Friday, February 1, 2008

"Limited-edition box set shows every side of Pink Floyd"


The following is not a misprint. Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" has been on one Billboard chart or another for 1,589 weeks. Issued in the spring of 1973, it was certainly the best-selling of their 14 studio albums and has been reissued on CD a number of times.

But it's never before been released with the other 13 studio albums of the revered English band — until now. "Oh By The Way" (Capitol/EMI) is a remarkable limited-edition box set with all the long-players — minus any greatest hits collections — featuring the original covers, any posters or special treats that came with the originals and even the varied artwork that graced the vinyl disc label.

It begins with their debut, "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn," from the summer of 1967, and wraps up with "Division Bell," out in the spring of 1994.

A project this huge hardly requires unreleased tracks, outtakes of classics or the usual DVD of a movie or studio adventures that often accompany big boxes by big stars.

But, it's still a pretty cool set.

For example, "Wish You Were Here" (the one with the guy on fire on the cover) even has the black shrink-wrap that covered the vinyl original along with a postcard. There are two posters and a couple of stickers with "Dark Side" and the rounded corners and blurry art of 1972's "Obscured By Clouds."

"Echoes," the double-disc best-of that came out in 2001 was a great collection of album tracks and their relatively few hit singles — only five in this country — but the group often fashioned their releases as a conceptual work to be heard in its entirety, not as a collection of possible singles or unrelated songs.

This unique collection chronicles their progression from what Rolling Stone once called "a moderately successful acid-rock band" before "Dark Side Of The Moon" to one of the most successful and influential groups in rock history.

The well-chronicled animosity between some of the original members makes it likely this box will be the ultimate Pink Floyd collection. That may be a shame, but fans can at least revel in this sprawling overview of their output while hoping against hope the grumpy old guys can once again work together.

**FYI: This box set is made up of vinyl'esque compact discs, not vinyl records... - Ace:)

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