2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Music Box Sets and Films

We must give the music industry credit: just when it appears that they have completely run out of ways to spin their back catalogs into gold for the umpteenth time, they find a way. (They’re nothing if not survivalists, those guys.) In addition to featuring a number of big box sets this year, we’ve also included some excellent concert films, as well as one The Beatles’ most famous movies.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Bob Dylan – The Complete Album Collection V.1

Box sets often make for great gifts, and this mega-set will put a smile on the face of any serious Bob Dylan fan. The CD set contains 35 studio titles (including the first-ever North American release of 1973’s Dylan album on CD), six live albums, and a hardcover book featuring extensive new album-by-album liner notes penned by Clinton Heylin and a new introduction written by Bill Flanagan. It also includes two “Side Tracks” discs that include a wealth of previously released non-album singles, tracks from various compilations and songs from films. This set is also available as a limited-edition harmonica-shaped USB stick containing all the music, in both MP3 and FLAC lossless formats, with a digital version of the hardcover booklet, but according to the reviews on Amazon, you should probably stick with the CD box set.

The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

Finally. After 21 years, the full April 1992 show featuring the surviving members of Queen fronted by a murderer’s row of early ‘90s rock star gods (and Liza Minnelli) is seeing the light of day, and on Blu-ray, to boot. (Inexplicably, the DVD of the set is still missing a few songs.) Extreme’s medley of Queen tracks has been added, as have sets by Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses and even Saint Bob Geldof (and Spinal Tap appears on the Blu-ray). The main show features one showstopper after another, whether it’s James Hetfield singing “Stone Cold Crazy,” George Michael singing “Somebody to Love,” Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott banging out “Tie Your Mother Down,” or Elton John and Axl Rose teaming up to take on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The bonus featurettes from the 2002 DVD release are here as well. For the Queen fan in your life (or even the Muse fan in your life), this is a slam dunk.

Springsteen & I

Bruce Springsteen fans love to share stories about why they love the Boss. With legions of fans around the world who love his music and his legendary live shows, there’s no shortage of diehard followers who would be excited to share their personal Springsteen stories. “Springsteen and I” was fully endorsed and supported by Springsteen and features fans reflecting on their personal experiences to explore what the Boss means to them amidst amazing concert footage. The film has plenty of unseen performance clips, and Springsteen fans in particular will love it.

The Beatles: Help!

Here’s something for diehard Beatles fans. This classic film from 1965 has been fully-restored and is now available on Blu-ray. The release contains an hour of extra features, including a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film, memories of the cast and crew, an in-depth look at the restoration process, an outtake scene, and original theatrical trailers and radio spots.

Released: The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998

The ‘80s were filled with a lot of concerts for a lot of good causes, including Live Aid, Farm Aid and the Prince’s Trust, to name but a few, but the big item on the radar of music fans this Christmas is Shout Factory’s compilation of performances done to aid the efforts of Amnesty International. The six-disc set offers a staggering collection of live performances including, but in no way limited to, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Adams, U2, the Police and Sting, Miles Davis, Tracy Chapman, Alanis Morissette, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Radiohead, Shania Twain… We’d go on, but if you’re not sold by now, what’s the point, really? But just for the record, there are also a few additional performances done for the organization, but not in the midst of the major events, including Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Ozzy Osbourne and Pete Seeger. Beyond that, this being a Shout Factory release, there are also plenty of bonus features, including interviews and various special messages from various participants, plus a 40-page booklet that ain’t too shabby, either. In short, good music for a good cause makes a good first. ‘Nuff said.

Tommy (Super Deluxe Edition)

The Who’s defining, breakthrough concept album has been released as deluxe and limited edition super deluxe editions just in time for the holidays. This full-blown rock opera written by Pete Townsend about a deaf, dumb and blind boy was a defining moment for this band, with amazing tracks like “Pinball Wizard” and “I’m Free.” It was originally released in 1969 and has since sold over 20 million copies. Many consider it to be one of the most influential albums of all time, and now you can give this kick-ass edition to the Who fan on your list.

John Mellencamp: 1978-2012

Most rock fans won’t put John Mellencamp up there with The Beatles, Dylan and Springsteen, but this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee has had a long and very successful career. The set contains a total of 223 tracks and can be a great gift for the right person on your list. It’s good, old-fashioned heartland rock-n-roll, along with some excellent social commentary along the way.