Helga's Album of the Week VI  

helga_hansen 49F  
3122 posts
9/18/2005 4:29 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Helga's Album of the Week VI

I owe complete thanks to spikeryder this week, for reminding me of this truly amazing album. I was reading his MY TOP 20, #21-30! when a name caught my eye, and I just had to go and fish out my copy of this album, and listen to it once more!

Jeff Wayne’s musical adaptation of H.G. Wells classic novel The War Of The Worlds is the best known and best selling musical work of all time. To date it has sold over 13 million albums around the world, and has been adapted into several foreign language versions, although I think the original version (English) should be the only version you listen to.

When I hear Richard Burton’s voice begin the story with the words No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human were being watched from the timeless worlds of space goose bumps slowly make their way up my arms, and I become bewitched by those words. The album lasts for 95 minutes, but it seems to be over all-too-soon.

Despite its extraordinary success, little has been documented on how the album was conceived, but it was one of the most innovative and ground-breaking albums of its time. It was also one of the most expensive music projects of the 70s, but was not without its problems during its making, and the musical version took three times longer to create than the original novel did! It was finally introduced to the world in June, 1978.

Richard Burton is the narrator (and the journalist), and he heads the cast list of extraordinary talent. Julie Covington, famous for her single Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina plays Beth. David Essex, famous for both his solo singing career as well as his stage and movie roles, plays The Artilleryman. Moody Blues singer, Justin Hayward doesn’t have a role in this album, but his haunting Forever Autumn was a huge hit, even taken out of the context of the album. Legendary Thin Lizzy vocalist, Phil Lynott plays Parson Nathaniel.

Other notable musicians appearing on the album are Chris Thompson (ex Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), Jo Partridge, who has played for Joan Armatrading, Kiki Dee, Steely Dan and Elton John.

Of course, this project would not have been possible without the inimitable Jeff Wayne. Helped by his father, Jerry Wayne (a legend in his own time, being a star of many Broadway musicals, as well as producing many others) and his mother, Doreen Wayne, who wrote the script for The War Of The Worlds, this man’s genius has enthralled listeners across the world and across the decades.

This album had its profile raised yet again by the recent release of the Steven Spielberg movie of the same name, starring Tom Cruise. I have to be honest and say that I don’t know if I can bring myself to go and watch this movie, simply because, for me, The War Of The Worlds is a story to be listened to, not watched.

Love, hugs and kisses from ♥♥HH♥♥

spikeryder 49M

9/18/2005 7:31 am

It's nice to be an inspiration
Thanks for filling in more detail on this album, my list of favorite tracks wasn't really the forum for it.
I'm with you, about the movie version. Firstly because yet again the story has been removed from context(as it was in the 1950's movie) to a modern American setting.And also because as the characters now live in an electronic and space travelling Century, there can be no sense of the "Future shock" people suffered in the Original Victorian setting.
I am also agrieved at the change in setting because much of the book(and the musical version) takes place in towns and villages in the area of South East England that I grew up in. This gave the story a much stronger sense of scale and place for me, personally. On Horsell common, where the first cylinder lands, there is a depression in the land. My friends and i used to know it as "the Martian crater" and some claim it as the inspiration for H.G. WELLS setting the landing site there.

I think if this story is retold in the cinema it should be set in the original time and place,(As Peter Jackson is doing with the KING KONG remake)and not modernised. Do we really need to see another movie where jet fighters and modern weapon systems are usless against Aliens? Perhaps it needed Peter Jackson to make it? The great thing about the Book War Of The Worlds, was it's startling originality.

But as you sayhelga perhaps the visuals in this story are best left in our heads, as we listen to the musical or read the the book.

GB_Cple 66M/55F  
3042 posts
9/18/2005 8:22 am

brilliant , baught the original, have now the cd, and have downloaded from limewire
can listern to it it , time and time again, and richard burton narration is first class,

ps , this album is the only peice of music that I like , that my 22year old son also likes !

TheQuietGuy2005 54M
2386 posts
9/18/2005 8:26 am

Good choice, Helga - and good timing too, as it's only recently been re-released on CD (which, incidentally, mean I can finally get hold of it).

You get goose bumps listening to Richard Burton's opening words? I get them reading his opening words! How bad is that?

Anyway, I second your praise. I grew up with this so it will always be a part of the memories of my younger days but I can only urge those poor, deprived people who haven't already heard this wonderful opus to go find a copy NOW!

rm_morgan1846 62M

9/19/2005 3:53 am

Brilliant choice Helga - have the album on vinyl and just bought it on CD too!! Amazingly sons have taken to it as well!!!

There is just something about Richard Burton!!! And as for the youthful David Essex!!

brightblonde3 58F

9/19/2005 7:13 am

Burton spoke the English language as if he truly loved the words...what a magnificent voice and talent.

BTW, Helga, since you write that it's a story to be listened to, have you ever heard the famous Halloween, 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles? It holds up very well...and to think quite a few people actually thought a real Martian invasion was taking place. Some historians attribute it to pre-WWII jittery nerves, but I think that's not accounting for the skill of Welles and his Mercury Players.

From Venus, Not Mars

rockwriter58 56M
1389 posts
9/19/2005 9:29 am


I remember this from when it was first issued... an interesting blend.

But I have to wonder... best selling ever? Bigger than Pink Floyd?


helga_hansen 49F  
1987 posts
9/19/2005 10:42 am

Rock... I think the key words here are musical work... unless you can tell me otherwise? PF rock too... I can't wait for the Live 8 DVD to be released, because I missed their performance that night (hubby had a gig himself, and Hx was there doing her gropie impersonation )


Love, hugs and kisses from ♥♥HH♥♥

th3_fr4gil3 45M
50 posts
9/19/2005 11:44 am

hi helga and fellow posters

i bought the double LP with birthday money,listened to it,which in turn inspired me to write a followup story for my english class homework sooooo many years ago.
forever autumn was my favorite track
lost the double LP during my several moves about this city,was the foldout version with the booklet that had all the lyrics and loads of artwork

and yes the orson welles broadcast is damn good,also their was a movie
about the whole event also

rockwriter58 56M
1389 posts
9/23/2005 2:13 pm

Hmmm... I'm not sure how to distinguish musical work from other musical genres. The current stats have Pink Floyd's The Wall at 23 million copies in the U.S. alone (and it isn't even the top seller of all-time in the U.S.!). I can't find a good source for world sales.


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