Classic Album – Jeff Wayne – The War Of The Worlds – Review

Today I’m going to review the iconic Jeff Wayne’s musical ‘War Of The Worlds’ although it was released back in 1978 it is still an album that sounds as great today as it ever did. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells it is an album that spent 290 weeks in the UK charts reached top 10 in 22 countries and number 1 in 11 more and contained some of the most respected artists around on the album including Richard Burton, Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, David Essex, Julie Covington and what would become known as the Black Smoke Band and the ULLAdubULLA String Orchestra.

After the beginning narration (which is brilliantly done by Richard Burton), opening track ‘The Eve of War’ starts with what is without doubt one of the most instantly recognisable and iconic pieces of music in musical history as the ULLAdubULLA string orchestra makes it’s presence felt, although only a simple opening sequence it’s unbelievably powerful (and forms the main recurring theme throughout the album). The song progresses from there on in with the introduction of some nice bass and lots of electronic sounds, guitar and a good vibrant drum beat as the song sets the tone and starts the story. Track four ‘Forever Autumn’ was the most successful release from the album having reached number 5 in the UK single charts, sung beautifully by Justin Hayward, who was specifically chosen by Jeff Wayne because he wanted the voice from ‘Nights of White Satin’, this is my favourite track on the album (and the reason it sits on my 25 desert island songs list), the song once again bridges the gap between narration, orchestral parts and electronic. Up next is ‘Thunder Child’ another great song that includes a great fuzz guitar solo to represent the Martian heat ray ‘melting the thunder child’s valiant heart’ as the story continues to progress the track comes to an end with the declaration that ‘the earth belongs to the Martians’ and a huge scream of ‘ULLA’ before the return of ‘The Eve Of War’s’ famous orchestral beginning. ‘The Spirit of Man’ is and 11:40 track that sees both Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy fame and Julie Covington of Evita fame producing some fantastic interplay between each other, both narrating and singing to each other and at times the music is nothing short of breathtaking.

Overall: –

Since the albums release it has become one of the most instantly recognisable albums ever released, sold over 13 million copies worldwide, won several awards including the Ivor Novello’s twice, it was also voted ‘The Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy’ in 1979 by a panel that included Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock and George Lucas. Even today over 30 years later it still continues to cross generations and win new fans. The album is nothing short of a startling mix of prog-rock, classical and literary narration that has and probably will always stand the test of time.

Rating: –

10/10

Tracklisting: –

Disc one

1. “The Eve of the War”
2. “Horsell Common and the Heat Ray”
3. “The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine”
4. “Forever Autumn”
5. “Thunder Child”

Disc two

1. “The Red Weed (Part 1)”
2. “The Spirit of Man”
3. “The Red Weed (Part 2)”
4. “Brave New World”
5. “Dead London”
6. “Epilogue (Part 1)”
7. “Epilogue (Part 2) (NASA)”

Recommended Tracks: –

The Entire Album!!

PDC

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