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article imageThe Ultimate Music Gift-Giving Guide for Christmas

By Earl Dittman     Dec 15, 2011 in Entertainment
For that hardcore music lover on your Christmas list, pick up one of these highly-collectable, Top Ten collections. From The Smiths to Etta James, there is something to fill the stocking of the rocker to the soulster in your life.
This year, there have been several great music compilations, Best Of's and career collections released for the penultimate music fan in your life. You're bound to have at least one of those music aficionados that you want to give them the best gift you can find. Here are ten of the best collections that’ll make great musical presents on Christmas morning.
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Rhino
The Smiths
Complete
Often imitated, rarely matched, The Smiths have grown to be one of Britain's most influential groups. No band since has truly captured the incredible dynamic of Johnny Marr's musical genius and Morrissey's lyricism. Completed by Andy Rourke on bass and Mike Joyce on drums, the band is often cited as the precursor to the Britpop movement. For the first time ever, eight albums by The Smiths, each fully remastered by Marr, in one ultimate collection. Complete includes all four of the band's studio albums -- The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986), Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) and their sole live album, Rank (1988). They are complemented by three fan favorite compilations: Hatful Of Hollows (1984), The World Won't Listen (1987) and Louder Than Bombs (1987).
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Rhino
Marr and engineer Frank Arkwright remastered all eight albums using the original tape sources. Complete is available in CD and vinyl versions. The CD box set version features each album packaged in a mini-LP replica sleeve complete with the original artwork, including gatefold and inner sleeves where relevant. The vinyl box set version consists of the original albums -- five single LPs and three doubles - pressed on 180-gram audiophile vinyl and presented in all their 12" glory with beautifully restored artwork. The is also A Deluxe Collector's Edition for the ultimate fan which includes a DVD of their performances, 25 of their 7" vinyl singles and much, much more. (Rhino)
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UMe
Elvis Costello & The Imposters
The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook
The Elvis Costello & the Imposters: The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook is a limited edition box set that includes a 3-disc live CD, DVD and 10” vinyl EP. A popular fan hit and critically-acclaimed record, Elvis Costello & the Imposters: The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook was recorded over a 2-night stand at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011 and includes such classics as "Pump It Up," "Busted," "Brilliant Mistake," "Radio Radio" and "Watching The Detectives." Limited to 1500 copies worldwide, each set is individually numbered with a special commemoration card personally signed by Elvis Costello. (UMe)
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Verve
Etta James
The Dreamer
For over half a century, Etta James has all but defined the role of the quintessential rhythm & blues vocalist. She transcends all musical categories and styles with a recording career that spans more than five decades. This monumental release not only marks her first album in five years, it will be her final studio album before she retires, capping off an incredible fifty-year recording career. The Dreamer features her one-of-a-kind renditions of Otis Redding’s “Cigarettes and Coffee” and Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Dreamer” to Ray Charles’ “In The Evening” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle.” (Verve)
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Mercury
Rush
Sectors
Sectors celebrates the legacy of Canadian rock trio Rush with the release of three separate six-disc box sets which together spans their entire historic Mercury Records recording career. Each Sector contains five of their 15 Mercury albums in chronological order, all transferred to high resolution 96kHz/24-bit audio and digitally remastered for optimal quality. The Sectors set includes such Rush hits as "Jacob's Ladder," "Entre Nous," "Tom Sawyer," " Red Barchetta," "Limelight" and "Witch Hunt," to name just a few. In addition, each volume includes an exclusive booklet packed with unpublished photos, original album lyrics and credits, and features one album from each set specially remixed on DVD in high resolution 96kHz/24-bit, 5.1 surround sound and stereo, compatible with both DVD-Audio players and DVD-Video players. Each album is packaged in a replica vinyl mini-jacket of the original album release with all three box sets forming a Rush CD road case. (Mercury Records)
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Geffen
Nirvana
Nirvana -- Live At The Paramount
Five weeks after releasing what was to become the seminal album of a generation, Nirvana was on a nationwide club and small theatre tour that brought them to Seattle’s Paramount Theatre for a very special Halloween 1991 homecoming show. Launching the nineteen song set with a brilliant cover of the Vaselines’ “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam,” the band tears through Nevermind hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Lithium” and “Breed,” plus earlier favorites like “School,” “Love Buzz” and “About A Girl” and a very early version of “Rape Me.” The Paramount concert is the only show ever shot of the band on 16mm film and has been mixed in 5.1 surround sound and stereo from the original multi-tracks. Witness the complete concert for the first time ever, Nirvana – Live At The Paramount, are available in DVD, Blu-ray and digital long form video formats. (Geffen
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A&M
Sting
Sting: 25th Anniversary -- The Definitive Box Set Collection
Sting: The Best Of 25 Years
25th Anniversary features three CDs comprised of 45 remastered tracks personally curated by Sting, including "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free," "Fortress Around Your Heart," "Bring On The Night," "I Burn For You (Live)," "Englishman In New York," "The Soul Cages," "Shape Of My Heart," "When We Dance," and many, many more. The package also includes a previously unreleased live concert DVD and a comprehensive hardcover book, This retrospective captures for the first time both the highlights and rarities of Sting’s enduring solo career. (A&M) ALSO: Sting: The Best Of 25 Years -- Features 12 remastered tracks, including several remixes and newly unearthed live recordings, selections for this compilation represent a diverse cross section of Sting’s enduring solo career. (A&M)
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Motown
Diana Ross & The Supremes
50th Anniversaries: The Singles Collection 1961-1969
The Temptations
50th Anniversaries: The Singles Collection 1961-1971
Two of the most popular and socially significant singing groups in music history celebrate their 50th anniversaries in 2011. Both the Supremes and the Temptations signed their recording contracts with Motown in 1961, launching careers that changed not only the sound and style of pop but smashed racial and cultural barriers in America and around the world. (Motown)
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Island
U2
U2: 20th Anniversary Of Achtung Baby
Recorded over six months at Hansa Studio in Berlin and Windmill Lane in Dublin, Achtung Baby is U2’s seventh studio album. Produced by longtime U2 collaborators, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno with Steve Lillywhite, Achtung Baby was engineered by Flood and led by “The Fly.” The Achtung Baby archives have unearthed some previously unreleased songs from the recording sessions. With a raft of unreleased material, video, remixes, b-sides and documentary footage discovered, a full album of demo and early versions of the final 1991 tracklisting has also been revealed. Five physical editions including vinyl, CD, DVD and digital options will be made available. This anniversary edition includes such U2 classics as "One," "Until The End Of The World," "Who Is Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses," "Zoo Station," "Mysterious Ways," "Love Is Blindness," "Zooropa" and "Numb." Full details of all formats are at achtungbaby.u2.com !). (Island)
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MCA/UMe
The Who
Quadrophenia: The Director’s Cut Boxset
A stunning ‘Director’s Cut’ of the landmark 1973 album Quadrophenia, produced, authorized and overseen by Pete Townshend, has just been released for hardcore Who fans. Considered by Pete Townshend himself to be the Who album that he is most proud of, Quadrophenia is the last album in the Who back catalogue to be given the deluxe treatment and is perhaps the most deserving. After the 1971 album Who’s Next, Pete Townshend returned to the ‘rock-opera’ concept, so dramatically realized through Tommy, with another ambitious double-album masterpiece. The album includes such classics as "I Am The Sea," "The Real Me," "The Punk And The Godfather," "The Dirty Jobs," "Helpless Dancer," "Drowned," "Doctor Jimmy" and "Love, Reign O'er Me." (MCA)
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