POP MUSIC: Out of the Vault and Ready to Wrap
By Jon Pareles
The New York Times — December 7, 1995
In recent years, record companies have been repackaging their back catalogues as lavish, multiple-CD boxed sets geared for holiday gift giving. This year the companies have dug deeper into their vaults to offer first-time sets from some of the last of the holdouts among their top artists. There are also sets from lesser-known artists and labels and from musicians whose works have been boxed for a second or third time. Here are 30 choices that New York Times critics find noteworthy. Prices are suggested retail.
TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: ‘PLAYBACK’ MCA; six CD’s ($80)
Tom Petty was already looking back when he arrived in the 1970’s with music steeped in Bob Dylan, the Byrds and Elvis Presley. The Heartbreakers were gifted borrowers, while Petty had his own persona: a trailer-park Southerner with low expectations, seething with resentment at women and authority figures. Half the set distills Petty’s albums; the remainder holds B-sides of singles (including gems like “Down the Line”), songs from Petty’s pre-Heartbreakers band, Mudcrutch, and unreleased material that documents a long-running battle between Petty’s rowdy side and his producer’s restraining influences.