Friday, September 22, 2006

COLLECTIBLE OF THE WEEK # 4: War of the Worlds Album!

I know that last summer was the heyday of War of the Worlds, what with the Tom Cruise/Steven Spielberg movie out in thousands of thetaers, but just look what my parents found for me at a yard sale last week.

It's Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds! This two record set was manufactured and distributed by CBS records in 1978, and features the vocals of the late Richard Burton, Julie Covington, David Essex, Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, Jo Partridge and Chris Thompson.

Inside the album fold is a terrific painting from Peter Goodfellow, depicting the arrival of the first Martian ship in rural England. Very evocative of the early twentieth century.

Side 1 of the album, "The Coming of the Martians" features two chapters, "The Eve of the War and "Horsell Common and the Heat Ray." Side 2 continues this section with "The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine, "Forever Autumn" and "Thunder Child." Side 3 is titled "The Earth Under the Maritans" and features chapters "The Red Weed," "The Spirit of Man" and "The Red Weed Part 2." Chapter Four has sub-headings "Brave New World," "Dead London" and "Epilogue."

What is a musical version of War of the Worlds like? I have no idea, because I haven't listened to it yet. I just love the artwork, and intend to keep the album in its plastic cover; proudly displayed in my office.


  1. John, this is a great album, featuring excellent narration by Richard Burton, and a wide range of musical styles. We serialized it back on "Destinies" in the summer of 1987. If you don't want to listen to the LP, it is available on CD. Highly recommended.

  2. Hey Howard!

    I was pretty sure you owned a copy of this! Now I know. I may just have to play the LP once.

    But I'm afraid to touch it...:)


  3. This is a fantastic album! Rob and I just recently took a day trip to Washington D.C. (to see the Muppets display at the Smithsonian) and we played the CD on the way home. We've owned it for years, but I hadn't listened to it in a very long time. I'm so glad I took the time to refresh my memory.

    The music makes you see the artwork come to life. Absolutely amazing stuff. You have to take the time to sit down and listen to this in it's entirety.

    A note of interest, I've heard there is a live show of this album going on in London currently. Let's take a trip!

    Lots of Love,

  4. Most excellent album, john. I've owned multiple versions of this over the decades, and recently bought the hefty remastered 5-disc set a few years back. If you want to preserve the vinyl grab the CD version from amazon. Or you can test the waters by listening to the whole thing on youtube here:

    It's a proggy/symphonic/tour de force that has a great 70s vibe. It's always had a place in my 10 Desert Island Albums.