De-Evolution (1973-2023)’ (2LP/2CD)

Accurately described by frontman Mark Mothersbaugh as “a great cross-section of early experiments and later creations”, 50 Years Of De-Evolution pretty much does as it says on the tin, presenting 50 classic and rare tracks from Akron, Ohio’s finest on CD (or, alternatively, in a truncated, 25-track configuration on vinyl). On this occasion, the CD format yields the most covetable treasure, with the first disc housing most of the really crucial early gear (Whip It, Mongoloid, Come Back Jonee and the group’s still-startling, herky-jerky cover of The Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction), while the second disc rounds up the harder-to-source stuff including the Booji Boy versions of Mongoloid and Jocko Homo and a 1974 demo of I’m A Potato.

Must hear: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

21: 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)

20: Van Morrison: ‘Moondance: Deluxe Vinyl Edition’ (3LP + 7” + Blu-ray)

Van Morrison’s otherworldly second album, 1968’s Astral Weeks, was critically acclaimed, but it initially sold poorly, leaving its follow-up, Moondance, to put the Belfast Cowboy’s solo career on a more viable commercial footing. The result of sessions at New York City’s A&M Studios, with a simpatico backing outfit in tow (“the type of band I dig, two horns and a rhythm section”, Morrison said of the group), the album marked the singer-songwriter’s first self-production, and it included a number of his best-loved and most enduring songs, courtesy of Into The Mystic, Brand New Day and the jazzy title track.

Soulful, confident and often highly accessible, Moondance went Top 40 on both sides of the Atlantic early in 1970, and it’s remained a “must-have” ever since. Its new vinyl edition – featuring a new Steven Wilson mix and an additional Atmos mix – ensures it sits proudly among the best reissues of 2023.

Must hear: Into The Mystic

19: Yes: ‘The Yes Album: Super Deluxe Edition’ (4CD + LP + Blu-ray)

Steve Howe has said that 1971’s The Yes Album “represents to me the invention of 70s Yes”, and it’s not hard to hear why the guitarist holds it in such high regard. Including some of the best Yes songs to date, such as Yours Is No Disgrace, the suitably spacy Starship Trooper and Jon Anderson’s proto-eco-lament, Perpetual Change, the album showcased the prog-rock pioneers hitting an early creative peak, and it rewarded them with their commercial breakthrough, going Top 5 in the UK and even scraping the Top 40 of the Billboard 200.

Now returning in super-deluxe form, the newly-remastered version of The Yes Album includes a trove of rarities, including two previously unreleased concerts from 1971 – the first, from Gothenburg, Sweden, taped just a few weeks before the album’s original release, and the second recorded during the band’s post-release US tour – in addition to fresh mixes from the much in-demand Steven Wilson.

Must hear: Starship Trooper

18: Jethro Tull: ‘The Broadsword And The Beast: 40th Anniversary Edition’ (5CD+3DVD/4LP box set)

Widely regarded as one of Jethro Tull’s most adventurous releases, 1982’s The Broadsword And The Beast wowed fans and critics alike with its distinctive blend of rock, folk, progressive influences and a liberal use of synthesisers aligned with frontman Ian Anderson’s masterful storytelling. Forty years later, the album returns as a contender for one of the best reissues of 2023, in a bumper package which includes new mixes from Steven Wilson, plus demos, rough mixes, live recordings and sessions from 1981. Indeed, the 5CD+3DVD “Monster Edition” also includes a 164-page book with interviews with band members; a track-by-track annotation by Ian Anderson; an interview with sleeve illustrator Iain McCaig; and even a recreation of the original 1982 tour programme.

Must hear: Broadsword

17: 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)

16: New Order: ‘Substance 1987’ (4CD/2LP/double cassette)

New Order steadfastly observed Joy Division’s ethos of releasing non-album singles for the first five years of their career, meaning that the two-disc Substance 1987 – which collected all their singles to date, including Ceremony, Blue Monday and Thieves Like Us – was manna from heaven for fans who had long since craved a one-stop collection of the group’s standalone 12”s.

Originally released in 1987, while the legendary Mancunians’ profile was rising significantly in the US, Substance 1987 also included the singles’ attendant B-sides, along with newly updated recordings of both Temptation and Confusion, and two new tracks, True Faith and 1963. Promoted by the single release of the former (which went Top 5 in the UK), the album sold a million copies and has remained an essential purchase ever since. Sitting among the best reissues of 2023, this deluxe edition includes additional rarities and a previously unreleased concert, from Irvine Meadows, California, where the band uniquely played the entirety of Substance 1987 in sequence.

Must hear: True Faith

15: 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

14: The Replacements: ‘Tim: Let It Bleed Edition’ (4CD+LP box set)

The Replacements’ fourth full-length album, Tim, was the group’s major-label debut for Sire Records, and also pegged as the one to provide the band with their commercial breakthrough. In keeping with the history of this singular yet wayward US Midwest band, that didn’t happen, though Tim was still a brilliant record, with songs such as Kiss Me On The Bus, Bastards Of Young and the poignant Here Comes A Regular demonstrating frontman Paul Westerberg’s rapidly developing songwriting skills.

One ’Mats fans have long craved, Tim: Let It Bleed Edition is built around a stunning new mix of the original 1985 album by legendary producer/engineer Ed Stasium (Ramones, Talking Heads) and features a collection of previously unheard tracks (Sons Of No One: Rare & Unreleased) and a classic concert from 1986 (Not Ready For Prime Time). Undoubtedly one of the best reissues of 2023, the new edition of Tim includes 65 tracks in total – 50 of which have never been released before.

Must hear: Bastards Of Young

13: 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

12: 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)

11: 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

10: 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

9: 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

8: Bob Dylan: ‘Fragments: Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series Vol.17’ (5CD)

Released in January, via Legacy Recordings, the deluxe five-disc edition of Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) includes a remix of Dylan’s critically acclaimed, multiple-Grammy-winning Time Out Of Mind album, in addition to three discs’ worth of fascinating outtakes, alternative versions and unreleased tracks from the sessions, plus a further disc of live recordings. In smaller quantities, 4LP and 10LP editions were also issued, allowing Dylan aficionados with deeper pockets to invest in what Rolling Stone called a forensic, “under-the-microscope treatment” of the original album, but there’s also a more concise 2CD overview available for those on tighter budgets.

Must hear: Not Dark Yet

7: 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

6: Aretha Franklin: ‘A Portrait Of The Queen (1970-1974)’ (6LP/5CD)

Very much a release which does exactly what it says on the tin – or, in this case, the lavishly appointed box set – A Portrait Of The Queen (1970-1974) rounds up the first five studio albums the “Queen Of Soul” recorded during the 70s: This Girl’s In Love With You, Spirit In The Dark (both 1970), Young, Gifted And Black (1972), Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) (1973) and Let Me In Your Life (1974).

All five titles cracked the Top 30 of the Billboard 200 on release, with the widely acclaimed Young, Gifted And Black also going gold. Each of these albums contains an embarrassment of riches among the best Aretha Franklin songs, with the icon turning in stellar performances on both covers (The Dark End Of The Street, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, Honest I Do) and self-penned material (Spirit In The Dark, Day Dreaming, Oh Baby), while her glorious, gospel-imbued take on The Beatles’ Let It Be was famously released two months before the Fab Four issued their own version as a single.

To seal an already tempting deal, all the titles in A Portrait Of The Queen have been newly remastered, while the vinyl edition has a bonus disc of alternate versions, outtakes and demos not included in the CD edition. Both sets include booklets featuring sleevenotes by Gail Mitchell and David Nathan.

Must hear: Let It Be

5: 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

 

4: Prince: ‘Diamonds And Pearls: Super Deluxe Edition’ (7CD+Blu-ray/12LP+Blu-ray box set)

Assisted by a virtuosic new backing band, The New Power Generation, Prince aligned his trademark sexy funk with the sample-friendly sound of hip-hop on 1991’s Diamonds And Pearls album: a sleek, multi-million-selling addition to the artist’s canon which yielded six singles, including the classy title track. Now returning in exhaustive, super-deluxe form, Diamonds And Pearls is a jewel in the reissues crown for the Prince faithful. This box set proffers 47 previously unreleased audio tracks and over two hours of high-definition live concert footage spread across multiple discs, in addition to a 120-page hardback book with rare and unseen photos, an introduction from Public Enemy legend Chuck D and insightful essays from Prince archivist Duane Tudahl, Minneapolis music historian Andrea Swensson and Prince biographer Jason Draper.

Must hear: Diamonds And Pearls

3: Joni Mitchell: ‘Archives Vol.3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975)’ (4LP/5CD box set)

The latest in Rhino’s series of Joni Mitchell catalogue collections, Archives Vol.3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975) is another must-have for aficionados, as it includes early demos and alternate versions of tracks from the sessions for Mitchell classics For The Roses (1972), Court And Spark (1974) and The Hissing Of Summer Lawns, in addition to several highly covetable live recordings, including a 1972 performance at Carnegie Hall, plus highlights from sessions recorded with James Taylor, Neil Young, and Graham Nash and David Crosby. Taken together, the best Archives Vol.3 songs offer invaluable insight into Mitchell’s unique artistry.

Must hear: Like Veils Said Lorraine

2: Stevie Nicks: ‘Complete Studio Albums And Rarities’ (16LP/10CD box set)

As its title suggests, Complete Studio Albums And Rarities is a weighty, exhaustive collection of Stevie Nicks’ solo releases outside of Fleetwood Mac, ranging from 1981’s widely-acclaimed, multi-platinum-selling Bella Donna album through to 2014’s 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault, with the addition of the enticing, self-explanatory Rarities: a new compilation of hard-to-source tracks exclusive to this set, including Nicks’ contributions to film and television soundtracks, such as Blue Lamp (from Heavy Metal) and Free Fallin’ (Party Of Five), plus her most recent release, an emotive 2022 cover of Buffalo Springfield’s classic protest song For What It’s Worth.

Must hear: Leather And Lace

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

Buy the best reissues of 2023, and more, at the Dig! store.

Original article: 18 April 2023

Updated: 31 July 2023. 26 October 2023. 4 December 2023

More Like This

Best Record Store Day 2024 Vinyl: 20 Releases You Need To Buy
List & Guides

Best Record Store Day 2024 Vinyl: 20 Releases You Need To Buy

Incendiary live recordings and an unreleased David Bowie album are essential purchases among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Best Albums Of 2024: 10 Essential Releases Of The Year
List & Guides

Best Albums Of 2024: 10 Essential Releases Of The Year

From waves of neo-psychedelia to lashings of pop-punk ire, the best albums of 2024 prove this year has been packed with watershed moments.

Sign up to our newsletter

Be the first to hear about new releases, upcoming events, and more from Dig!

Sign Up