Pink Floyd in race against time to reissue albums

Wed May 11, 2011 11:58pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The mammoth CD reissue program undertaken by Pink Floyd is an acknowledgment that the era of physical CDs and lavish artwork is coming to an end, as fans increasingly opt to download music digitally, drummer Nick Mason said on Wednesday.

Two years after the Beatles unveiled a similar program, the British progressive rock band is reissuing digitally remastered versions of all 14 of its studio albums, both individually and as a boxed set on September 26.

But Pink Floyd is doing something the Beatles never did, to the disappointment of Fab Four fans. Three albums will also be reissued with plenty of rarities in multi-disc versions. Revised and expanded artwork was a heavy priority for a band with a history of visual innovation.

"There is a slight sense that we are coming to the end of the period where people will buy the physical record with all the packaging and the information and so on," Mason, 67, told Reuters at the Hollywood outpost of the band's EMI Records label.

"I think it's really important to try and have a last go at that, because if we do end up just downloading everything from now on it would be a shame if there wasn't on record all that good artwork and the things that went with it."

The band's 1973 smash "The Dark Side of the Moon," one of the biggest selling albums of all time, will additionally come out on six- and two-disc configurations.

Exact details of the contents were not available, but EMI previewed several previously unreleased tracks including a fast-tempo live version of "Money," and an early mix of "The Great Gig in the Sky" without the soaring vocals of session singer Clare Torry.

Mason was particularly proud of a track he assumed had been lost to history, a version of the title track from 1975's "Wish You Were Here," featuring French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.   Continued...

<p>Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason poses for photographers next to his 1995 Mac Laren F1 GTR displayed at the Retromobile car show in Paris February 16, 2007. REUTERS/ Benoit Tessier</p>