It is fascinating to see a collection grow from humble beginnings to a state when a special collector`s den is needed to accommodate all the stuff that you lay your hands on through the years. Contacts now extend to all the far-flung corners of the world since there are countless collectors and fans world-wide.

By far the best place to acquire records, cds, dvds and definitely a “must” for music freaks is the Utrecht record fair. Twice a year, it is the largest trading-place in the world and a veritable El Dorado.

The race is constantly on!


All The Hot Rocks
Compilation Saturation?
It’s amazing that when ABKCO Records finally decided to remaster The Rolling Stones entire 1960s catalog in the early Twenty Hundreds that they even bothered to reissue any of the compilations. Granted, the remastering effort fixed a lot of problems with the original releases – tape speeds, bad edits, wrong edits – alternate versions even. But even “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” still has a tape warble in it. Maybe they just say they did. Easier said than done.

Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US started releasing compilations in 1966 on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK Big Hits (High Tides And Green Grass) was simply the singles on one album that were not released on the albums they were recorded for. A unique release simply because it was the only album to get all of the singles on one release. In the US it was just a compilation of singles that were huge hits, regardless of whether they were already on an album or not. And the tracks were slightly different between the US and UK releases, as were the time of year when released. Even some mixes were slightly different across the ocean.

In 1967 London released the US only Flowers which included two high placing singles and some obscure albums tracks as well as (in the US) unreleased tracks. In 1969 Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) was released on both sides of the Atlantic, each one with different tracks. At the time, it was the only way to get “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women” on a full length album since both tracks were singe releases only (much like Big Hits).
Through The Past Darkly was the last Decca/London/ABKCO release The Rolling Stones had anything to do with. ABKCO would go on to release many more compilations with such great titles as Stone Age, Rolled Gold, Hot Rocks, More Hot Rocks and one of previously unreleased tracks called Metamorphosis.

The last one really pissed the Stones off – they had made up their own compilation of unreleased tracks from the 1960s called The Black Box that they felt was a better album but ABKCO beat them to the release. The Rolling Stones had no control over what ABKCO released as it was and placed adds in trade magazines letting fans know they had nothing to do with the release. It was rereleased on CD in 2002. Throughout the 1970s ABKCO released more compilations of the same songs in various sequences, usually around the time of a new Stones album, a new compilation from Rolling Stones Records and, of course, a new tour.

So The Rolling Stones finally were out of their record deal with Decca/London/ABKCO with the release of their second live album Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out and one single, “Cocksucker Blues”. They went on to form their own record label, Rolling Stones Records, with distribution through Atlantic Records and EMI in the UK. They would do three tours and release four albums before they released their first compilation, the 1975 Tour Of The Americas supporting Made In The Shade. With Black And Blue taking longer than expected, this quick release was issued a week after Metamorphosis came out.

Unfortunately, Made In The Shade was a foreshadowing of what was to come for the rest of the compilations that were to come out in the next few years. In 1979 the UK only release of Time Waits For No One Anthology 1971-1977 came out for no apparent reason other than what was written in the record contract. Same for 1981’s Sucking In The Seventies. Both albums mirrored each other in their main structure of certain songs. 1984’s Rewind, the last album on the Atlantic record deal, nailed it all on the head as the most diverse singles compilation from 1971 to 1984, even though the last chronological track on the compilation was the 1983 single “Undercover Of The Night”. In 1989, ABKCO released The Singles Collection – The London Years right before the Steel Wheels tour. It was a three disc singles anthology that was a huge seller and perhaps their greatest compilation ever – a great peak at what they really did to become famous.

After Rewind, nine years would go by until another compilation would come out. Whereas Rewind was the  contractual end of a record deal, 1993’s UK only release Jump Back 1971- 1993 (again, the last chronological track on the compilation was 1989’s “Rock And A Hard Place”) kicked off the beginning of a new one with Virgin Records, as well as hyping the Virgin remastered albums from Sticky Fingers through Steel Wheels. Weirdly enough, none of the three live albums were rereleased until almost ten years after.

The Stones would go on to release more studio albums (1994’s Voodoo Lounge and 1997’s Bridges To Babylon) and singles and videos (several between 1994 and 1998) with huge tours to boot that would include more live albums (1995’s Stripped and 1998’s No Security).

After their arena tour in 1999, they pretty much disappeared. Mick Jagger went on to release an unsuccessful solo album, Goddess In The Doorway, which Keith fondly termed Dogshit In The Doorway, before the Stones regrouped in Paris to record 28 new tracks for what they thought to be a new album. ABKCO and Virgin, meanwhile, had agreed to release a double album compilation together to capitalise on the band’s forty years of being together. When all was finally done, four new tracks appeared on Forty Licks, one of them, “Don’t Stop”, the single to promote the album, and a huge tour ensued.

Critics were quick to point out that it was the first tour since 1975’s Tour Of The Americas that the Stones had not toured to support a new studio album. Their longest gap between records to date was five years (1989’s Steel Wheels to 1994’s Voodoo Lounge which was also their second longest gap between tours – 1982’s Tattoo You tour and 1989’s Steel Wheels tour to 1990’s Urban Jungle tour to 1994’s Voodoo Lounge). That gap between albums would be improved upon soon: since 1997’s Bridges To Babylon, there has not been a new studio album released or toured for in eight years until 2005’s A Bigger Bang. There was to be a Voodoo/Bridges leftovers album released in 1999 but it was pulled out of stores before going on the shelves for no apparent reason. In 2004 they started work on a project that has not been specified although Charlie Watts did have to cancel his own tour due to throat cancer. In 2004 Virgin released Jump Back in the US with a new cover which has stayed in the Billboard Top 200 for over a year. This is after Forty Licks was released two years prior.  Jump Back came out with the exact same tracks as the 1993 release, as well as a majority of tracks that are on Forty Licks, and it actually debuted in the Billboard Top 200. Word was that Virgin records realised they could sell more copies of Jump Back as a domestic release in the US than as an import – the cost to fans was cut almost in half.

Another prompting for Virgin to rerelease Made In The Shade and Sucking In The Seventies was to see how much those two original CBS releases were going for on e-Bay. Although neither release debuted in the Top 200, they will sell over time.

For the money, Forty Licks pretty much makes all of the Rolling Stones Records compilations irrelevant as far as the singles go, but allegedly demand was high enough to go ahead and release the same songs (Brown Sugar, Angie, It’s Only Rock’N’Roll, etc…) with a few odd tracks (If I Was A Dancer, Time Waits For No One, Everything Is Turning To Gold and the same one to three Black And Blue tracks) on various comps over the years – including another release of “If I Was A Dancer (Dance Pt.2)” and “Mannish Boy (Live)” on 2005’s Rarities that was just rereleased on Sucking In The Seventies! Rare indeed. Aside from that aspect, all of the Rolling Stones Records compilations are out of print and are hard to find.

Certainly one day Rewind will be rereleased, as will Time Waits For No One. Afterall, those two releases have now become even more valuable since they have not been rereleased by Virgin Records.

A full chronological discography of compilations follows. Some of the ABKCO compilations are left out simply because nothing new was ever on them:

1966 Big Hits (High Tides And Green Grass) – Decca/London
1967 Flowers – London
1969 Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits vol. 2) – Decca/London
1971 Stone Age – ABKCO
1972 Hot Rocks – ABKCO
1974 More Hot Rocks – ABKCO
1975 Made In The Shade – Rolling Stones Records
1975 Rolled Gold – ABKCO
1979 Time Waits For No One – RSR (UK only)
1981 Sucking In The Seventies – RSR
1984 Rewind – RSR
1993 Jump Back – Virgin (UK only)
2002 Forty Licks – ABKCO/Virgin
2004 1965-1967 Singles – ABKCO
2004 Jump Back – Virgin (US)
2005 1968-1971 Singles – ABKCO
2005 Made In The Shade – Virgin
2005 Sucking In The Seventies – Virgin
2005 Rarities – Virgin
2006 and on – what’s next?