Sign O' The Times (Super Deluxe CD)
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Audio CD, 25 September 2020
- Product Dimensions : 33.2 x 35.99 x 5.51 cm; 2.44 Kilograms
- Manufacturer : Warner Music
- Original Release Date : 2020
- Run time : 9 hours and 40 minutes
- Label : Warner Music
- ASIN : B08BMSF4XT
- Number of discs : 8
- Customer Reviews:
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The Prince estate, in partnership with Warner records, announces expanded reissue of Prince's epochal double album Sign O' The Times. Following the successful release of the 1999 Super Deluxe Edition in the fall of 2019, the Sign O' The Times Super Deluxe Edition represents the deepest dive to date into Prince's vault, and includes a total of 92 audio tracks across eight CDs and 13 180g vinyl records. The Super Deluxe Edition brings fans all the audio material that Prince officially released in 1987, as well as 45 previously unissued studio songs recorded between May 1979 and July 1987, and a complete live audio performance from the June 20, 1987 stop on the Sign O' The Times Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In addition, both CD and vinyl sets also boast a brand-new DVD containing the complete, previously unreleased New Year's Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park on December 31, 1987, which was Prince's final performance of the Sign O' The Times Tour stage show and his only on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis. The Super Deluxe Edition set also features a 120-page hardcover book containing Prince's previously unseen handwritten lyrics for many of the songs from the era, including the hits "U Got The Look," "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," and "Hot Thing," iconic unseen images from the era taken by Prince's primary photographer in the mid-1980s to early 90s, Jeff Katz, plus images of archive assets including original analog tape reels and studio tracking sheets. The Super Deluxe Edition book is completed with brand-new liner notes by Prince's creative peers and friends Dave Chappelle (in conversation with photographer Mathieu Bitton) and Lenny Kravitz; Prince's longtime engineer Susan Rogers; Daphne A. Brooks, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University; Minneapolis radio host and author Andrea Swenson, host of the Official Prince Podcast; and Prince scholar Duane Tudahl. The Sign O' The Times Super Deluxe Edition shines a forensic light on the creative output of this truly unique musician, songwriter, producer, and performer at a pivotal point in his career and demonstrates why his unsurpassed body of work continues to generate so much love and passion around the world.
From the manufacturer
“I feel that we’re on the brink of something. It is going to be strict and wild and pretty.” — Prince, 1986
The Super Deluxe Edition brings fans all the audio material that Prince officially released in 1987, as well as 45 previously unissued studio songs recorded between May 1979 and July 1987, and a complete live audio performance from the June 20, 1987 stop on the Sign O’ The Times Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
In addition, both CD and vinyl sets also boast a brand-new DVD containing the complete, previously unreleased New Year’s Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park on December 31, 1987, which was Prince’s final performance of the Sign O’ The Times Tour stage show and his only on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis.
The Super Deluxe Edition set also features a 120-page hardcover book containing Prince’s previously unseen handwritten lyrics for many of the songs from the era, including the hits “U Got The Look,” “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man,” and “Hot Thing,” iconic unseen images from the era taken by Prince’s primary photographer in the mid-1980s to early 90s, Jeff Katz, plus images of archive assets including original analog tape reels and studio tracking sheets.
The Super Deluxe Edition book is completed with brand-new liner notes by Prince’s creative peers and friends Dave Chappelle (in conversation with photographer Mathieu Bitton) and Lenny Kravitz; Prince’s longtime engineer Susan Rogers; Daphne A. Brooks, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University; Minneapolis radio host
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With the release (and quick disappearance) of the 1999 deluxe edition, I didn't hesitate to purchase this one. The previously released Purple Rain deluxe had some questionable remastering done and the bonus tracks weren't exactly quality sound. 1999 sadly went out of stock before I could get my paws on it. This was due to the abnormally high price that they generally asked. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the price drop and eventually it disappeared. Only to re-appear as a horrendously expensive collectors item. So, I was glad that I managed to pick this one up on time and I certainly haven't regretted it.
I honestly didn't expect this book to be as big and heavy as it was. I was considerably impressed with the overall quality when I took it out of the box. The actual cardboard box it arrived in featured the album logo on it. A nice little touch. The outer case is fairly sturdy and I can't see it being damaged at all. It looks great with lots of bright colours bursting out of the album cover. The book inside with all the discs and pictures etc is also very well put together. The photographs are all nice and clear. The text is a good size and is very easy to read. I would have preferred that the discs were held in small slip cases instead of being slotted into a little pouch. Sometimes this can cause scratches to the discs. But that's just a little gripe and I wouldn't say it takes away from the overall product.
According to the sources online, this Sign o' the Times deluxe box-set collects all the available recordings that Prince made in 1987. There's a total of forty five previously unreleased studio recordings and a complete two hour double disc live show recorded on June 20th, 1987 in Utrecht during the albums European tour. The super deluxe edition features eight CDs in total. The original album is on discs one and two. Disc three features album singles and extended 12" renditions. Discs four, five and six features all of the unreleased extras. These three discs themselves are the real gem of the box-set. There's a few duds in there but the majority of the four hours of music is to die for. The live show, The final performance of the Sign o' the Times tour, it's spread over discs seven and eight. It's a New Years Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park. The book features a mass of fantastic photos from Jeff Katz and Prince's archives. There's also a lot of liner notes from the likes of Dave Chappelle, Lenny Kravitz, engineer Susan Rogers and many more. It's an impressive looking beast of a set.
All the music in this box-set was remastered by Bernie Grundman. He has clearly put a lot of effort into making sure the that album, all the b-sides, 12" singles, dub mixes etc are all of the highest quality. Until I acquired this box-set, I honestly didn't think Sign 'o the Times needed a remaster. But after hearing what Bernie has done for the album, I am glad they went ahead with it. The music has been given a nice subtle kick up the rear. The guitar has more bite, the bass and drums are clearer with a bit more lower end to them. It gives the music a little extra kick. Of course, the real die hard fan will be concerned about whether the music has been brick walled or not. Thankfully, it has not and not just that, it's considerably nicer on the ears than the original CDs. Gone are the little tape hisses etc found on the original prints. This is about as immaculate as music can get. You'll find this sign copy is a hair louder than the old copy but subtle enough that it makes no real difference. The live album on discs seven and eight is a little quiet than the album itself. I'm not sure if that's down to the recording itself or if it was a choice during the remastering process. The live show is really good. It's a warts and all performance, sounding good and consistent through out.
I have been listening to Prince for just over fifteen years now. I'm not what you'd call a die hard fan. I don't know the history, all the information on everything released here. That isn't my thing. But from a purely listening experience, this collection is an easy 10/10. It's beautifully packaged, superbly remastered and all the unreleased goodies are to die for. If you're looking for more '80s Prince to add to your collection, this Sign o' the Times box-set isn't even worth questioning. It's a must buy, end of. Don't question it. You'll love it!
Update: second replacement box also contains scuffed discs.
Had to return this set for a refund as I think you would have to be extremely lucky to receive an undamaged set.
Ironically my 25+ year old original double cd of this album is still scratch free due to it being housed in a regular Jewel Case.
What a shame..
Music wise, the first 2 discs are the original 1987 remastered and it sounds absolutely fantastic. The 3rd disc has b-sides, single edits and promo bits but to my ears it is discs 4, 5 and 6 - 3 discs of previously unreleased material from The Vault - amazingly clear (no bootleg quality here) of material that grew during sessions for what would have been 'Dream Factory', 'Camille', 'Crystal Ball' before being omitted from the final 'Sign O The Times' configuration. So good that I've had them playing through my headphones almost non-stop for the last 18 hours.
Discs 7 & 8 are audio of a live 1987 Concert from Holland with true soundboard quality. Finally you have a DVD concert from New Year at the end of 1987 - the last concert of the SoT tour ending at Minneapolis.
For those of you hesitating at the price - don't. It's worth every penny and an investment. Once it sells out I can imagine this popping up on other sites for near £250-£300 (and then you really will be kicking yourselves).
It is a shame that we had to lose an artist of Prince' calibre to get to see this type of release - I cannot imagine it would have ever been released in his lifetime. But it is a truly emotional experience to listen through this whole collection and know that we lived in the in the same moment of time as this musical genius...
An insult to Prince.
Edit: I received a replacement and it was exactly the same. It was different pages that were damaged this time and it was different discs that were scuffed/scratched this time, but ultimately just as disappointing. For the price this is a terrible product. Not Amazon's fault though and they were very good about refunding it.