posted March 27th, 2022 by Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
Part 4 – The biggest, best-selling, most-expensive, most-valuable box/limited-edition sets.
Now that you’ve been given a proper introduction to the history and ongoing development of these collectible record packages in the previous posting, I was thinking that it might be fun and interesting to see the extremes that musical acts and record labels might be willing to go to deliver anthologies to record buyers and fans. To do this, I set out to discover what are the biggest sets ever produced, simply measured by the number of discs included in each package, and then produce a by-no-means-definitive reference that will most certainly be added to in impressive fashion over time. Keeping my focus on albums (vinyl and CDs) and avoiding going off on a tangent that would include sets of 45RPM and CD singles(!), I’ve assembled a list that touches on a number of genres, led by classical music producers, with rock, jazz and pop represented was well. Note that, in many cases, the total number of discs included in a set might consist of a combination of different media, such as audio CDs, Blu-Ray audio CDs and DVDs. For example, King Crimson’s 1969 (Court of the Crimson King) is a 26-disc set consisting of 20 CDs, 4 Blu-Ray audio discs and 2 DVDs:
To be an artist of any sort in Depression-era America required both talent and commitment. For an artist like Woody Guthrie, inspiration for his song-writing came initially from his experiences living in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl (if you call that “living”) and meeting some of the many migrant workers who, like he, were looking for something – work, charity, companionship – to help them make it through the day. He learned a lot from absorbing the traditional music these migrants played and sang while they worked – or commiserated about their lack of work – ultimately creating the portfolio of songs that would earn him a place at the top of the list of “most-influential American songwriters” of the 20th Century.
While his legend has been built around his musical talents, many are surprised to find out that it was Guthrie’s capabilities as a sign painter, illustrator and cartoonist that kept him fed as he journeyed to California early on in his career. Fans of his music were first given a look at his artistic talents when they saw the cover sketch used on his 1943 autobiography titled Bound For Glory, but most have remained unaware of his prodigious output in this area, not knowing that he also produced a number of images used to illustrate his record albums, sheet music, tour posters, articles he’d written on a variety of subjects and, in many cases, drawn to help him better-visualize the inspirations for his music.