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Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds

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As I step back into my own personal "way back machine", I remember some of the music that would become ingrained in memory, if not my "soul". While perusing Amazon the other day, I saw a remix album that contained some techno versions of songs from one such album (Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds).

In the late 1970's when a few rock musicians had been experimenting with putting stories and literature into rock music form, along came a guy named Jeff Wayne who put H. G. Well's timeless classic War of the Worlds in dramatic form with a backdrop of rock music. Richard Burton voiced the part of the main protagonist and narrarator and his performance is simply spectacular. If you have not heard this work before, I recommend giving it a try. Samples are available on Amazon and there are some songs on Youtube. The music does such a great job of capturing the mood of each scene and the actors/singers bring a vibrance to the life of each of the characters. For those that are familiar with the album, it's hard to forget that martian's war cry, "ULLA!"

One particular song is called The Spirit of Man. In this song, a parson is losing his sanity and he's blaming the martian attack on the devil and the sinners. The parson, Nathaniel, has given up hope on mankind. His wife, Beth, offers these words of encouragement;

"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."

Anyone familiar with the story (the musical and the literature) will know that we basically get lucky at the end because of a Martian miscalculation that ultimately spells their doom. Still, the sentiment echoed by Beth throughout that song is encouraging. It is the spirit of man that offers us hope in the future.

Edited by RationalBiker
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  • 4 weeks later...
I once heard something similar with Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth." I don't recall who provided the rock music. There was a narrator, but no character voices. It was pretty good.

That was probably Rick Wakeman. He's done a couple of pieces like that, to include a piece on King Arthur as well. I like Wakeman's work as well, but I'm not nearly as attached to that as I am Wayne's WotW. Of course, in Wayne's case, he was pretty much a one hit wonder for this genre.

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