Sound + Vision (box set)

Sound + Vision
Box set by
Released 19 September 1989 (1989-09-19) (original)
2 December 2003 (2003-12-02) (reissue)
Recorded 1969–1980 (original)
1969–1997 (reissue)
Genre Rock, glam rock, art rock
Length 196:38 (original)
298:03 (reissue)
Label Rykodisc/EMI/Virgin
Producer David Bowie, Ken Scott, Tony Visconti, Harry Maslin (original and reissue)
Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Derek Bramble, Hugh Padgham, David Richards, Tin Machine, Tim Palmer (reissue)
David Bowie chronology
Never Let Me Down
Sound + Vision
Alternative cover
2003 edition
2003 edition
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [1]
Rolling Stone [2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [3]

Sound + Vision is the first box set by English musician David Bowie, released by Rykodisc in 1989. By the end of the 1980s, the rights to Bowie's pre-1983 catalogue (originally issued by Phillips/Mercury Records and RCA Records) reverted to Bowie and his former management company, MainMan. Rykodisc had approached Bowie in 1988 to re-release his albums on CD and Bowie agreed, and in September 1989 the Sound + Vision box set was released.[4] By April 1990, the box set had sold over 200,000 copies, which, for a set costing $50–$60 (or about $110 today),[5] was considered "phenomenal".[6]

Set contents

Sound + Vision was originally conceived in January 1988 as a career retrospective, modeled on Bob Dylan's Biograph[7] and Eric Clapton's Crossroads,[8] that launched the then-upcoming Rykodisc CD reissue campaign covering Bowie's output from 1969 to 1980.[9] Primarily based on the Serious Moonlight Tour setlist,[10] it contains few of Bowie's greatest hits in their original form, instead frequently opting for demos, live versions and even a German vocal version of ""Heroes"" ("Helden"). The "rarities" originally included on the 1989 edition of Sound + Vision—rare single versions of "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud" and "Rebel Rebel", and previously unreleased studio outtakes "London Bye Ta-Ta", "1984/Dodo", "After Today" and "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City"—were exclusive to this box set.

Awards and reception

The set won the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Album Package.[11] Rolling Stone said the boxset "stood above the rest [of the 1989 boxset releases]" and called the release a "promising harbinger" for the then-upcoming re-release of Bowie's RCA back catalogue on CD by Rykodisc,[12] for which Bowie launched a worldwide supporting tour.[13]

Release versions

It exists in two primary editions, each of which has been released in an original version and a subsequent repackaged version:

  1. The original 1989 Rykodisc edition, in an LP-size box designed by Roger Gorman and featuring photography by Greg Gorman, was either in LP, audiocassette or CD format, as six LPs, three cassettes or three CDs and one CD-Video (a Laserdisc type disc that was retired in 1991), with the latter containing three audio live tracks and the music video of "Ashes to Ashes". There was also a numbered limited edition of 350 in a solid beech wood case with a certificate personally signed by Bowie. Content from this release included material from Bowie's catalogue through 1980 (including several live performances from the 1970s). A second Rykodisc version of this edition, released in 1994 on CD, replaced the CD-Video with a regular CD-ROM, and a further reissue in 1995 omitted the video disc entirely and was packaged in a smaller slipcase. The contents of these releases are otherwise identical to the original release.
  2. A new edition of the album, issued by Virgin/EMI in 2003, added Bowie studio material released from 1982–1993 (plus live tracks from 1983 and 1997), and replaced some of the tracks from the original set with alternate versions. This version contains more tracks on each CD than the original release, and does not include the CD-Video/CD-ROM tracks from the original release. This edition was re-released on CD, in a smaller slipcase, under the Rhino imprint in 2014.

Track listing

1989 issue

All tracks are written by David Bowie unless where noted.

2003 reissue (CD: EMI / 5945112)

All songs written by David Bowie except where noted. Songs that are different from the original Sound + Vision box set or new to this release of the box set are as indicated with *.



Year Chart Position
1989 US Billboard 200[14] 97
2014 Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[15] 89
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 63
2016 Australian Albums Chart[17] 72
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[18] 96
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[19] 26
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[20] 9


Organization Level Date
RIAA – US Gold 7 November 1995


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sound + Vision – David Bowie". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  2. ^ Rolling Stone magazine, 14–28 December 1989, page 245
  3. ^ The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. 2004. pp. 97–98.
  4. ^ White, Dennis R. (May 1990), "The Men Who Sold the Man", The Rocket, Seattle, WA, no. 127, p. 19
  5. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Bowie, Rebel in Repose" by Edna Gundersen, USA Today, 27 April 1990, Section D pp 1 & 2
  7. ^ Rougvie, Jeff (22 December 2014). "25 Years Ago(-ish) Part 4". JEFF ROUGVIE HUB. Retrieved 15 March 2019 – via Squarespace.
  8. ^ Rougvie, Jeff (18 November 2014). "It Was (nearly) 25 years ago Today Part 3". JEFF ROUGVIE HUB. Retrieved 15 March 2019 – via Squarespace.
  9. ^ Rougvie, Jeff (12 October 2015). "It Was 26+ Years Ago Today Part 2". JEFF ROUGVIE HUB. Retrieved 12 October 2015 – via Squarespace.
  10. ^ Rougvie, Jeff (15 November 2015). "It Was 26+ Years Ago Today Part 3 & Maybe 4 & 5, too". JEFF ROUGVIE HUB. Retrieved 15 March 2019 – via Squarespace.
  11. ^ Louie, Elaine. "Style Makers; Roger Gorman, Album Designer", The New York Times, New York, 1 April 1990. Retrieved on 12 October 2015.
  12. ^ "CD News" by Pete Howard, Rolling Stone, 14–28 December 1989, page 216
  13. ^ "Watch that Man" by Tina Clarke, Music Express, March 1990, page 9
  14. ^ "David Bowie Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  15. ^ " – David Bowie – Sound+Vision" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  16. ^ "David Bowie | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  17. ^ Ryan, Gavin (16 January 2016). "ARIA Albums: David Bowie 'Blackstar' Debuts at No 1". Noise11. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  18. ^ " – David Bowie – Sound+Vision" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2016. 6. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  20. ^ " – David Bowie – Sound+Vision". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 October 2020.