As I dive once more into the 80s music nostalgia, one band I plan on checking out is Ultravox. I’ve always heard great things about them (both the John Foxx and the Midge Ure years), and I even owned the greatest hits and Vienna albums, but I never actually sat down to listen to them very closely. Chalk it up to being one of those bands I’d hear on the radio or MTV but could never find their stuff at the mall. [And when I did see them at the various record stores, often I’d be reserving my money for something else I was looking for.]
This past Christmas I finally got their box set The Albums 1980-2012 (aka the Midge Ure era), and during our visit to southern California this past weekend, I stopped in at Amoeba to pick up the John Foxx era box, Island Years. These cover all but two 90s albums (Revelation and Ingenuity, essentially keyboardist Billy Currie with a newer lineup) and only the latter box contains single sides and ephemera, but th0se are easily acquired online if I’m further interested in completing the discography.
I do love the career-spanning box sets, especially the ‘album collection’ ones, as it gives the new listener — or like me, the once-passive fan who wants to hear more — the ability to check out a band’s discography at a relatively decent price. I’ve bought quite a few of these over the years: Roxy Music’s The Complete Studio Recordings, Nilsson’s The RCA Albums Collection, Lloyd Cole & the Commotions’ Collected Recordings 1983-89, and The Boomtown Rats’ Classic Album Selection, to name a few. Not all of them are complete (there’s often a few items missing, like a cover or a live track or a b-side), but they’re complete enough to provide an excellent overview. Sure, they can be expensive, but sometimes you can find a great deal. Some are even available as mp3s, cutting the cost almost in half sometimes.
I’m looking forward to listening to these two Ultravox boxes!