Complete CD box sets from Billy Joel to U2
Completists used to be seen as the ultimate fans -- the collectors who sought out every piece of music an artist released.
But this year, record companies are all about helping fans become completists, collecting all the works of an artist in a single boxed set.
Here's a look at some of the season's best complete sets and other collections:
BILLY JOEL, "THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION" (15 CDs, Columbia/Legacy)
WHAT'S IN IT? All of Billy Joel's studio albums, including his classical album "Fantasies and Delusions," remastered and packaged in a replica of the original vinyl release. It also features a CD of rarities that includes his versions of Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" and "Heartbreak Hotel," and Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love."
EXTRAS Two booklets with liner notes and photographs, as well as a new interview with veteran rock writer Steve Morse, where Joel talks about his career and reveals that he has always hated "Cold Spring Harbor" and is most proud of "The Nylon Curtain" as "a labor of music." He also understands why some younger rockers have put him down, saying, "Rock and roll does have to cannibalize itself. That's how it lives. It eats the elders of the tribe."
LIST PRICE $199.99
THE SMITHS, "THE SMITHS COMPLETE" (eight CDs, Rhino)
WHAT'S IN IT? All four of the British band's classic studio albums, as well as their its three compilations and the live album "Rank," remastered by guitarist Johnny Marr on CD with replicas of the albums' original artwork.
EXTRAS New liner notes. (The deluxe box set includes the albums on CD and vinyl, all 25 of the band's singles on 7-inch vinyl and 12-inch art prints of all the albums' covers.)
LIST PRICE $68.99 (Deluxe version: $499.98)
THE BEACH BOYS, "THE SMILE SESSIONS" (five CDs, two LPs, two 7-inch singles, Capitol)
WHAT'S IN IT? A chronicle of the historically ambitious sessions for the Beach Boys' attempt at creating the greatest rock album ever, "Smile." They famously never finished it (though Brian Wilson did record a version of it with his band in 2004), but they show what could have been here, along with four CDs showing the recording process.
EXTRAS The original album artwork and a booklet interpreting the band's lyrics by Frank Holmes and a 60-page book featuring unreleased photos and new essays about the album from Brian Wilson, Mike Love and others.
LIST PRICE $169.99
TONY BENNETT, "TONY BENNETT: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION" (73 CDs, three DVDs, Sony/Legacy)
WHAT'S IN IT? Pretty much everything the living legend from Astoria has ever done in his remarkable 59-year recording career -- all 63 of his albums, including several released on CD for the first time, six CDs collecting just his singles, and several live albums -- all housed in replicas of their original artwork.
EXTRAS There's a 250-page book featuring artwork and an essay from Bennett, original liner notes and photos. The collection also has three DVDs, including his Grammy-winning "MTV Unplugged" special from 1994.
LIST PRICE $399.99 (Autographed version is $499.99)
U2'S "ACHTUNG BABY" (six CDs, four DVDs, Island)
WHAT'S IN IT? For the 20th anniversary of U2's ambitious album and its companion "Zooropa," the band has opened its vaults, pulling out previously unheard material from the recording sessions and four DVDs, including videos from its "Zoo TV" tour.
EXTRAS A 92-page book about the album and 16 prints of art from the project.
LIST PRICE $139.99
ELVIS PRESLEY, "YOUNG MAN WITH THE BIG BEAT" (five CDs, RCA/Legacy)
WHAT'S IN IT? The 55th anniversary of Presley's incredible arrival deserves the massive tribute, including reissues of his first two albums, "Elvis Presley" and "Elvis," along with B-sides and other rarities, a live album and a collection of interviews.
EXTRAS A book featuring a day-by-day recounting of 1956 for "The King" and reprinted memorabilia from his tours of that year.
LIST PRICE $109.99
PEARL JAM, "VS. AND VITALOGY LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR'S BOXED SET" (five LPs, three CDs, one cassette, Epic/Legacy)
WHAT'S IN IT? Remastered versions of "Vs." and "Vitalogy" on both CD and LP, with bonus tracks on each, and "Live at the Orpheum Theatre, Boston, April 12, 1994" on CD and LP.
EXTRAS A cassette of Pearl Jam songs done by the band and a cast of friends including Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, Mudhoney's Mark Arm and Mike Watt.
LIST PRICE $150
Depeche Mode, "Remixes 2: 81-11" (three CDs, Rhino)
WHAT'S IN IT? A collection of the British electronic music pioneers' biggest hits reinterpreted by a squad of hot producers and artists, including M83, Stargate, and Peter, Bjorn and John.
EXTRAS Original Depeche member Vince Clarke, who left to form Yaz and later Erasure, takes on "Behind the Wheel."
LIST PRICE $39.99