As holiday season approaches, record labels are gearing up to capitalize on the gift-giving season. And that means, lots of “best of” and boxed set collections.

New on the shelves comes the Very Best of Mick Jagger on Atlantic/Rhino Records, a 17-song collection culled from Mick Jagger 's four solo CDs and a couple of soundtrack and guest appearances on other artists' albums. It includes his only major solo hit, “Just Another Night,” as well as his smash duet with David Bowie, the Martha & The Vandellas' remake “Dancing in the Street,” as well as his collaborations with The Red Devils, Peter Tosh and Dave Stewart.

Rhino and Atlantic have also have teamed up to release a new/old Aretha Franklin collection. Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of The Queen of Soul is a two-CD set featuring 35 songs, including early demos and outtakes of key songs like “You Keep Me Hangin' On,” “You're All I Need to Get By,” “Rock Steady,” and her Beatles cover “The Fool on the Hill” as well as the single B-Side “Lean On Me” and a 1973 TV duet with Ray Charles, “Ain't But The One.”

Jars of ClayFrom Legacy comes a new edition in their “Essentials” series, this time compiling the best work of Jars of Clay. Titled The Essential Jars of Clay, it offers two discs and 34 songs from the Christian folk rockers. The set offers their debut hit single “Flood,” along with “Widowing Field” (from the “When We Were Warriors” soundtrack) and their Christmas remake “Little Drummer Boy,” amid tracks from seven studio albums and a couple other sources.

The Activision video game Guitar Hero has been such a success, it's spawned sequels and now a soundtrack -- Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Companion Pack is now available on CD from Interscope, loaded with hard rock tracks and a special download pack. The disc offers Slash's “Guitar Hero 3 Intro,” alongside Smashing Pumpkins' “Cherub Rock,” Living Colour 's “Cult of Personality,” Marilyn Manson 's “Putting Holes in Happiness” and Velvet Revolver 's “Slither,” as well as tracks from Queens of the Stone Age, Sonic Youth, Rise Against and more.


Joy DivisionJoy Division has enjoyed a continuous cycle of rediscovery since their brief recording career ended with singer Ian Curtis' suicide 27 years ago. This formative period in goth-rock history recently spawned Control, a movie about Ian Curtis. The band recorded only two studio albums, 1979's Unknown Pleasures and 1980's Closer before their life was unexpectantly cut short. Ironically, neither of those discs contain the band's only hit, the classic goth single “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” released a month after Curtis' death. A third “odds and sods” CD containing other recordings from the band was released in 1981 titled Still.

These three albums have now been reissued by Warner/Rhino Records in expanded two-disc editions. The second disc of each album includes live performances from the band recorded in 1980 (and two of the three feature live recordings of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”)

In addition to the expanded Joy Division albums, the Warner/Rhino has also issued the soundtrack to Control, which features the original single version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as well as a couple other Joy Division recordings. The rest of the disc is made up of songs from New Order (the band formed by the remaining members of Joy Division), and tracks from Velvet Underground, The Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Roxy Music, and a new cover of Joy Division's “Shadowplay” by The Killers.

—John Everson