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Jeff Wayne - The War Of The Worlds CD (album) cover


Jeff Wayne


Crossover Prog

3.96 | 179 ratings

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3 stars Jeff Wayne's War of the World's Musical version got a lot of airplay when it came out in 1978 and was hard to ignore. It was in the long row of Double LP concept records appearing in the 70's going from Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy, Quadrophenia to the Disco version of Sergeant Pepper and has some of the same flaws as the records mentioned, the main ones : being too long and too pompous. I didn't bought the record back then and I didn't remember having listened to the whole record also I quite liked what I heard, especially the great narrator's voice of Richard Burton. So the other day I came upon the vinyl on a flew market in near mint condition (including the booklet) and real cheap and it would have been a crime not to take it. So I listened for the first time to the entire record and it was quite fun. Most of you have got the story so far. It's a musical adaption of H.G. Wells's famous novel, having become even more famous due to Orson Welles radio play. What you basically got here is a greater part of narration, alternating with instrumental passages and a few songs, a couple in form of a duet and/or a choir vs. solo voice. The cast came mainly from the rock field Phil Lynnot (Thin Lizzy), Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann) David Essex, Julie Covington (Evita) plus some musicians equally from rock and/or studio background. Now, the overall atmosphere is a bit pompous and cheesy with a typical late 70's disco beat on the bottom, but it works and together with the narration and songs the record has aged rather well. Apart from the orchestral arrangements and the conceptual story there is not much prog in it so, the instrumental passages tend to be a bit overlong , redundant and not very daring. The melodic material is good, so not outstanding, Forever Autumn (sung by Justin Hayward) and Thunder Child (sung by Chris Thompson) are among the better songs. There are some leitmotivs appearing, the most famous one the Martian war cry "ULLA", made with a guitar talk box or a vocoder (?)And the Martian heat wave impersonated by Jo Partridge's guitar, plus a couple of synth sweeps linked to the aliens. All in all a pleasant listen with a nice retro touch eventually diminished by your acceptance or not of an ongoing disco beat.
Alucard | 3/5 |


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