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War Of The Worlds
Double vinyl, Import
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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds
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Track Listings Disc 1 1The Eve of the War (Feat. Richard Burton and Justin Hayward) 2Horsell Common and the Heat Ray (Feat. Richard Burton) 3The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine 4Forever Autumn (Feat. Richard Burton and Justin Hayward) 5Thunder Child (Feat. Richard Burton and Chris Thompson) Disc 2 1The Red Weed (Part 1) [feat. Richard Burton] 2The Spirit of Man (Feat. Richard Burton, Phil Lynott & Julie Covington) 3The Red Weed (Part 2) [feat. Richard Burton] 4The Artilleryman Returns 5Brave New World (Feat. Richard Burton & David Essex) 6Dead London (Part 1) [feat. Richard Burton] 7Dead London (Part 2) [feat. Richard Burton] 8Epilogue (Part 1) [feat. Richard Burton] 9Epilogue (Part 2) [NASA]
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 12.4 x 12.28 x 0.47 inches; 1.49 Pounds
- Manufacturer : Sony
- Item model number : WA-35587934
- Original Release Date : 2018
- Date First Available : December 9, 2017
- Label : Sony
- ASIN : B077BL1383
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,352 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Our dad introduced us to the family gift - a brand spanking new National Panasonic music centre, all chrome and lights - and once the hubbub had died down and my brothers and sisters had retired to their respective bedrooms to play with whatever toys they got, I put on the first side of this rather disappointing gift. No one could've believed (groan - sorry, I couldn't resist it) what would happen next. The spoken intro started. I didn't really know much about Richard Burton, but his voice was hypnotic. My interest was piqued and the hairs on my arms stood on end. And when the first chords struck up - DUN DUN DUNNNN - I was hooked. I quickly hooked up my headphones (another present), lifted the needle back to the start, and for the next 90 minutes or so, I was transported to Victorian London, being pursued by Martian tripods spouting black smoke and heat rays. I met delusional artillery men and insane parsons. I kicked my way through Autumn leaves, and watched an early gunboat bring down the invading Martians. I hid terrified, in the basement of a demolished church while Martians searched the ruins around me. And I rejoiced when the invaders were finally vanquished by our microscopic bacteria allies. And then I did it all over again. And that was to be my life for most of the Christmas holidays before returning to school and living through it all again with my school chums.
Since that Christmas I have gone on to buy the CD of WOTW, the special edition CD, the DVD of the stage show and took my parents to see the stage show when it appeared in Belfast in 2007, as a way of thanking them for introducing me to it. Now my son has bought me this new copy of the album for my 55th birthday to replace my heavily played original. And I still get goosebumps each time I hear "No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space..."
I have bought several copies of it over the years, including the New Generation version, which I actually quite liked.
I decided to buy this new re-release just to see if anything was different and also because most of the copies I already own are a little crackly and worse for wear now. The album is pressed on heavyweight 180 gram vinyl and housed in two plain white sleeves - disappointingly these aren't poly-lined, but you can't have everything. The labels are plain red rather than the familiar CBS labels. The sound quality is superb with no hiss or crackle even in the quiet passages. The booklet is how it always was and hasn't been updated, so Jeff Wayne is still expecting his first child in July 1978! The reprint of the booklet is spot on and again is just how I remember it. I spent many hours as a youngster going over every detail of every painting in the booklet.
A genuinely outstanding re-release and hopefully will persuade those who aren't familiar with it to buy it and give it a whirl.
The package is a typical double CD gel case wrapped in a cardboard cover and there is an accompanying booklet of artwork, script and lyrics. The second CD has a couple of videos on it too.
This album is just amazing; arguably CD one is better than CD two but there will be plenty who disagree. Purists will also argue that the re-mastering of the album is unnecessary (I happen to agree but I understand that the record company may have had a hand in this for marketing reasons and in any case the changes are mostly subtle). Changes notwithstanding, this is a most-own record for anyone genuinely interested in how good music can be.
The artists on this album were at the top of their game when this was recorded and it shows. Phil Lynott as The Vicar, Julie Covington as the vicar's wife (Beth), Richard Burton is masterful as The Narrator, the sublime Justin Hayward and others are pulled together in a recording that is genuinely timeless and possibly one of the best rock operas. Ever!
'The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one he said'
'An invisible ray of heat leapt from man to man, and there was a bright glare as each was instantly turned to fire. Every tree and bush became a mass of flames at the touch of this savage, unearthly heat ray.'
Although 'concept albums' came to have a bad name in 'pop' music, this (like Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon') is one that worked.
A bestselling album when first released in 1978, it was written by Jeff Wayne, an American by birth who settled in Britain, and who is otherwise best known for writing advertising jingles. Wikipedia classifies him as still active professionally, but does not mention any examples of work he has produced in recent years. He is quite old now.
Some parts of this are better than others. However, when this epic is heard as a whole, imperfections become unimportant besides its overall impact.
Based on HG Wells' 1897 magazine serial (published as a novel the following year) of a Martian invasion of Earth, this remains truer to HG Wells' original than most other adaptations. It remains set in Surrey and London rather than transplanted to New York, Boston or California, and in the 1890s rather than updated.
In science fiction (and superhero) films it is now generally agreed that aliens or mad scientists intending to conquer or destroy the Earth begin with New York City, normally Manhattan. However, Wells wrote when science fiction was still in its infancy and did not yet know this. Consequently, his Martians land in Surrey and destroy Woking rather than Manhattan.
The late Richard Burton provides an atmospheric narration of excerpts from the text of the original novel.
Wells got the idea from the sad fate of the Tasmanian Aborigines, said to be the only native people to become extinct under the rule of the British Empire, whose simple Stone Age tools did not allow them to compete with British settlers equipped with Nineteenth Century technology. Wells wondered what might happen if humanity came into contact with an extraterrestrial civilisation as far advanced in relation to ours as ours was to the Tasmanian Aborigines.
The idea that the Martians, having long ago eliminated all diseases from their own planet, would be vulnerable to the Earthly common cold virus to which they have no resistance was probably, in updated form, the inspiration for the 1990s film Independence Day in which invading alien space ships are incapacitated when they catch a computer virus.
Wells suggested in the quotation at the start of this review from the beginning of the story that mankind is unknowingly being watched from Mars by a civilisation and intelligence far greater than our own. Astronomy and space exploration have in the intervening 124 years advanced sufficiently that we can say it is highly unlikely that any such superior civilisation or intelligence is watching us from Mars. Whether superior minds with superior technology are watching us from further out in space, and what their plans are, we are yet to discover.