"The London Years" Compared To The 3 "Singles" Box Sets
Mark Wilson | Huntington, WV USA | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The purpose of this review is to completely compare the contents of "Singles Collection: The London Years" to the 3 "Singles" box sets which as a group contain the same songs plus more. There are some good comparisons in the other reviews, but also several omissions and inaccuracies, so hopefully this 1-to-1 comparison will clear things up a bit as to what songs are included on each, and which "missing" songs can also be found on the other ABKCO CD's, particularly "More Hot Rocks: Big Hits & Fazed Cookies". Each of these collections is rather expensive, so hopefully this may help you decide which sets you really need or want.
To settle one thing first though, the songs on the "Got Live If You Want It" EP contained in the "Singles 1963-1965" box set are NOT included on the full length CD "Got Live If You Want It". They share the same title but that's all, and were actually two different releases. Buying the full length CD will NOT get you all the same songs on the EP as indicated in another review. With that out of the way.....
"Singles 1963-1965": "Singles Collection: The London Years" contains all of the songs included in this box set, with the exception of 3 original British EP's exclusive to the box set. The first EP contains You Better Move On (also available on "December's Children") and Poison Ivy, Bye Bye Johnny & Money (all 3 also available on "More Hot Rocks: Big Hits & Fazed Cookies"). The second EP (originally titled "5 X 5") contains If You Need Me, Empty Heart, 2120 South Michigan Avenue, Confessin' The Blues and Around & Around, all of which are also available on the "12 X 5" CD. The third EP (the afore mentioned "Got Live If You Want It") contains early live versions of We Want The Stones, Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Pain In My Heart, Route 66, I'm Movin On & I'm Alright, none of which are available on any other CD (with the possible exception of I'm Alright which may or may not be the same version included on the full-length "Got Live..." CD).
Conclusion: Both "The London Years" and "Singles 63-65" contain the early single/B-sides Come On (also available on "More Hot Rocks") as well as I Want To Be Loved, I Wanna Be Your Man & Stoned which aren't available on any other ABKCO CD. So both sets contain 3 songs not included elsewhere, plus the box set includes the live EP. So the deciding factor between "The London Years" and "Singles 63-65" would appear to be the live EP.
"Singles 1965-1967": "Singles Collection: The London Years" contains all of the songs included in this 2nd box set, with no exceptions. Both contain the single/B-sides Long Long While & We Love You (also available on "More Hot Rocks") and Sad Day & Who's Driving Your Plane? which aren't available on any other ABKCO CD. So both sets contain 2 songs not included elsewhere. No further conclusions.
"Singles 1968-1971": "Singles Collection: The London Years" contains all of the songs included in this 3rd box set, with a few unique exceptions. The third box set additionally contains Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (also available on "The Rolling Stones Now!") and three non-ABKCO B-sides + 3 remixes exclusive to the box set. The B-sides are the Ry Cooder instrumental Natural Magic (from the film "Performance" soundtrack...Memo From Turner was the A-side) and Bitch & Sway which were the B-sides to Brown Sugar & Wild Horses. My guess is the licensing rights to these B-sides belong to Virgin Records, etc. and hadn't yet been negotiated when "The London Years" was originally released back in 1989. The remixes appear to be 3 different "rap" style remixes of Sympathy For The Devil. The box set also contains a bonus DVD (see the item description for more on that).
Conclusion: Both "The London Years" and "Singles 68-71" contain the B-side Child Of The Moon (also available on "More Hot Rocks") and Brown Sugar & Wild Horses (also available on "Hot Rocks 1"). So the deciding factor between "The London Years" and "Singles 68-71" would appear to be the three non-ABKCO B-sides, the three remixes and the DVD contained in the box set.
Final Conclusion: For the completest collector who has to have absolutely everything on CD, you basically have 2 choices. Buy all 3 box sets, or buy "Singles Collection: The London Years" and the two box sets "Singles 63-65" & "Singles 68-71" (a lot of duplication, though "The London Years" runs a little cheaper than the box sets + you don't have to change CD's as often).
A slightly cheaper option if you're mainly interested in completing the ABKCO Rolling Stones "canon" not released on the regular studio full-length CD's is to buy "Singles Collection: The London Years" and "Singles 1963-1965". You'd only be missing the three non-ABKCO B-sides and the 3 Sympathy For The Devil remixes.
A cheaper option still, if you're only interested in the very early singles & live EP and can live without a few later ABKCO B-Sides, is to buy "More Hot Rocks: Big Hits & Fazed Cookies" and "Singles 1963-1965". With those 2 you'd only be missing Sad Day, Who's Driving Your Plane? and the three non-ABKCO B-sides and the 3 remixes.
In truth, the 2nd & 3rd discs of "Singles Collection: The London Years" make an interesting listen because each is primarily made up of A & B sides not included on the regular studio CD's. So they're almost like listening to independent CD's without repeating too many songs you'll hear when listening to the other albums. The 2nd disc from "More Hot Rocks" and also "Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)" do the same, only with different selections of songs, so comparing these two further is highly recommended as well.
Decisions, decisions. Hope this helps."