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Clips: Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds

In 1978, Jeff Wayne — a rather unknown musician — released one of the most bizarre yet wonderful concept album in the history of rock. And it’s got a theme close to the heart of every sci-fi fan: H.G. Well’ War of the Worlds.

I’ve always been a fan of the delightful little album. It had me at hello with its wonderful album art, but what sealed the deal was Richard Burton’s role as the narrator and protagonist.

It is Burton who starts the album off, reciting the famous opening lines of the novel:

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.  With infinite complacency men went to
and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter.  It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.  No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable.

And then segued, without an awkward beat, into the trippiest of late 70’s experimental rock. I hope this short video of the first track of Jeff Waynes’ The War of the Worlds will whet your appetite to listen to the whole album.

War of the Worlds – Eve of the War [YouTube]

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