The SMiLE Sessions

The big news in retrospectives for 2011 was undoubtedly the first official release of the Beach Boys' SMiLE Sessions, the legendary lost album Brian Wilson left uncompleted in 1967. SMiLE appeared as a double-disc set and as a lavish five-disc box, one of many extravagant deluxe reissues of a single album. So many of these appeared -- McCartney I and McCartney II, Quadrophenia, Some Girls, Nevermind, Achtung Baby -- that they overshadowed other excellent box sets, like the Smiths receiving their first remasters, Howlin Wolf's complete Chess masters, and Mickey Newbury's early albums collected as An American Trilogy. But the reissues of 2011 didn't just appear as box sets: there were plenty of excellent single and double-disc retrospectives, two-fers, and straight-up album reissues that made this an excellent year for pop's past.
Ace - Five-A-Side
Autechre - EPs 1991-2002
The Beach Boys - The SMiLE Sessions
Bobby Charles - Bobby Charles
Ray Charles - Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles
Dennis Coffey - Absolutely the Best of Dennis Coffey
Tommy Collins - Black Cat: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight
Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness/Lord of Lords
Dave Davies - Hidden Treasures
Miles Davis Quintet - Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1
DeBarge - Time Will Reveal: The Complete Motown Albums
Neil Diamond - The Bang Years: 1966-1968
Disco Inferno - The 5 EPs
Dobie Gray - Drift Away/Loving Arms
Slim Harpo - Rocks
Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960
George Jones - Heartbreak Hotel: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight
Teena Marie - Irons in the Fire
Paul McCartney - McCartney II
George Michael - Faith
Frankie Miller - ...That's Who! The Complete Chrysalis Recordings (1973-1980)
Stephanie Mills - Feel the Fire: The 20th Century Collection
Mickey Newbury - An American Trilogy
Nirvana - Nevermind
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Elvis Presley - Young Man with the Big Beat: The Complete '56 Elvis Presley Masters
R.E.M. - Lifes Rich Pageant
Charlie Rich - It Ain't Gonna Be That Way: The Complete Smash Sessions
Rockpile - Live at Montreux 1980
The Rolling Stones - Some Girls
Sade - The Ultimate Collection
The Sir Douglas Quintet - The Mono Singles '68-'72
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
The Smiths - Complete
Suede - Suede
Suede - Dog Man Star
The Who - Quadrophenia

Comprehensive coverage of the AllMusic editors' favorite 2011 recordings can be followed here.