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

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

Jeff Wayne

 

Crossover Prog

3.96 | 179 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars There is nothing that progheads hated more in the 70's than Disco. This dance genre was the antithesis of what Progressive Rock means for us, but Jeff Wayne did the unthinkable, a pompous symphonic progressive conceptual album with a touch of Disco Music in the rhythm section which was loved by most progheads..

Probably we were so happy to listen something so majestic in those years when prog' was getting weaker, that didn't noticed (or if we did, never cared) this almost pagan influence, which as a fact doesn't affect the quality of the Music.

But the main question that we asked after listening this album was: Who in the hell is this guy Jeff Wayne? The answer was not easily found among the progressive fans, probably any Broadway Musical fan would know about him because his job is mainly the one of a producer and composer with enough contacts to recruit an impressive cast that included actors like Richard Burton as The Narrator, Broadway stars as Julie Covington and Rock musicians like Chris Thompson from Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Justin Hayward from The Moody Blues, the great Philippe Lynnot from Thin Lizzy, the one hit wonder David Essex and many others.

The album is divided in two parts the first CD is about 'The Coming of the Martians', while the second CD covers 'The Earth Under the Martians', being the first one stronger than the second one.

The first CD opens with the sober and appropriate narration by Richard Burton, which gives credibility to the album and works as an introduction for one of the most pompous and spectacular pieces of music ever released, not a masterpiece but really impressive and shocking, Jeff Wayne captures the spirit of other progressive keyboardists like Rick Wakeman.

In this point is where Jeff mixes the spirit of prog with the percussion of Disco Music, something strange when the drummer is Barry Da Souza who played with Rick Wakeman in some albums.

The Disco sound is so clear that this first track was used during the late 70's and 80's by the DJ's in clubs as part of their mixes, of course avoiding narration and the efficient vocals by Justin Hayward.

The next two tracks are more narrative and it's importance lies in the history, but then comes the best-known track of this album, Forever Autumn, a beautiful but simple ballad with the excellent vocals of Justin Hayward, later the Moody Blues would take off the sound effects of this track and include it as a hit single present in some compilations of this band.

The highest point of CD 2 is Brave New World, a track that plays in the border of rock and Broadway Musical, but the interpretations of Phil Lynott and Julie Covington are impeccable, and the music keeps the listener in suspense because it's absolutely breathtaking.

The orchestration and conduction deserve a special mention as well as the production, all simply impeccable. The original LP version had an excellent booklet that included amazing drawings, something that's sadly been lost in the CD re issues.

The War of the Worlds is probably the best adaptation of a literature piece and one of the most faithful, except for the second Epilogue (the one about NASA), which IMO is out of place.

Not the best album ever released but almost a masterpiece, every prog' fan should have a copy of it, imagine what other chance will you have to listen the legendary bassist of Thin Lizzy with an Ex Manfred Mann member and the vocalist of the Moody Blues sharing credits with Richard Burton.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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