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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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4 stars In 1978, disco was king and prog was a fallen star, beyond salvation. An ambitious project no doubt hatched during better days finally came to fruition and made a huge worldwide splash, although admittedly less so in North America. It did so by blending prog with disco far more convincingly than anything we had ever seen before, and with compositions, melodies, performances, and, of course, a story line far superior to what either individual genre had been feeding us for some time. This is like an unrestrained ALAN PARSONS PROJECT sprawled out over 2 LPs, with stellar narration, repetitive motifs, and even a few obvious hit singles effortlessly blended into the mix. Filler doesn't really become an issue until side 4, so that it actually contains 50% less of the stuff than most doubles of its day.

Richard Burton, Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, David Essex, Julie Covington, Chris Thompson, Herbie Glowers and Chris Spedding all deliver performances as if they lived through the ordeal or died trying, which is a propos. Highlights are most of the first 3 sides, but particularly Justin Hayward's voices on side 1 and "Forever Autumn", the last great hope and ultimate tragedy of "Thunder Child", and the tortured couple (Covington and Lynott) in "The Spirit of Man". Jeff Wayne handles most of the synthesizers which chillingly approximate the mechanized Martian vocalizations and movements.

I recommend you listen to this in its entirety on a dark cozy night and let yourself be carried off like those who heard the original radio broadcast 70+ years ago. Please don't jump out of any windows though - it's just a one of the greatest science fiction stories ever, masterfully conveyed in genre-spanning music.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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