As the world creeps ever forward into its annual Autumnal repose, my mind often turns to the iconic October 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater. The radio play caused hysteria due to the fact that it was broadcast as news bulletins without commercial interruption, as if the events were actually transpiring just outside of the safety of the audience’s living rooms.
And, while that version is an undeniable fright classic, it of course is not the only adaptation of H.G. Wells’ seminal tale of Victorian science fiction literature. Recently my ol’ pal, master illustrator and sculptor supreme Gabe Perna, reminded me of a version of the tale that some may not be as familiar with, the 1978 musical by Jeff Wayne.
Featuring Richard Burton as the narrator, with guest vocals by Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, and Chris Thompson of Manfred Mann (along with other talented singers and musicians), Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is a swirling phantasmagoria of Victorian dialog, distortion pedals, synthesized harpsichords and porn bass, and while that shouldn’t work, it absolutely does!
So why not give it a listen today…and remember, somewhere in the vastness of space, advanced alien cultures have mastered the art of using threaded screws…and they are coming for us all!
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