The Hell Butterfly

Posts tagged “War of the Worlds

Project Spotlight #2

It has taken me a while to find something worthy of taking the second spot on Project Spotlight, but at last I think I’ve found it. The piece of art that I instantly knew had to be shared with you all. For the first installment of this Project, click here (no really, this page is worth looking at).

As much as I sincerely wish everybody has already heard of this, I recently discovered a friend from my university course who hadn’t. My jaw hit the ground. The genius – though that word is so overused it has almost lost its significance – that I am about to share with you has been massive in my family for years. When this was performed live on stage, we went to see it. And yes, I would go again, and again, and again. It will never get old.

The topic for today’s Project Spotlight, is Jeff Wayne’s musical interpretation of The War of the Worlds.


I will admit, I have never read the book, but having listened to this soundtrack time and again I almost feel as though I don’t have to. I will, of course. But I’ve heard it is a good interpretation nonetheless, lifting quotes directly from the page to keep the story correct.

I am unable to find you the full album to hit play and listen to the thing in one, however here is a sample. For anyone with iTunes, Spotify, or simply a love of CD’s like me, the album can be found for your enjoyment pretty much anywhere except YouTube.

I’ve decided to bring Jeff Wayne’s musical genius under the spotlight because it never fails to “bring about the warm fuzzies”. It “gives me all the feels” and all the other phrases which aren’t quite real English, yet somehow manage to describe the feeling of intense emotional movement by nothing more than a piece of music better than using the actual English language. It makes me go cold. The war cry of “Oooh Laaa” sends shivers through my entire body every time. Not even once per listen, I mean every time they cry – which is too many to count, and too much effort to do so when I’m trying to enjoy the track.

In terms of the translation from book to music, this can be compared to a book-to-film adaptation. It is always going to be scrutinized, some people will always prefer the original, some will hear the track and never know of the books existence, some may enjoy both. But there is one significant difference between music and film: film allows the use of both sight and sound – music does not. When reading a book you have just one sense: sight. You read the words on the page and that is all. When translated into film, the sight is still there, but sound is able to be added. While this may seem like a good thing, I personally believe this can hinder the impact that a book has. In this way Jeff Wayne was able to hit me harder than any film adaptation has, and probably ever will. I believe this is because, like a book, music allows only the use of one sense: sound. We can immerse ourselves in a book, just as in music. We can surrender ourselves totally to that one sense and it fills us. We are not forced to divide our attention between sight and sound. We can lose ourselves in the instrumentals, the lyrics, the narrator’s voice-overs. In the pure masterpiece.

I really do hope you all, if you are not already familiar with it, check out this album.

Or alternatively, go and see the live show in 2014. I went to the 2012 tour and, while thinking the album couldn’t be topped, I found I was severely mistaken. In the London 02, capacity 20,000, fully packed, I stared slack-jawed as the giant metal construction lowered from the rafters – the Martians had literally descended on London. As you may be aware, I find nothing makes me feel more alive than being at a live concert. This is my home from home, the place I feel complete. So being in an arena with 19,999 other people, body shaking with adrenaline, from excitement, as the orchestra filled the building, our bodies, with their music … it doesn’t get much better. I was tingling all over from sheer awe at the spectacle.

For tickets to the 2014 UK and Europe tour, click right > here <.

Below is a picture from the tour, and I’m not even going to make it smaller for the purpose of fitting in the page. Take it in, in all its glory.

ImageSo all the spotlights are on and directed at you, Jeff Wayne. Thankyou for creating such a magnificent piece of art. It holds a permanent place in my soul, and I am forever grateful. You truly are a genius.