Jeff Wayne - Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds
Jeff Wayne - Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds
Jeff Wayne - Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds

Jeff Wayne - Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds

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Tracklist Show Credits

The Coming Of The Martians 24:45
A1 The Eve Of The War
A2 Horsell Common And The Heat Ray
B1 The Artilleryman And The Fighting Machine
B2 Forever Autumn
B3 Thunderchild
The Earth Under The Martians
C1 The Red Weed And Parson Nathaniel
D1 Brave New World And Dead London
D2 Epilogue

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is a 1978 concept album by Jeff Wayne, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Its format isprogressive rock and string orchestra, using narration and leitmotifs to carry the story via rhyming melodic lyrics that express the feelings of the various characters. The two-disc album remains a bestseller, having sold millions of records around the world, and is the 39th best selling album of all time in the UK with sales of 2,561,286 by 2009. It has since spawned multiple versions of the album, video games, DVDs, and live tours.

AllMusic Review by  

Released 40 years after Orson Welles' infamous radio version of the H.G. Wells tale, Jeff Wayne's musical version of War of the Worlds straddles old-style radio drama and contemporary orchestrated narratives by Rick Wakeman and David Bedford. And while it lacks the sophisticated arrangements of, say, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, it does boast an impressively odd cast -- this may be the only time that a member of Thin Lizzy worked with Richard Burton, and the presence of Julie Covingtonand the Moody Blues' Justin Hayward in very attractive singing roles attest to its pop/rock aspirations. It's Burton's sonorous tones that sustain this work; his frequent solo narrations are eminently listenable, whereas sections featuring dialogue with other characters often come off as a bit stilted. The music is competent studio rock, and "Horsell Common and the Heat Ray" does strike just the right balance between Burton's narration and an accompaniment built around a buzzsaw guitar riff. Overall, it's pleasant as a period piece, and still a fine way to introduce younger listeners to Wells' classic tale. (And if you can find it in a vinyl, it comes with a nicely produced narrative booklet with gloriously lurid illustrations by Geoff Taylor.) The album was actually appealing on too many fronts for its own good in many ways -- the Justin Hayward-sung ballad "Forever Autumn," extracted from a much longer piece on the double-LP -- showed some signs of appealing to AM radio listeners and climbed to the Top 40 based on airplay alone, but by the time Columbia Records in America (missing this boat entirely) got copies of the single into stores so that people could actually buy the record, the song had dropped back down; in the meantime, the record became a favorite of discos and dance clubs in New York and elsewhere, where its extended, highly rhythmic, synthesizer-driven sections delighted deejays and audiences, and Columbia missed another bet by not releasing an instrumental-only assembly of those long passages. (In New York, for years after it went out of print on vinyl, the album was sought after by club deejays eager to spin it).