War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds

5.0 9
by Jeff Wayne
     
 

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.See more details below

Overview

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 Covington and the Moody Blues' Justin Hayward in very attractive singing roles attest to its pop
ock 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). ~ Paul Collins and Bruce Eder

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/1990
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074643529020
catalogNumber:
35290

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jeff Wayne   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Conductor,Keyboards,Track Performer
David Essex   Vocals,Track Performer
Justin Hayward   Vocals,Track Performer
Chris Spedding   Guitar
Julie Covington   Vocals,Track Performer
Herbie Flowers   Bass Guitar
Billy Lawrie   Background Vocals
Phil Lynott   Vocals,Track Performer
Chris Thompson   Vocals,Track Performer
Richard Burton   Vocals,Track Performer
Ray Cooper   Percussion
Laurence Diana   scratching
George Fenton   Zither,Taragat,Santur
Ken Freeman   Synthesizer,Keyboards
Barry Morgan   Drums
Gary Osborne   Background Vocals
Jo Partridge   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Paul Vigrass   Background Vocals
Jerry Wayne   Voices
Roy Jones   Percussion
Barry Da Souza   Percussion

Technical Credits

David Essex   Contributor
Justin Hayward   Contributor
Julie Covington   Contributor
Phil Lynott   Contributor
Chris Thompson   Contributor
Jeff Wayne   Producer,Orchestration
Richard Burton   Contributor
Laurence Diana   Contributor
Bill Foster   Mastering
Jo Partridge   Contributor
Jerry Wayne   Director,Executive Producer
Geoff Young   Engineer
John Pasche   Art Direction
Peter Goodfellow   Artwork
Charles Dubin   Director
Pest   Sound Effects

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