2013 Holiday Gift Guide
Nothing says "Happy Holidays!" like a bottle of booze or a 1,000-piece puzzle featuring photos of a guy who knew his way around bottles of booze. You'll find those items -- as well as the usual pricey but essential box sets that come out around this time every season -- in this year's Holiday Gift Guide. You'll also find a couple things to hang on your wall, plus a sweater that will make you the talk of every holiday party you attend. Guaranteed.
Think it's tough distinguishing one Angus Young guitar riff from another? Try figuring out where the 1,000 pieces of this AC/DC puzzle -- made up of various band photos and album covers from their 40-year-career -- are supposed to fall into place. When you finally put it all together, probably sometime around next Christmas, you get a 20" x 27" piece of art perfect for framing and hanging on your wall.
This hefty box includes 35 studio albums, six live records and a two-CD set that gathers the various non-LP singles, soundtrack recordings and other odds and ends Bob Dylan released over his 50-year career. So it's pretty much all of the official stuff (besides the 'Bootleg Series' collections, which will be compiled on a later volume) out there. The CD box is pretty awesome, but the limited-edition harmonica USB set fits in a stocking and requires less wrapping paper.
You know who would probably love this gift set featuring a bottle of vodka in a decanter shaped like a skull? Keith Richards. But he can probably afford to drink a dozen cases of these every day if he wanted to. For everyone else, the holidays come around only once a year. And this special commemorative Rolling Stones set -- which comes with a decanter top engraved with the group's tongue logo and two CDs of live music -- is a perfect gift for the boozer in your life.
There are actually three massive Led Zeppelin lithographs that would look great on our -- er, your or your loved one's -- wall. We prefer the awesome 24" x 36" numbered print taken from the band's aborted 1980 tour that features an illustrated blimp towering over a smoldering cityscape. We also like the one from the May 5, 1973, show at Tampa Stadium featuring a sepia-toned photograph of the blimp hovering over blurry-eyed fans. We're not picky.
You'll be the envy of both your head-banging cousin and his tchotchke-hoarding mom with this deliberately tacky sweater from everyone's favorite thrash titans Metallica. Inspired by the band's 1986 masterpiece 'Master of Puppets,' the sweater is made of 50 percent wool and 50 percent acrylic, so it should keep you warm and toasty as you and your family gather around the yule log for a spirited group singalong of 'Leper Messiah.'
Holiday gifts don't necessarily have to acknowledge the holidays. But it sure is nice when things work out that way, though. Rock's favorite entrepreneurs get in the Christmas spirit with a 100 percent cotton Merry Kissmas blanket featuring the band members covered in the white stuff (we're assuming it's snow). And because it measures 52" X 37", you, Beth and Christine can all snuggle under it on chilly winter nights.
Between 1986 and 1998, Amnesty International staged a series of star-studded concerts to aid their cause. Everyone from Sting, U2 and Bruce Springsteen to Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performed at the shows. This six-DVD box includes more than 12 hours of performances culled from those historic concerts. There's also interviews, backstage footage and bonus performances. Best of all, proceeds benefit Amnesty International, filling your charitable-contribution requirement for the holidays.
This four-disc box centered on the Who's 1969 classic includes a newly remastered version of the rock opera, a hi-def Blu-ray mix, a disc of live cuts taken from the 'Tommy' tour and, best of all, a CD featuring Pete Townshend's original demos for the album. Plus, there's an 80-page hardback book and poster included. It's enough to make even Tommy scream out in joy.
If Rolling Stones vodka is a little too refined for your tastes, how about some Iron Maiden beer? The veteran metal band's latest endeavor is a handcrafted golden ale that features citric hop notes, a dominating malt flavor and subtle hints of lemon. It also contains a "combination of Goldings, Bobec and Cascade hops," if stuff like that matters to you. We prefer to just crack open a bottle and stare at the kick-ass label.
Mark Lewisohn is no stranger to essential Beatles books (he's previously chronicled every second they were in the studio). But his latest project is his most ambitious: a multi-volume series that tracks the Fab Four from start to bloody finish. The first book doesn't even get to the release of their first album, and it's almost 1,000 pages! It's a long and winding read, but one that Beatlemaniacs no doubt will want to experience.