Concieved in 1972, written and recorded over a three-year period with some of the finest rock musicians of all time, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds stands at the pinnacle of the symphonic rock genre. This work builds on the tradition of the Moodies Days of Future Past, Procol Harum, Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and Myths and Legends of King Aurthur to tell a story that is timeless in a recording that has also proved to be timeless. The performances by Sir Richard Burton, Justin Hayward, et. al. are superb and the recording sounds as if it were recorded in 1998, not 1974/1975. I have listened to this over a thousand times and have never tired of it. This is the one “must have” in any serious rock music-lover’s collection.
Jeff Wayne’s 1978 rock soundtrack to the remake of Orson Welle’s classic 1930 tale of global invasion. A double jewel case housed inside a slipcase, this special presenta-tion edition features Super Bit Mapping and includes bonus remixes. 16 tracks in all. 1995 Columbia release.
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Jeff Wayne’s musical version of this great book of sci-fi is a must for fans. The Journalist is Richard Burton, who does a great job, and the two CDs come with a tiny booklet which holds both the lyrics and the script. The tiny booklet also holds a series of paintings based on the novel which have become somewhat famous from being used on both the cover of Pan Book’s ‘The War of the Worlds’ AND also being used in the ‘Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds’ computer game, which also uses Jeff Wayne’s music.
Like some other reviewers, my introduction to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds was via a Halloween eve radio broadcast in the late 1970’s. War of the Worlds is one of those incredible performances that should not be limited to the memories of the “70’s generation”. I’m gratified to see so many reviews from people in their 30’s and younger who have discovered this masterpiece.Like Tommy, The Wall, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and even Thick as a Brick, it is a timeless piece of theatrical work. Yes, it’s a little disco-y in places, ladened with heavy guitar and waa-waa effects for the Martian “voice, the delivery is a bit overwrought at times, but these charateristics are authentic hallmarks of its progressive rock roots. To deny these aspects as part of its charm is a little like dissings Mozart’s compositions because they are often dramatic, performed on outdated instruments and have too many notes.I’ve always felt that WOTW is highly worthy or reintroduction every few years so that up and coming generations can experience Richard Burton’s evocative storytelling, the haunting vocals of Julie Covington as Beth, the madness of Parson Nathaniel (the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy) and the Artillary Man (David “Rock On” Essex), and can once and for all hear Justin Hayward’s lyrical Forever Autumn in its proper context. Although it was apparently not written for WOTW, it fits the story perfectly.I have even dreamed of a WOTW revival with new artists performing – Patrick Stewart as the Journalist, and some more contemporary vocalists in the key roles – suggestions anyone?
By pure chance I first heard the song “Eve of the War” some 20 years ago on German television where they happen to use it as background music to the testcard at some time during the day. It was nothing but a coincidence. Since then, I have never managed to rid myself of the enchanting music and lyrics. When I finally bought the album (in the good old ddays of vinyl) friends and I often gathered just to listen to it over a couple of bottles of wine. Although to those who know the original book by H G Wells, Jeff Wayne’s adaptation may be a little disappointing, one has to bear in mind that, after all, it is an “adaptation” and that Jeff Wayne did superbly well. Not only do the lyrics catch the main and most important aspects of the original book but the accompanying music underlines the moods of the respective parts of the story extremely well. The best example is the music of “The Eve of the War” which, with its upbeat tone, almost ensures that there is hardly any possibility at all of live on Mars. This, of course, is contrasted by the almost surreal “The Red Weed” when Earth is under the rule of the Martians. It can honestly said that it is one of the best musical adaptations of literature I have ever come across which is of course helped by the fact that no other than the late but unforgotten Richard Burton reads the part of the journalists. David Essex, Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, Chris Thompson, Julie Covington provide the voices to the songs and are extremely good. Once you have listened to it and then read the book (again?) you will always have the music in your ear. Unforgettable!
I first discovered this masterpiece over 20 years ago in a record store and thought its cover was quite unique. Started playing it and my family sat in and listened as well. The music was quite haunting especially “Forever Autumn”. Needless to say WOTW was played a great deal. Fast forward to this past July, I again found the CD in a Book/Record store and immediately purchased it. The young man who worked at the cash register was quite impressed with the names behind WOTW’s production. I encouraged him to buy a copy and listen seriously. Two days later my sister, her seven-year-old daughter and I were on a 2-hour road trip to participate a 5K race. What better way to pump ourselves up than to “imagine” the Martians chasing us!Hearing the opening lines of “Thunder Child” brought tears to my eyes. You cannot help but imagine seeing the tripod figures striding through the Thames bearing down upon a lone ironclad vessel which had no hope of winning such an ill balanced battle. This is a wonderful CD. I highly recommend it to everyone.