Review Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds (1978)

Doctor Omega

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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is the debut studio album by Jeff Wayne, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells,[1] released 6 September 1978. A concept album, its main format is progressive 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,[1] and by 2009 it was the 40th best selling album of all time in the UK with sales of 2,561,286.[3] It has since spawned multiple versions of the album, video games, DVDs, and live tours.


Differences from Wells' novel
  • "The Journalist" is an amalgam of two of Wells' characters: a writer of speculative philosophy (who narrates much of the book) and his younger brother who is a medical student (who narrates the Thunder Child section).
  • The Journalist's girlfriend Carrie does not exist in the novel, where the narrator has an unnamed wife. Carrie serves two purposes: firstly, she provides a reason for the Journalist to travel to London, where he experiences the events witnessed in the novel by the narrator's brother. Secondly, she provides the focus for the Journalist's thoughts in the song "Forever Autumn".
  • In the novel, the Handling machine is not as big, is used for construction and does not have a basket for collecting humans. Instead the Fighting machines collect humans for consumption.
  • In the novel, the Martians have at least one flying machine and also an autonomous digging machine. Neither are mentioned in the album.
  • "Parson Nathaniel" in the novel is simply called "the curate". There is no mention of a wife.
Cast

Performers

Album


 

Doctor Omega

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Jeff Wayne, Liam Neeson, Gary Barlow - The Eve of the War (War of the Worlds New Generation)



 

ant-mac

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An excellent production, which I've listened to regularly since my teens.

In my early twenties, I'd drive up to the local Scout Camp in the nearby hills at night, put the cassette on to play in my car, climb up on the roof and lay back under the stars, listening to it until the first hint of dawn.

I'm surprised more people don't know about this brilliant science fiction musical.
 

Doctor Omega

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That ending/epilogue still gives me goosebumps.

Some amazing vocal performances in it too. Phil Lynott as the Parson is phenomenal.


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