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248 of 262 people found the following review helpful
Another decade has passed in the career of the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band, and they're celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding in 1962. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Company are pushing 70, but the group has decided to go out with a bang. They're staging five arena shows on both sides of the Atlantic and putting out a new, feature-length, autobiographical documentary called "Crossfire Hurricane" with archival footage from the 60s and 70s narrated by the band. They've reconstructed and restored the first-ever Rolling Stones documentary, "Charlie Is My Darling," filmed in Ireland in 1965, and published a 352-page "photographic biography" entitled "The Rolling Stones 50." Finally, they're offering six (count 'em, six!) chronological greatest hits albums: a budget two-CD, a standard three-CD, a deluxe three-CD, a deluxe Blu-Ray, a deluxe vinyl five-LP, and a super deluxe five-CD/one-EP collection. Each set offers the same two new studio recordings -- good ones, dammit! If you have money to burn and don't mind making some of the richest men in the world just a bit richer, there's almost no limit to what you can spend on the Stones' music and memorabilia this year.

The best-of compilations are expertly remastered, albeit selectively edited for length, so while newer listeners probably won't notice anything amiss, nostalgic fans might. The first two discs of the standard version (33 out of 50 tracks) cover the Stones' early career, revisiting most of the required hits from the 60s to the mid-70s. Starting with their very first single, a 1963 cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On," the band includes music from their singles and studio albums up to "Black and Blue" in 1976. The third disc contains 17 recordings from the 1978 album "Some Girls" (though not the title track) to their final studio album in 2005, "A Bigger Bang," plus the aforementioned new songs, "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot," both of which harken back to the rough classic sound of the Stones. A 12-page booklet is enclosed.

How does the three-CD set compare to "Forty Licks," the two-disc, 40-track, 40th-anniversary collection? It's far better. Of the four new tunes on that non-chronological 2002 album, only "Don't Stop" is recycled; 33 of the 36 remaining cuts are included on "GRRR!" (absent are "Mother's Little Helper," "Shattered," and "You Got Me Rocking"). These 33 are supplemented with a couple of mid-60s covers, Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" and Howlin' Wolf's "Little Red Rooster," and enough important songs from the Glimmer Twins to make a more satisfying package: "Time Is on My Side," "Heart of Stone," "As Tears Go By," "Rocks Off," "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)," "Respectable," "Waiting on a Friend," "Harlem Shuffle," "Streets of Love," and others. As wonderful as the music is, though, it's not perfect; several relatively weak choices ("We Love You," "She Was Hot," "Highwire") take the place of terrific songs like "Let It Bleed," "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," and "Dead Flowers," which are nowhere to be found.

If you'd like this set with five postcards commemorating various tours and a 36-page hardcover book instead of the 12-page booklet, buy the Deluxe Edition; if you'd prefer it in a different format, both five-LP and imported Blu-Ray versions are available. And if money's no object, there's the huge Super Deluxe Edition: a 12-by-17-inch box containing four CDs with 80 hits and album cuts and covers, a five-track CD of the Stones' very first unreleased demos, a four-track vinyl EP of an unreleased BBC Radio session, a 96-page hardcover book with photos of various ephemera, a reproduction of an early poster from the Ricky Tick Club (an influential R&B venue on the outskirts of London), in addition to the 36-page book and the five postcards. The 89 super deluxe cuts encompass covers of the Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man," O.V. Wright's "That's How Strong My Love Is," and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" as well as more hits and favorite performances not included on the three-disc set: "I'm Free," "Play with Fire," "Mother's Little Helper," "Lady Jane," "Honky Tonk Women," "Midnight Rambler," "You Got the Silver," "Bitch," "Dance Little Sister," "Shattered," "Far Away Eyes," "She's So Cold," "Rough Justice," "Rain Fall Down," etc.

Compilations will never take the place of individual albums from the Rolling Stones' peak years, and they'll never please longtime fans like me who have no need for obvious radio fodder and want the rare stuff and the live stuff instead. There aren't a lot of surprises in these boxes, and the editing and inevitable omissions also reduce their value (where are "Live with Me" and "Star Star" and "Hang Fire" and a dozen more?), so I'm giving them only four stars. The two-CD set earns just three stars as it's even skimpier, dropping 10 songs from the three-CD set: "Time Is on My Side," "Heart of Stone," "Under My Thumb," "We Love You," "She's a Rainbow," "Highwire," "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)," "She Was Hot," "Streets of Love," and "Rocks Off." But if you're in the market for greatest hits, something to remind you of the Stones' awesome talent and staying power over the years, then these boxes are the best you're going to do for now -- though of course you could assemble your own list of fave mp3s and burn a set of CDs for yourself.

Since Amazon has not listed the tracks of the super deluxe set, I will. I've indicated the 14 edited tracks.

CD 1
1. Come On
2. I Wanna Be Your Man
3. Not Fade Away
4. That's How Strong My Love Is
5. It's All Over Now
6. Little Red Rooster
7. The Last Time
8. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
9. Heart Of Stone
10. Get Off Of My Cloud
11. She Said Yeah
12. I'm Free
13. Play With Fire
14. Time Is On My Side
15. 19th Nervous Breakdown
16. Paint It, Black
17. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
18. She's A Rainbow (edited)
19. Under My Thumb
20. Out Of Time
21. As Tears Go By

CD 2
1. Let's Spend The Night Together
2. Mother's Little Helper
3. We Love You
4. Dandelion
5. Lady Jane
6. Flight 505
7. 2,000 Light Years From Home
8. Ruby Tuesday
9. Jumpin' Jack Flash
10. Sympathy For The Devil
11. Child Of The Moon (remake)
12. Salt Of The Earth
13. Honky Tonk Women
14. Midnight Rambler
15. Gimme Shelter
16. You Got The Silver
17. You Can't Always Get What You Want (edited)
18. Street Fighting Man
19. Wild Horses

CD 3
1. Brown Sugar
2. Bitch
3. Tumbling Dice
4. Rocks Off
5. Happy
6. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
7. Angie
8. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (edited)
9. Dance Little Sister
10. Fool To Cry (edited)
11. Respectable
12. Miss You (edited)
13. Shattered
14. Far Away Eyes
15. Beast Of Burden (edited)
16. Emotional Rescue (edited)
17. Dance (Part 1)
18. She's So Cold
19. Waiting On A Friend
20. Neighbours

CD 4
1. Start Me Up
2. Undercover Of The Night (edited)
3. She Was Hot
4. The Harlem Shuffle
5. Mixed Emotions (edited)
6. Highwire (edited)
7. Almost Hear You Sigh
8. You Got Me Rocking
9. Love Is Strong
10. I Go Wild
11. Like A Rolling Stone
12. Anybody Seen My Baby? (edited)
13. Saint Of Me (edited)
14. Don't Stop (edited)
15. Rough Justice
16. Rain Fall Down (edited)
17. Streets Of Love
18. Plundered My Soul
19. Doom And Gloom
20. One More Shot

Bonus CD (1963 IBC demos)
1. Diddley Daddy
2. Road Runner
3. Bright Lights Big City
4. Honey What's Wrong
5. I Want To Be Loved 

7" Vinyl EP (1964 BBC session)
1. Route 66
2. Cops And Robbers
3. You Better Move On 
4. Mona
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
The Rolling Stones' work over the last 50 years has been divided into two periods - their Decca/London work of the '60s, owned by the late Allen Klein's ABKCO Records, and their post-1971 material released on the band's own imprint (distributed over the years by Atlantic, WEA, EMI, and CBS (Sony)). When the group signed with Virgin Records in 1992, Rolling Stones Records folded; the group's post-1971 catalog is now distributed by Universal Music Group, which, ironically, manufactures and distributes ABKCO. For legal reasons, all Stones compilations until 2002 were split between the two periods. "Brown Sugar" and "Wild Horses" - recorded at the end of the Decca period, but initially released on Rolling Stones Records both as singles and on the STICKY FINGERS album, are jointly owned by ABKCO and the band, and appear on both ABKCO and Rolling Stones Records/Virgin/Universal compilations.

The first career-spanning Stones compilation was the 2002 collection Forty Licks. For the group's 50th anniversary, ABKCO and Universal have compiled GRRR!, the most comprehensive overview of The Stones' career to date, with tracks ranging from the band's first 1963 single, Chuck Berry's "Come On," to two brand-new 2012 tracks, "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot."

I don't own all of The Stones' hits packages, but here is how GRRR! compares to the ones that I do own:

Hot Rocks 1964-1971: All of the songs from this compilation are on GRRR!, but there are two differences: HOT ROCKS has the full-length version of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from Let It Bleed (Remastered), whereas GRRR! uses the stereo single edit (previously issued only in mono). Also, GRRR! uses the LET IT BLEED version of "Midnight Rambler," while HOT ROCKS uses the live recording from Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! (Remastered).

More Hot Rocks: Big Hits & Fazed Cookies: Five tracks from the main portion of this collection - "Tell Me," "Good Times, Bad Times," "Sittin' On A Fence," "No Exceptations," and "Let It Bleed" are not included on GRRR! Only one track from the "rarities" section (Side 4 of the original album, and the last 11 tracks on the remastered CD) is included on GRRR! - "Come On."

FORTY LICKS: All of the tracks on Disc 1 (the ABKCO disc) are on GRRR!, aside from a few mono/stereo differences on songs like "Paint It, Black," "Ruby Tuesday," and "Let's Spend the Night Together," plus the different versions of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" mentioned earlier. Seventeen of the twenty tracks on Disc 2 (the Rolling Stones Records/Virgin/Universal disc) also appear on GRRR!, but only one of the four 2002 songs is included - "Don't Stop."

The Rolling Stones Singles Collection: The London Years and the three CD box sets of individual singles (THE SINGLES 1963-1965, THE SINGLES 1965-1967, and THE SINGLES 1968-1971) contain a lot of B-sides and (in the case of THE SINGLES 1963-1965) EP tracks that are not included on GRRR!

The packaging on the Super Deluxe Version of GRRR! is impressive, but bulky. The box contains a poster from a 1963 tour, a slotted cardboard insert containing a black envelope with five art prints from the band's various tours over the years, and a 7" vinyl EP with four early songs from a BBC radio show, recorded in experimental stereo. The EP's back cover has liner notes in the same size and font as the group's original 1963 EP, THE ROLLING STONES. CONSUMER ALERT: The EP plays at LP speed (33 1/3 RPM), not 45 RPM, as most vinyl EPs do, so set your turntable speed accordingly. Of the EP's four songs, one, a Bo Diddley number called "Cops and Robbers," was never recorded by The Stones elsewhere. Bobby Troup's "Route 66" was issued in 1964 on the band's first album, and a live version surfaced on the 1965 GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT! EP (not on the 1966 U.S. album of the same name), and was issued in America in 1965 on London Records' DECEMBER'S CHILDREN (AND EVERYBODY'S). Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" appeared on The Stones' self-titled British EP, and in America on DECEMBER'S CHILDREN as well. The blues number "Mona" appeared on the group's 1964 UK Decca debut album, THE ROLLING STONES, but was replaced with the single "Not Fade Away" on the American London version, ENGLAND'S NEWEST HIT MAKERS. "Mona" appeared in the U.S. in 1965 on the third London album, THE ROLLING STONES, NOW! Then there is the 96-page book, containing a bonus CD of five mono IBC demos from 1963 ("Diddley Daddy," "Road Runner," "Bright Lights, Big City," "Honey What's Wrong," and "I Want To Be Loved.") The first four tracks were never recorded elsewhere; "I Want To Be Loved" was later re-recorded and released as the B-side to "Come On."

The bonus CD is stored in the inside front cover of the book, while the four main CDs are stored in the inside back cover. The book contains an essay by Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine (yes, partially named after the group), some nice black-and-white photos of The Stones, plus some very nice memorabilia, but I would have preferred an illustrated discography, and the lyrics to the songs as well. Also, the track listings, which show a performance copyright of 2004 for the ABKCO material and 2010 for the Rolling Stones Records/Virgin/Universal material, except for the two new 2012 songs, could have been more detailed, showing when each track was recorded, the original release date, and what LP that the track(s) originally were issued on.

Disc 1 - all tracks mono, except "It's All Over Now," "Heart of Stone," "Time Is On My Side" (unfortunately, the remake, not the original), "Paint It, Black," "She's a Rainbow," "Under My Thumb," and "Out of Time."

Disc 2 - all tracks stereo, except for "Mother's Little Helper," which is the mono single version, not the stereo version from AFTERMATH UK.

Discs 3 and 4 - all tracks stereo.

If you are a newcomer to The Rolling Stones and want just one definitive collection, GRRR! is the one for you. The Super Deluxe Edition is expensive, but there are also two-CD and three-CD versions of GRRR! available. Choose the one that fits your budget and your needs. I purchased the Super Deluxe Edition because it contained 34 tracks that I did not own elsewhere (three on ABKCO; 22 on Rolling Stones Records/Virgin/Universal, including the two new 2012 songs, plus the nine bonus tracks on the two EPs). In addition, all of the songs on the 2-CD set (available at Target and certain other select retailers) are on the 3-CD Deluxe Edition, and all of the material on the 3-CD set is on the Super Deluxe Edition, so it's not necessary to buy multiple editions of GRRR! to obtain "missing" tracks.

On the other hand, if you already own the bulk of the material, and don't care about the new 2012 songs, the BBC recordings, or the IBC demos, skip it. Of course, you could always download the material that you don't own.
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78 of 89 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 13, 2012
[This review is of the standard three disc (50 tracks) edition]

Fifty years after forming, the Rolling Stones release 'GRRR!,' a career retrospective that, imo, is far superior to their 40th anniversary release, 'Forty Licks,' though it's debatable whether it's really essential for owners of that set, even with the two new tracks and slightly better sound. Like that previous collection, it serves as both a great introduction to the band for newcomers, and as a nice compilation of their most essential tracks for the casual fan. But, even more so than that last set, it also serves as a remarkable historical document for the more serious fan, showing the evolution of one of rock's most important bands.

The key advantage that this collection holds over 'Forty Licks'--besides the fact that it's ten tracks longer--is that the track sequencing is in chronological order (though the Summer of Love-era "She's a Rainbow" is placed with the early 70's tracks for some reason), and shows just how far the band had come in just a few short years, from a charismatic R&B covers act with an attitude to one of the biggest and most influential bands in the world. There are 24 tracks from the 60's, twelve from the 70's, seven from the 80's, three from the 90's, and four from the 21st century--two being brand new--providing a pretty comprehensive overview of their career.

The sound quality on 'GRRR!' is stellar, with none of the clipping (distortion, basically) common to a lot of modern day reissues of older material, as it appears this collection uses the same versions as were on the excellently remastered albums released over the past decade or so (though edited in some cases)*. The songs do seem slightly louder than on their remastered studio album counterparts and 'Forty Licks,' but the dynamic range is not affected as far as I can tell. The quiet parts are still quiet, and the loud parts are still loud, thankfully.

The two new tracks, "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot," didn't do much for me initially, but the patented Stonesy sleazy swagger of both tracks is beginning to grow on me, as some of the band's best material have had to do in my case over the years (including almost all of 'Exile,' an undeniable masterpiece...not that I'm comparing). Within seconds of playing each song, there's no mistaking just who's performing them.

The one major negative about this set is that, like 'Forty Licks,' many of the tracks here are in edited form. I would have preferred to pay a few extra bucks for an extra disc if it meant getting the full versions, but considering this is a collection of their hits, which are usually presented in edited form on the radio anyway, this shouldn't be a huge deal to the casual fan, who are probably the main target of this release.

Even though hardcore fans will own most of these songs already, it's still awesome to hear--with pristine sound--the progression of this inimitable band over the years, so I definitely recommend 'GRRR!' for both them and for those who just want the band's essential tracks in one place. It's amazing to think that the Stones are still going strong after 50 years, with no signs of letup in sight. To me, they are the perfect "anytime" band. Morning, noon, night, rain, snow, whether you're happy or sad, it's the perfect time for some Stones.

Though they will probably always be known as the second greatest band of rock's golden age, no band defined--and still define--rock and roll like the Stones. They exude--ARE--rock and roll. And there's no better evidence than this collection.

(*Edit--Someone in the comments section brought to my attention that the more recent remasters, such as 'Some Girls' and 'Sticky Fingers,' do contain clipping. I've compared many of the mid-late 60's tracks here with their 2002 remastered counterparts, and they appear the same to me, with no clipping. I'm not hearing any clipping on the 'Some Girls' and 'Sticky Fingers' tracks here either.)
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75 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
I was going to buy the super delux version, instead bought the deluxe 3 cd set of GRRR, this is what I've found out...Love the music, packaging really cool, remastering is amazing...the BBC tracks are cool and nostalgic, they would have been a nice edition to the regular delux 3 cd set I bought. Personally as far as the sound of this new release, my 2009 remaster reissues are just fine in the sound department. Possibly I might get the super deluxe edition when it goes way down in price, only reason because I'm a stones completist, as I really don't need it. Things that should have been done with this insanely priced box set: #1.should have had 100 songs, BBC tracks remain seperate on one cd, a few more BBC tracks would have been nice. I'll guess will have to wait for the next over priced gem to get those other BBC releases. Anyway here is # 2.NO SONG EDITS!!!!!! leave them as the songs were
meant to be!!!! Being an audiophile nothing irritates me
more than edited tracks!! #3.The book should have had notes on each song, recording and release dates, of course all the tracks would be in chronological order. #4. Each cd should be used close to its 80 minute limit, not 55-70 minutes of music on each cd like on this Grrr 3 cd set. Another slap in the hardcore stones fans face. The stones did this because they want new fans to have to buy all their albums, trust me Mick and Keith even if you used the four suggestions above on this Grrr box set, trust me and believe me (SCOUTS HONOR) the newbies would'nt be getting all of your catolouge output and most likely would buy most of your cds, mp3s, vinyl, etc. Another irritant, could the Stones have put the 7 ep 45 on cd #5 with the BBC Recordings. I do like the 7 vinyl, but it would have been nice to have it put on cd to. TRUST ME, brother Mick your cash registers would not stop cha--chinging!! I could wax on about this over priced gem of brilliance, Yada yada yada yada.... but I will spare the masses of torture. I like many Stones fans have invested thousands into this band, it would have been nice to give us fans a super deluxe box set with the four suggestions I've stated above. If your a newbie than by all means get the cheaper 3 cd deluxe set of GRRR. I wish amazon would list how sales are doing for this insanley priced, wrongly done, insult to the long time fans, box set. Hey... I have all my Stones cds to listen to... I'm glad these guys are still touring. I still feel A Bigger Bang might be the best stones album since Exile on Main Street or Goat's Head Soup (Reis)...just my opinion.. TRUST ME I REALLY LOVE THE STONES.. this box set just irritates me with all its careless short offerings as well as it should most hardcore stones fans.. Ps: Another slap, well at least in the American stones fans face is that in the Japanese version of this box set, it contains the lyrics for all 89 tracks in a seperate paper book in both Japanese and English. Anyway long live the Stones...
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
Everything about this album is just bad. From the atrocious cover and title to the ridiculous tracklisting. It's terrible.

Ok, let's start it with the obvious... how do they forget the Ya-Ya's version of Midnight Rambler AGAIN!? Hell, even the album version would be acceptable. That song is undeniably a Stones classic, in every single sense of the word. It was bad enough to miss it on 40 Licks, but its omission here is indefensible. That alone would stop me from buying it or recommending it.

You could make a full CD of songs that don't deserve to be here. More than half the third disc is garbage from their worst years of songwriting. Then some "classics" that don't really deserve the title appear again in place of true hidden gems. Are Not Fade Away, Have You Seen Your Mother, Fool to Cry, Respectable, and The Last Time really better songs than Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Moonlight Mile, Let It Bleed, and All Down the Line?

And come on... Streets of Love, Harlem Shuffle, Highwire, Love is Strong, Anybody Seen My Baby, Don't Stop?? Over album cuts like Sway, Bitch, and Monkey Man? I get you want to have a collection that spans their entire career, but they should really focus on the golden years, rather than equal time allowed for these awful 90s cuts. Hell, I mean even We Love You, Little Red Rooster, and Heart of Stone are bad choices.

Look, I know I have a bias. I LOVE these boys. Disregarding whatever category The Beatles might fall into, they are inarguably the single greatest rock `n' roll band of all time. But even as a major major fan, I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone interested in getting into the Stones. I cut my teeth on this band with 40 Licks. It was a good intro to the band... or should I say disc one was a good intro to the band. It's basically the same story here, although they were smart enough to add She Was Hot (even though the Shine a Light version is much better) and the killer, kick-ass, powerhouse Rocks Off. Other than that, there is no difference between them.

5 stars for the music, obviously. I mean some of these songs still bring a tear to my eye when I listen to `em. Insanely, absurdly, unbelievably great stuff. But don't get this album. It's not worth the price. Find a friend who loves the Stones (if you're smart, you'll have a few) and ask them to make you a mix. Or get 40 Licks, used, for a couple bucks. Just stay away from this nonsense.

No Midnight Rambler!?
The title "GRRR!"!??
...a gorilla!?

I give up... I'm going to my room and putting on Sticky Fingers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
If you opt to buy the 5-CD "Super Deluxe Edition" for the 5-song "I.B.C. Studios Demos"(on "Disc Five") be cautioned, that for these recordings, which predate The Stones' involvement with manager Allen Klein & his ABKCO company, that ABKCO has no tape source(reportedly Mick Jagger possesses the tape), so rather than ask Jagger to look for the tape, ABKCO did the simple thing, and they dubbed the five songs from bootleg. "Diddley Diddley Daddy"(still with the glaring speed fluctuation during the intro), "Roadrunner", "Baby What's Wrong" & "I Want to Be Loved" have been dubbed from one of the "Swingin' Pig" label bootleg CD's(either "Bright Lights, Big City:20th Anniversary Edition" or the "I.B.C. Demos" CD E.P.), but for unknown reasons, ABKCO didn't like the source for "Bright Lights, Big City" contained on those two bootleg CD's, so the song has been dubbed from a tinny-sounding vinyl bootleg, and no attempt has been made to de-crackle it. Granted, the source used for all five songs on the original "Trademark of Quality" label 1970's "Bright Lights, Big City" vinyl bootleg L.P. was itself a tape dub from an acetate, but this was an acetate that was still in pristine condition.

And I have always questioned whether "I Want to Be Loved" was actually from the "I.B.C. Studios" demos, or whether "Trademark of Quality" simply pretended that the song(which had never been heard by most Americans until the 1990's) was part of the "I.B.C. Studios" demos. "I Want to Be Loved" DOES sound audibly identical to the version on the B-side of their first British Decca single "Come on"

There are many people (including me) who have wished that The Rolling Stones would finally permit ABKCO to bring us a definitive collection of 1960's Rolling Stones outtakes; to bring us a multi-disc set that would be every thing that "Metamorphosis" could have and should have been. But, inevitably ABKCO would find some way to totally or partly screw it up.

As for the 5-CD "Grrr", it's a decent selection of Stones singles and album tracks, but 13 of the songs are edited versions, due to CD capacity limits. Disc 5 has the "I.B.C. Studios" demos as a 13 minute disc, but if the 80 hits and album tracks had been evenly spread across five full length discs, there would have been no need to use edited versions. As for the song line-up, the songs are not quite in chronological order, and there are some baffling inclusions and omissions. "That's How Strong My Love Is" & "Flight 505" are puzzling inclusions, while "Tell Me(You're Coming Back)" and "Around and Around" are omitted. Go figure. As for myself, I found an "alternative source" for the 5-CD set, and I am left with no doubt that I made the correct decision.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
The title of my review says it all. As other reviewers have complained, song edits are unacceptable. Also, there is no recording info, so you can't tell when the songs were recorded or even what albums they were from.

Good music, bad production and packaging. Recommended only if you must have a picture of a gorilla on your CD shelf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2013
NOTE: THIS APPLIES TO THE HUMONGOUS FIVE-CD SUPER-DELUXE BOX VERSION OF GRRR: I finally bought this set this week, having found a (relatively) inexpensive sealed copy (around $100) at a local music store. On the plus side, ABKCO has done wonderful work on the sound, upgrading and tweaking and generally improving on the work that was done for the SACD-hybrid remasterings on the 1960s Rolling Stones catalog a decade ago. Yes, there are edited versions of a handful of songs, but it's not as though anyone likely to care deeply about that isn't almost certainly going to have the uncut versions of everything here somewhere in this collection (let's face it, anyone dropping $100+ on this set is on the fanatical side of the word "fan" to begin with, so let's stop kidding ourselves with histrionic complaints). What the makers have done is create the best sounding renditions of a lot of the material here that have surfaced so far -- the guitars, the bass, the keyboards, the drums . . . they often feel like they're in the room with you, even the acoustic instruments on the opening of "Not Fade Away," recorded all those decades ago (you can feel the action of the guitar strings -- the same with the opening of "Salt of the Earth," six years later on the next disc. And if there are omissions, then it is perhaps the absence of true rarities such as "C-cksucker Blues" (which I advocated for inclusion on THE SINGLES COLLECTION when I worked on that 20+ years ago) or the live "Let It Rock" from 1970, which was actually released on a limited basis (and of course, the latter is the property of the Stones' own label).

And for this listener, whose interest in the band drops off precipitously (it downright plummets) after EXILE ON MAIN STREET, the third and fourth discs are pretty much all I'll ever need on this band in terms of that end of their catalog. Yes, it would have been nice if ABKCO could have gotten a real tape source on the IBC demos, but at least they set the precedent of issuing those long bootlegged sides (for some of us the first unauthorized Stones sides we ever heard) legitimately (and might we see more like that?). And the song line-up, though not exactly chronological, makes for a downright intoxicating 4 hours-plus of listening.

That's the good part. The bad part is the packaging, which is -- as is often the case with sets like this -- difficult to store or use as intended. The box is too big to fit on any size shelf that most of use are likely to have in our homes. And opening it and accessing the CDs is an awkward, stumbling process (it's probably best to put them in separate jewel cases on a regular shelf, separate from the box). On my copy, discs one and two had come out of their holders, but the packaging was designed in such a way so that they had no place to go or get damaged, so that was okay (the makers of the Layla Anniversary set from 2011 should only have been so smart).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2013
This barely needs a review because practically everyone will know whether or not they like the Stones by now and most people considering this collection will know all the tracks on it very well indeed. It is worth saying, though, that this is a great collection. Obviously, any compilation like this will have some tracks you love and some you don't like so much, and some of your favorites may well be missing but as a best of collections go I don't think you can do better. It is well selected and sounds fantastic: the digital transfers of the early stuff are particularly good and bring real life to the tracks without interfering with their original sound.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
This five disc version (plus a vinyl EP) is the biggest Stones box ever. It has more songs from the Brian Jones '60s period than Hot Rocks and More Hot Rocks combined, though not quite as many as Singles London Years box. The main things missing are some Mick Taylor period stuff from the 1970's-- his three great epics, Monkey Man, Can't You Hear Me Knocking, and Fingerprint File; then Dancing With Mr D, one of my personal favorites; rarities like Everything is Turning to Gold, and of course why is Hot Stuff missing? But it has all the essentials from the '60s, the 80's and 90's and on up to now. The box is too big and unhandy, but you can switch out the five discs and put them into the three disc version, as there are four slots in there if you use the booklet pocket for disc one. If that matters to you, you will figure it out.
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