Monday, June 30, 2014

Music Monday ~ Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds

For stretches of time I forget all about Jeff Wayne and his musical version of H.G. Wells' 1898 novel, War of the Worlds, then something reminds me - and I'm amazed by it all over again, and covered in goosebumps. This time the reminder came when I noticed that Jeff Wayne's birthday will be tomorrow, 1 July, he'll be 71. Dang!!
Happy birthday Jeff Wayne!

Here we go then, I cannot let an opportunity to post at least the best known segments from this wonderful album - the original 1978 version, with Richard Burton narrating, Justin Hayward, Julie Covington, Phil Lynott, David Essex and Chris Thompson singing. Jeff Wayne composed the music and conducted the orchestra. The album itself spent 290 weeks in the UK album charts. It was in the top 10 in 22 countries and reached #1 in 11 countries. Most of the lyrics on the album were written by former Elton John lyricist Gary Osborne. There is a more recent do-over of the album featuring Liam Neeson narrating and various other vocalists, better known to today's younger generation, singing the parts. I've listened to some of what's available on YouTube, and declare the 1978 version to be my preference in every way.....but if the newer version helps to filter this music into the consciousness of today's youth - it has to be a good thing.

I'll limit myself to three snips of the best known pieces : Eve of the War; Spirit of Man; and Forever Autumn.

Eve of War ~ Richard Burton:
"Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. This was no disciplined march – it was a stampede – without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilisation, of the massacre of mankind."

Spirit of Man ~ Julie Covington, Phil Lynott, David Essex:

There must be something worth living for,
There must be something worth trying for,
Even some things worth dying for,
And if one man can stand tall,
There must be some hope for us all,
Somewhere, somewhere in the spirit of man.
(As a commenter at YouTube remarked, "The Spirit of Man" something that's going to be tested severely over the next few decades.)

Forever Autumn ~ Justin Hayward, with Richard Burton narrating:

Journalist: For three days I fought my way along roads packed with refugees, the homeless, burdened with boxes and bundles containing their valuables. All that was of value to me was in London, but by the time I reached their little red brick house, Carrie and her father were gone.

The summer sun is fading as the year grows old,
And darker days are drawing near,
The winter winds will be much colder,
Now you're not here

I watch the birds fly south across the Autumn sky,
And one by one they disappear,
I with that I was flying with them,
Now you're not here...................


mike said...

"(As a commenter at YouTube remarked, 'The Spirit of Man' something that's going to be tested severely over the next few decades.)"

I think that has been the name of the game ever since humans' first appearance on the globe...our destiny is to overcome ourselves and be at peace with nature.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thing is, though, that we haven't yet fully appreciated what the game is, or that we do have a communal, species-wide, spirit. We're too busy finding and emphasising differences.

Listening to these pieces of "War of the Worlds" musical again, I thought that in place of HGW's Martians, soon we will have an less embodied but equally horrific enemy to face, and similar words to these could be used to describe such situations and events.

mike (again) said...

Are you referring to SCOTUS, Twilight? LOL

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ No - that's really small potatoes in the great scheme of things, though a couple of nasty decisions were handed down today (I've just added a PS to tomorrow's post on that). I had in mind what's coming next, and next but one, and after that due to climate change. If nothing major is done to try to counteract its progression it could make us wish Martians WOULD invade!

mike (again) said...

Never underestimate SCOTUS...if Gore had won in 2000, I doubt the Afghanistan and Iraq wars would be in our history, nor the current "ISIS", and global warming would have received some attention. Think of the several trillion $$$ that would have been saved!

"Election results hinged on Florida, where the margin of victory triggered a mandatory recount. Litigation in select counties started additional recounts, and this litigation ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court. The Court's contentious decision in Bush v. Gore (in contrast to an equally contentious decision by the Florida State Supreme Court), announced on December 12, 2000, ended the recounts, effectively awarding Florida's votes to Bush and granting him the victory.",_2000

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Things might have been so different now, or so it seems. I remember following the re-count stories on TV back in 2000, without really understanding the significance of it all.

I didn't understand American politics at all back then, had trouble remembering from election to election, whether Republicans or Democrats were nearest my own preferences. I recall quite liking Dukakis, and Jesse Jackson, from what we saw on TV, but they must have been involved in earlier elections.

SCOTUS has scary power - and to have 5 Roman Catholic members of the bench seems to me to be a very unbalanced situation. Still, I guess Baptists wouldn't have voted differently. There ought to be at least one atheist - and pigs would be flying all around the courtroom.