The Age of the Digital Remaster:

Reissue Possibilities

This was written in February 2002, and since then, Europeans' Recurring Dreams album has been re-issued on CD.




"When are the Europeans albums going to be re-issued on CD ?" is still, by far, the most commonly asked question by visitors to this site.  With frequent rumours and speculation about such re-releases, I thought it might be good to have a proper look at the Europeans archive, and see how the back catalogue might be best presented.

Remaster Projects 

80s throwbacks


In the last five or ten years, most of the major bands have had their back catalogues reissued.  We're living in the age of the digital remaster, and we, the record buying public are suckers for them.  There is obviously a big commercial incentive to such a project (fans may well be buying a new packaging of an album they already have on CD, and before that on vinyl) but this has not, on the whole compromised quality, with record companies putting time and effort into releasing definitive 'collectors versions.'

The reissues by two of my favourite groups, The Who, and Marillion, have been superb.  In addition to a digital clean up of the original albums, these often have new booklets, with updated artwork, detailed liner notes & interviews, track by track recollections from band members, rare pictures, alternate cover designs and more. The most interesting parts are often (to use 'DVD' speak) the musical 'extras' that are added to the discs: elusive b-sides, (sometimes only ever available on scratchy vinyl 7" and 12" issues or hard to find CD singles) 12" remixes, demos of albums tracks, live versions, and sometimes out-takes or unreleased tracks from the era.

The Demand 

The first thing to note about the Europeans albums is that they can be very hard to get hold of.  Sure, if you know where to look (and have read my Guide to Collecting) you could pick them up, but it may take time to track them down.  At present, the majority of people have only heard multi-generation taped copies that circulate among fans!  This is not the best introduction to a band !

In the late 90s, before I started this site, I remember a petition for the Europeans re-issues was started.  I was told that several hundred names were collected.  Sadly, this came to nothing.  In the last 3 years, this site has had over 7000 visits!  I'm guessing that the majority of visitors get here via the Marillion connection. (there is a links on Steve's Profile at the website and from his own 'official' site at  I think that the biggest demand for the re-release of the albums will be from Marillion fans.  

euros underground


However, remember that Europeans did have a fairly high profile in the mid 80s (in the UK, Europe and the US) and lots of people saw them.  They could sell out gigs, but not translate that in to album sales.  So, there is great scope to promote and market the CDs more widely.  I wouldn't be surprised if the re-issues turned out to be better sellers than the original albums!


The Prospects 

This is the bit where it gets trickier.  The Europeans' label, A&M ceased to exist in the mid 90s, and the whole catalogue was placed in the safe hands of Polygram.  Speaking on 'The Artist Shop IRC Chat' in August 1998 Steve Hogarth had this to say:  "There are no immediate plans (to re-release the Europeans CDs). This is something I've been pestered into investigating and I must try harder to get on top of it.  With the recent demise of A&M Records the whole process may become more difficult. Or it may become easier because no one will care. Who knows, it's all very political."   

In June 1999, Colin Woore got in touch to tell me that "The Europeans re-signed all the band's material to our old publisher, with a view to getting the albums re-released."  

However, by November 2000, Ferg Harper told me that "an approach had been made (by the publishers) to the record company, but they asked for an outrageous sum of money... so that whole idea has been on the backburner..."  So, it seems that the project is temporarily on hold.

Remember though, it was only a few years ago that Steve Hogarth believed that the Euros stuff might be easy to release, but the How We Live album would never see the light of day again...

Racket & How We Live 

How We Live's 'Dry Land' album was re-issued in June 2000 on Marillion's own 'Racket Records' label.  My guess is, that if the legal complications can be ironed out, then the Euros stuff will more than likely appear on 'Racket' too. Marillion have complete artistic, commercial and financial control of the label, and have done a good job over the last few years, releasing a mix of live shows, 'making of' sets and a few other artists' albums. 

Dry Land 2000

The recent re-issue of How We Live's album has certainly raised hopes of seeing the Euros make their way on to CD.  The Dry Land '2000' edition contained a remaster of the original album, a redesigned sleeve and two very good 'bonus tracks'- 'Simon's Car' and 'You Don't Need Anyone.' (I must admit, it would have been good to also see HWL b-side 'English Summer', the remix of All the Time in the World or Working Girl, a couple of live tracks, or non album demos such as 'We Don't need to be Lovers.') As far as I can tell, public reaction to this reissue has been very enthusiastic.  It is great that people can hear this album once again, after it's years in the wilderness. 


Euros Repackaging 

So, what could they be like?  A quick look around this site shows that there is a multitude of possibilities.  Having witnessed the enthusiasm for the band, not least from the four members themselves, I'm certain that when they do come out, they will be assembled with a lot of thought and care.  If they can be treated with the attention to detail that helped the Marillion remasters to be so good, then we would all be happy!  Speaking in 1999 about those CDs (from an interview on the 'Rivendell Progpage') Steve Hogarth certainly feels the same way : "The remasters have been very thoughtfully and sensitively put together and a lot of time and trouble has been made during the creation of the covers. The re-mastering is very well done so they are all quality packagings. And EMI has also asked the fans what bonus tracks they wanted to see on the CD's, that is really good... the extra tracks and the additional bits and pieces are collectable so for most people it will be worth buying them to have the extra tracks and the extra input on the sleeve from the band and their own recollection of the memories of recording them. Anyone who is a big fan of the band and is interested in the band will probably buy them for that reason, rather then to hear something enhanced."


Album Possibilities 


So, here is a quick look at what 'extra' tracks might appear on the euros reissues.  Even in my highest expectations, I doubt we'll get to see it all, but we live in hope...




The early Europeans singles contain tracks and remixes that never made it on to the Vocabulary album. The studio recordings 'Someone's Changing', 'New Industry' & 'Going to Work' were included as b-sides, and are unavailable anywhere else. The single versions of 'The Animal Song,' 'Recognition', and AEIOU bside 'Voice on the Telephone' are different to the remixed versions that appeared on the album. There is an alternate take of 'American People' that was released on the US 'Recognition' ep, and also the 'extended' remixes that appeared on the europeans 12" singles: 'The Animal Song (cross country version)', 'Recognition' (US/UK dance mix) and 'A.E.I.O.U (alphabet soup)'.



There may well be studio versions of unreleased europeans tracks such as 'Don't Cry', 'Norman Normal' (from the same sessions as 'Drink Pink Zinc') and 'Tokyo'. There is apparently a studio version of 'Joining Dots' recorded by Trevor Vallis in 1982, and demo versions of 'Typical', 'Falling' & 'Voice on the Telephone'. Many of the Vocabulary tracks were radically restructured for the album, so alternate or 'early' versions of the songs may also be interesting additions.





In addition to performances of the better Vocabulary tracks, the Live album featured three 'new' tracks that never consequently made it on to any album. Two nights at Dingwalls were recorded, so I'm sure that there are more tracks in the vaults. We have yet to hear live versions of Vocabulary tracks 'Voice on the Telephone', 'Recognition', 'Modern Homes' or 'Kingdom Come'. Sadly, there were never any live versions of the Recurring Dreams tracks officially released. By all accounts, these 1984 shows were even better, with Geoff and Ferg playing keyboards during the show to fully recreate the album sounds. An expanded live set covering the two albums would be great.




The non-album single 'Listen' and it's b-side 'Climb the Wall' (in it's edited form and much better extended 12" mix) was released after the Live album, but before Recurring Dreams. It doesn't really 'belong' to either studio album, and it is obviously not a live track, but chronologically it might best fit here ?



Recurring Dreams


Generally regarded as the band's finest album, a remaster to CD format alone would be amazing. It is also has the best prospects, and highest expectations as a re-issue set. The 'edits from Recurring Dreams' song snippets are quite fun, as is the 'You Don't Want Me (In Your Life)' extended mix. There is also a single edit of 'Acid Rain.' Work in progress versions, demos, extended versions, or alternate mixes of any of these tracks may also exist. Perhaps the original album sleeve concept could be resurrected too ?





The highlight of this set would be the addition of demo tracks written for the third europeans album in 1984-85. There are at least a dozen unreleased demos of tracks, including (at least): 'Emotional Warfare', 'Freedom', 'Breathless', 'So Far Away', 'Wrap Me In the Flag', 'No Point', 'Dry Land', 'Lost at Sea', 'Games in Germany', 'Working Girl' & 'All the Time in the World'. Some of these songs were re-recorded for the How We Live album, and other ideas have since been used by Steve in Marillion songs.  The addition of such tracks would make an already classic album, a masterpiece.






Tim Glasswell

February 2002


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