Eric Clapton’s The Complete Reprise Studio Albums Volume 1 180g 12LP Box Set Coming September 30

Everybody oughtta make a change sometime, as the lyric goes, and Eric Clapton fully embraced that concept when he switched record labels from RSO to Reprise Records in 1983. To properly fete Slowhand’s six studio albums during his initial 1983-98 Reprise era, a 180g 12LP box set dubbed The Complete Reprise Studio Albums – Volume 1 is set for release on September 30.

All the music included in this collection was mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, and the lacquers were cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. The box has a split pressing, as the U.S./Canada sets are being pressed in the U.S. at RTI, and copies for the rest of the world are being pressed in Germany at Optimal. [Note: The split-pressing info has been updated, as of August 18--MM]

In addition to those six core 1983-98 Reprise albums, the 1LP exclusive to this collection, Rarities 1983-1998, features said titular rarities from that era, including a previously unreleased remix of “Pilgrim” by co-writer and longtime Clapton producer Simon Climie.

The Complete Reprise Studio Albums – Volume 1 lists for $249.98, and you can pre-order it now, right here.

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The 12 180g LPs included in this box start with February 1983’s Money and Cigarettes, which is the only one of the six that appears here as 1LP. March 1985’s Behind the Sun, November 1986’s August, November 1989’s Journeyman, September 1994’s From the Cradle, and March 1998’s Pilgrim each appear in 2LP configurations. Though both Behind The Sun and August were originally released as single LPs, both are presented here as three-sided double albums to avoid the dreaded long individual sides for QC purposes — which is fine by me, though I know a number of the AP faithful aren’t exactly fans of blank and/or even laser-etched sides, period.

The final 1LP in this collection, the above-noted Rarities 1983-1998, includes eight rare recordings from this era, including the live versions of “White Room” and “Crossroads” both featured on the B-side of the 1987 single “Behind The Mask.” Another B-side, “Theme From A Movie That Never Happened” (Orchestral),” appeared in 1998, this time backing the Grammy-winning single, “My Father’s Eyes.” A cover of Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign,” an outtake from the Grammy-winning album From The Cradle, is available on YouTube, and you can check it out below. (I should also note “Born Under A Bad Sign” is of course a song Clapton has covered on wax before, first by playing a particularly blistering, and quite reverential, guitar solo on the studio version sung by Jack Bruce on Cream’s seminal June 1968 2LP set, Wheels of Fire.)

The facts about the six Reprise studio albums comprising Volume 1’s 15-year span are these. The box commences with Money and Cigarettes, the guitarist’s eighth solo studio album, which E.C. co-produced with Atlantic Records’ production legend Tom Dowd. Released in 1983, it reached the Top 20 in the U.S. and the UK, and included the hit single “I’ve Got A Rock ’n’ Roll Heart.”

Clapton worked with Phil Collins to produce his next album, Behind the Sun, which peaked at No. 8 in the UK. That album would earn platinum certification in the U.S. thanks to hits like “Forever Man” and “She’s Waiting.” (The title track is a personal fave of mine.) Collins returned to co-produce (and play on) the next album, August, as well. Certified gold in the U.S., August featured a trio of Top 10 singles – “Miss You,” “Tearing Us Apart” (a duet with Tina Turner), and “It’s In The Way That You Use It.” Clapton co-wrote the latter track with Robbie Robertson, and co-produced it with Dowd. That song was also featured in The Color of Money, the 1986 poolhall film starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise (and it also appears on the movie’s soundtrack).

Journeyman, Clapton’s 1989 follow-up, reached No. 2 in the UK, where it was certified platinum. Journeyman was also certified platinum in Canada and gold in Argentina, Australia, France, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The album was certified double platinum in the U.S., scoring No. 1 hits on the Mainstream Rock charts with “Pretending” and the Grammy-winning single “Bad Love.” Journeyman had two more Top 10 hits in America, “Before You Accuse Me” (No. 9) and “No Alibis” (No. 4).

Following the unbridled (and perhaps somewhat unexpected) success of E.C.’s August 1992 live album Unplugged — which, I should note, is not included in this studio-album-centric collection, though I imagine it will become part of another future LP box set in the man’s catalog — Clapton returned in 1994 with From The Cradle. A blues covers album, Cradle featured Clapton’s versions of songs recorded by some of the bluesmen who influenced him including Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and others. The album was certified triple-platinum in the U.S., where it also topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It also reached No. 1 in the UK, making it his only No. 1 album in the UK to date. From The Cradle also won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album.

The final studio release in this collection is Pilgrim, Clapton’s 1998 Grammy-winning 13th solo studio album. It reached the Top 10 in more than 20 countries, including the U.S. (No. 4) and the UK (No. 3). A passion project for Clapton (even though it’s my least favorite of the six here, tbh), Pilgrim was certified platinum in America thanks to hit singles like “My Father’s Eyes,” “Circus,” “Born In Time” (a song penned by Bob Dylan), and the title track.

While I don’t currently have confirmation about just where the aforementioned Unplugged fits into the E.C. Reprise catalog re-release plan, I can report that early 2023 will see the release of The Complete Reprise Studio Albums – Volume 2, a companion vinyl box set that will features E.C.’s Reprise studio albums spanning 2001-2010 — meaning, it will most likely include March 2001’s Reptile, March 2004’s Me and Mr. Johnson, August 2005’s Back Home, and September 2010’s Clapton (though I’m not sure as of yet if E.C.’s acclaimed album with J.J. Cale, November 2006’s The Road to Escondido, will be part of it) — along with another box-exclusive LP of rarities from that era. More details on Volume 2 will be announced “soon,” according to the label — and when those details do arrive, I will post a follow-up report.

In the meantime, check out the full track listings for Volume 1 below, and feel free to share your thoughts about whether you plan on ordering it (or not) in the Comments section as well.

Music Direct Buy It Now

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ERIC CLAPTON
THE COMPLETE REPRISE STUDIO ALBUMS – VOLUME 1

180 12LP box set (Reprise)

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MONEY AND CIGARETTES (1983)


Side 1
1. Everybody Oughta Make A Change
2. The Shape You’re In
3. Ain’t Going Down
4. I’ve Got A Rock ’n’ Roll Heart
5. Man Overboard


Side 2
1. Pretty Girl
2. Man In Love
3. Crosscut Saw
4. Slow Down Linda
5. Crazy Country Hop

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BEHIND THE SUN (1985)


Side 1
1. She’s Waiting
2. See What Love Can Do
3. Same Old Blues


Side 2
1. Knock On Wood
2. Something’s Happening
3. Forever Man
4. It All Depends

Side 3
1. Tangled In Love
2. Never Make You Cry
3. Just Like A Prisoner
4. Behind The Sun

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AUGUST (1986)


Side 1
1. It’s In The Way That You Use It
2. Run
3. Tearing Us Apart
4. Bad Influence


Side 2
1. Walk Away
2. Hung Up On Your Love
3. Take A Chance
4. Hold On


Side 3
1. Miss You
2. Holy Mother
3. Behind the Mask

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JOURNEYMAN (1989)


Side 1
1. Pretending
2. Anything For Your Love
3. Bad Love


Side 2
1. Running On Faith
2. Hard Times
3. Hound Dog


Side 3
1. No Alibis
2. Run So Far
3. Old Love


Side 4
1. Breaking Point
2. Lead Me On
3. Before You Accuse Me

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FROM THE CRADLE (1994)


Side 1
1. Blues Before Sunrise
2. Third Degree
3. Reconsider Baby
4. Hoochie Coochie Man


Side 2
1. Five Long Years
2. I’m Tore Down
3. How Long Blues
4. Goin’ Away Baby


Side 3
1. Blues Leave Me Alone
2. Sinner’s Prayer
3. Motherless Child


Side 4
1. It Hurts Me Too
2. Someday After A While
3. Standin’ Round Crying
4. Driftin’
5. Groaning The Blues

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PILGRIM (1998)


Side 1
1. My Father’s Eyes
2. River Of Tears
3. Pilgrim


Side 2
1. Broken Hearted
2. One Chance
3. Circus


Side 3
1. Goin’ Down Slow
2. Fall Like Rain
3. Born In Time


Side 4
1. Sick And Tired
2. Needs His Woman
3. She’s Gone
4. You Were There
5. Inside Of Me

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RARITIES 1983-1998 (2022)


Side 1
1. Stone Free
2. Crossroads – Live
3. White Room – Live
4. Theme From A Movie That Never Happened (Orchestral)


Side 2
1. Pilgrim – Remix **
2. 32-20 Blues – Live
3. County Jail Blues – Live
4. Born Under A Bad Sign **

** previously unreleased

COMMENTS
rich d's picture

I can scarcely contain my excitement. Anyone wishing to mellow out to the protracted artistic decline of the third best guitarist in the Yardbirds should start robbing his kids' college fund now. The rest of us can just buy an old Bluesbreakers record and call it a day.

Anton D's picture

One of the best take downs I can recall here!

rich d's picture

And by the way, I like the hat: it makes your nose look shorter.

Tom L's picture

this was the period when I lost all interest in Clapton.
A 12 LP snoozefest for $250.

Mike Mettler's picture
It's a tough E.C. period to outright love collectively, I agree. From The Cradle is the most consistent overall entry of this half-dozen lot, though I do like certain tracks from the other albums of this period, most especially "Holy Mother" on Side 2 (well, now it's on Side 3) of August. The emotion is E.C.'s playing and singing on that one gets me every time.
Rashers's picture

And this will be discounted to $150. In 12 months it will be $100. I can’t imagine that there will be huge initial demand for these bland CD era recordings. An Albert Hall box set with Buddy Guy et al. Would be a tasty release, as would an Unplugged Deluxe set (including the outtakes).

SpinMark3313's picture

I'm an older audiophile who is off the upgrade train and loving it. Between burnout from constant upgrade obsession and arriving at a system that just nails all my HiFi desires, it's a delight to not be so consumed with what's-next-itis.
Sooooo... I have to think I am not alone in that the increase in music reviews on AP is, er, music to my ears. Well, OK, there was Malachi but, nah.
I've no doubt that I will upgrade gear on occasion in the coming years, but my focus is way more in the realm of new and exciting music releases as well as from-the-vaults stuff. I am a jazz head all the way but still have some prog rock seasons (ELP, on the AP website? How great is that?) along with occasional dips into the class rock of my younger days.
So, I'm pretty fired up about the site, the more frequent updates, and more music. Love Mikey but reviews of $20K phono preamps and 6 figure turntables just have no appeal.

Mike Mettler's picture
I appreciate your thoughtful comments about the reviews and overall coverage. Your jazz proclivities will be rewarded soon enough, btw, with the album review that will post later today, so stay tuned for that. Also, you can expect more prog-leaning content, as well as the occasional newer artist we feel has the chops to appeal to the AP faithful. Finally, the last thing I'll add for now is this: next week's interviewee has longstanding roots in the prog/classic rock vein.
SpinMark3313's picture

I appreciate the response. The older I get (sorry, don't mean to be obsessed with age now that I'm in the "final third") the more I appreciate the community of audiophiles - even the cranky ones. Sharing musical insights and delights makes it a much richer pursuit.

Enjoying and looking forward to more jazz / prog / classic rock content, and of course the more contemporary stuff for younger audiophiles. In spite of my wee bit snarky comment about Malachi (sorry lad, you're all right in my book) I did and do appreciate that which helps stoke the fires for the next generation.

Now if I could just get myself to slow down more and enjoy more listening sessions with carefully distilled amber liquid in my glass...

xtcfan80's picture

Agreed the “Music First” direction of both this site and Streophile is a great thing…. Matt keep up the great work!!

garrard701's picture

I wasn't going to comment because I assumed I was the only one who found Clapton bland after 1970-81 (covered in the previous vinyl set). I figured these albums must be well-recorded and loved by audiophiles... nice to see that others find this an underwhelming set. Honestly, why not just throw in 24 Nights and Unplugged? Those are the only two people really want from this era (and maybe From the Cradle). Considering there's a live box companion to the '70-'81 studio box, are we thinking there will be a Reprise live box with 24 Nights, Unplugged, and maybe the mammoth Crossroads 2? Or you know what would have been a better use of pressing plant capacity? A big box of all extant live and studio Derek & the Dominos material, currently spread across several CD-only box sets.

Tom L's picture

Just read the Bobby Whitlock autobiography (very interesting) and it caused me to play all those Layla CDs, even the jams. Great, great music, Layla itself also nicely recreated recently by the Tedeschi-Trucks Band on a live release.

Mike Mettler's picture
I think we can all pretty much agree E.C. has been consistently inconsistent when it comes to his solo-era recording career. I too would love to see a more complete LP-oriented Layla box set, revamping/remastering/recutting the 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition box set from 2011 that was focused mainly on its 5CD/1DVD-A content, with only the main album appearing in it on 2LPs.

As to Unplugged, given that said album has sold over 26 million copies worldwide to date, no way are they gonna bury it in a multi-release box set amidst other, lesser offerings from the E.C. catalog. The 20-track Unplugged - Expanded & Remastered edition that came out in a CD/DVD combo in 2013 would be the one to focus on for, say, a totally recut 4LP set, though we have indeed seen 2LP versions arise in the last decade containing only the 14 songs of the original release.

As for 24 Nights, there certainly seems to be a multi-LP box set's worth of material from that live-at-RAH period in the vaults that could certainly expand upon what has only appeared on 2LP offerings to date, by my last count.

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