Box Sets, Reissues, Vinyl — July 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

‘The Smiths — Complete’ box set: 8 albums on vinyl, CD; plus 25 7-inch singles, DVD

The U.K. arm of Rhino Records this fall will release The Smiths — Complete, a “super deluxe collectors’ box set” that will feature remastered versions of the band’s eight albums on both CD and 180-gram audiophile vinyl, plus all 25 of the group’s singles on individual 7-inches — as well as prints, posters and a DVD of music videos.

Packaged in a “heavyweight trunk” and limited to 3,000 copies worldwide, the colossal box set is slated to ship Oct. 3, and is priced at £249.99 — or about U.S. $410 — through It’s not yet clear whether Rhino’s U.S. operation also will release the Smiths collection.

The heart of the set are the band’s eight albums — The Smiths, Meat is Murder, The Queen is Dead and Strangeways Here We Come, plus compilations Hatful of Hollow, The World Won’t Listen and Louder Than Bombs, and the live album Rank — that have been remastered by guitarist Johnny Marr and engineer Frank Arkwright from “the original tape sources.”

In a statement announcing the release, Marr is quoted as saying, “I’m very happy that the remastered versions of The Smiths albums are finally coming out. I wanted to get them sounding right and remove any processing so that they now sound as they did when they were originally made. I’m pleased with the results.”

According to Rhino, The Smiths — Complete includes the following:

  • All eight albums on CD featuring mini-LP replica packaging with gatefold card wallets
  • All eight albums on 180-gram audiophile vinyl (five single LPs and three doubles)
  • Twenty-five 7-inches featuring all of the band’s singles with “specially reproduced rarities”
  • A 36-inch by 24-inch poster of all album and single cover artwork
  • “The Complete Picture” DVD featuring all of the band’s music videos
  • An eight-page, 12-inch booklet featuring “expanded liner notes”
  • Eight-inch by 12-inch art prints of each album cover’s artwork
  • Code to download band’s entire catalog as high-quality, 320kbps MP3 files

Marr’s remasterings of the four original studio albums were released on vinyl in 2009, and the Smiths’ 7-inch singles have been collected in a box set already, as well — both of which ex-frontman Morrissey has urged fans not to buy, claiming he wouldn’t see any money from them.

This new set, however, marks the first time the new remasterings are being released on CD, albeit without any bonus material appended. Previously, the work by Marr and Arkwright only was available on Rhino’s 2CD compilation The Sound of the Smiths, released in 2008.

For fans not prepared to pay $400, Rhino U.K. also is releasing a limited-edition vinyl box set — just 1,000 copies worldwide — that features the eight albums on 180-gram vinyl, plus the liner-notes booklet and poster. That set retails for £149.99, or about $245.

There also will be a CD-only box set released Sept. 26 and priced at £34.99, or about $57.





  1. Extra track and a tacky badge.

  2. Johnny Eyeballs

    I really want to be excited but i’m not. For that price and low amount of sets, you’d think that Marr could have at least autographed something- or include something special with the set?

  3. If ‘The Sound of The Smiths’ is any indication to what these albums will sound like, then I’m not interested. Marr had the songs mastered “hot,” which just sucked the life out of them for me. TSoTS was a missed opportunity, and I hope they wise up with this release. “Louder” does not equal “better.”

    • Not having heard TSoTS, but seeing your comment, I had to laugh when I read Marr’s “quote” from a “released statement”. Having written many press releases in my day, I can tell you that the people quoted in those documents never EVER say the things they’re quoted as saying. Those quotes are made up to suit the goals of the press release by the person who wrote the rest of the release.

      If what you say is true and the remastering job was a brickwall disaster, then this makes this set an easy pass. The principal draw for me is a 180g audiophile vinyl remastered (properly, mind you) version of “Hatful of Hollow”.

      Warner/Rhino know damn well this is the compilation that hardcore fans love, and have withheld releasing it on its own which is unbelievably cynical, but good marketing.

      I feel like this is the box set I’ve been waiting since middle school for, but if I’m not sure that the remastering was done properly, it’s impossible for me to consider shelling out $330 for just the vinyl set to be shipped from Britain.

      Moreover, I called Rhino to inquire after a domestic release of this box set and was told that Rhino UK & Rhino US almost never release the same content, meaning this will not see a stateside release if that is to be believed.

  4. “high quality mp3”,i shake my head in shame whenever i see that,should be flac,now if this were an sacd set I’d be all over it,the vinyl looks tempting though :)

    • Why? For MP3, 320 IS “high quality.” If they said “high quality digital files” and provided 320s, you may shake your head in shame all you want. But format-shmormat. It should be far more disappointing if the remasters are truly brickwalled and sound like crap FLAC or not. Has Marr gone deaf after all these years?

      • Gretschguy

        Totally agree with Ferndave — the orignal LPs in 256 kBps beat the pants off of 24 bit / 96 kHz of the “Marr” remasters because the damage done by the brickwalling is so substantial. I bought “The Queen Is Dead” on vinyl and ripped it to 24 bit / 96 kHz and it sounds totally sucked of life.
        What was Marr thinking????

        The best thing to do is find the original vinyl — why remaster vinyl when it was done so well originally???

        • Really? People complaining about these smiths remastered vinyls? I will tell you that perhaps the single vinyl release/remaster of queen is dead was perhaps a bit louder, but the complete boxset vinyl sounds terrific, an easy five-star release. other bands should be so lucky to get the kind of reissue vinyl the smiths got. they should BE SO LUCKY.

  5. solmaxlenny

    How about a nice single compilation cd with the “rarities” on it instead of this behemoth

    • You obviously don’t work in marketing. ;-) That stuff, my friend, is what they hold back to get you to buy this behemoth.

  6. Alberto Ballesteros

    I want it cant wait….love the box set.

  7. i. want. all. of. it.

  8. Lee McKnight

    So when it’s all said and done, $330 for just the vinyl with shipping? Such a downer. This would also be my dream box set. You’re going to pay more than $40 to get Hatful online, doing a quick search online for example, bu the remastering scares me. Damn.

    • Gretschguy

      Lee, you should be scared of the remastering. As I noted above, I wasted money on the 2009 Marr remasters on vinyl and they are lifeless — too much brickwalling — about 5db to 10db of reduction in dynamic range. That’s going backwards not forwards. The originals sound much better. It’s most notable in the drums, they are completely dull — so the recording lacks snap and punch, also sounds bad the louder you turn it up which is common with brickwalling.

      I ripped the vinyl to 24 bit / 96 kHz and it sounds lousy compared to the orignal vinyl.

      Although it sounds zippy on the iTunes store if that’s where people want to listen to it!

    • I payed about £7 for hatful.

  9. Would love to win a free copy! Slicing Up Eyeballs… I’m looking at you :)

  10. Gretschguy

    I have to agree with several of the others who posted that the Marr “supervised” remasters sucked the life out of the originals. I was excited to buy “The Queen Is Dead” on vinyl only to rip it and realize that the original CD sounded better than this remaster. They just made the recording louder / hotter so that it could sound louder on iTunes, that has no value with a vinyl release. So I don’t get it. Why buy a remaster that sounds less intense just so the band can get some more sales from iTunes on the mp3 version. Goofy. Meanwhile, I’m going to hunt down the orignal vinyls — maybe the price will come down on the vintage stuff due to these lame remasters.

    • on remasters in general: sometimes, the ‘magic’ of hearing that recording for the first time, and, the years its companionship burnt itself into your memories, is totally lost on remasters. the new life and clarity remasters often have, is a let down. in other views, a remaster can let you hear an angle of a sound or clarify a word thats been sung that you misheard ALL these years. for me, and this new smiths remaster, ive not had a chance to listen to everything, or back to back, but subtle things are just different (note, not improved). on meat is murder, ‘well i wonder’, i really hear the acoustic guitar more. ‘what she said’ its very clear morrissey is saying (tattooed boy from “birkenhead”, (up til now i though he was saying birmingham). im not one to google a song for song lyrics, so i never knew this, up til now with the remasters.

      sometimes its the other way around, the US cd of ‘yaz’ “Upstairs at erics” was so murky. the UK pressing of the cd besides the 2 bonus tracks, was so much clearer.

      the cocteau twins remasters.. hmm, all the murky mystery was GONE in the remasters, i dont think i re-listened since.

      i’m glad i have multiple pressings of things, cause like the peter gabriel original vs. sacd there are SO many differences. on the depeche mode ones, sadly, its very awkward. to the point where ‘oh geez, martin sings that line on the original version, this is dave singing it!’, so little surprises happen.

  11. The Queen IS dead!
    What a lousy remaster.
    Sounds like there is an alignment problem between the head and master tape.
    Personally my original vinyl sounds much better.
    Quality down the pan….it’s such a shame.

  12. also wanted to say that any time you allow mp3 downloads over the net for vinyl buys, the quality should ALWAYS be lossless. Anything less is a total shame and a waste of my time. Shows what you really think of the fans (fruit easily plucked).

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