Artist of the Month – Jeff Wayne
January 1, 2018
40 years on from perhaps his greatest masterpiece – and in the year that will see War of The Worlds return to UK stages as well as turntables worldwide – we’re celebrating the orchestral genius of Jeff Wayne.
Though the 1970s will forever carry a reputation for bloated excesses both within the environs of the recording studio and the arena of performance, what’s also undeniable is that this was a period rich in immense ambition and creativity that resulted in era-defining albums and music.
Since the closing overs of the 1960s, the recording studio had become as much an instrument as the tools toted by musicians, and for those composers and producers possessed of innate talent, panoramic vision and daring, this was an opportunity to be seized with both hands.
And if one album comes to the define the autumn of this burst of inspired ingenuity, then ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds’ is it.
Though he was hardly a household name before the album’s release, Jeff Wayne’s work had already established itself in the minds of the record buying public. His work on a musical version of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ had been warmly received at the tail end of the 1960s.
Elsewhere, his production on David Essex’s 1973 trans-Atlantic smash, ‘Rock On’ – a bizarre yet chartbusting amalgam of glam and dub that revelled in rock’n’roll mythology – still stands the rigorous test of time. And his advertising jingles – most notably the memorable ‘Gordon’s Gin’ (later covered by Human League) – entered just about every British home with a television.
Yet for all that, Jeff Wayne will forever be known for his 1978 masterpiece. Released almost 40 years to the day since Orson Wells changed the face of radio with his still notorious broadcast version of H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi tale of Martian invasion, ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds’ made as much of a cultural impact on a global scale.
Spread over four sides of vinyl, Wayne harnessed an incredible cast of musicians including the celebrated session guitarist Chris Spedding, bassist Herbie Flowers (that’s him underpinning Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’), and former Blue Mink drummer Barry Morgan among many others. Also lending their considerable vocal talents were David Essex, the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward, actress and singer Julie Covington and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott.
And of course the sonorous authority of Richard Burton’s instantly recognizable baritone voice that narrates this tale of courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Even at a remove of almost forty years since the album’s release, the cast list is still an impressive achievement in itself but it’s the final artifact that this incredible grouping of talent created – all under the watchful eye and sharp ear of Jeff Wayne – that truly stuns and beguiles.
This is progressive rock at its very best, music that moves forward to break with convention and predictable results. A sonic journey and example of masterful story telling that’s universally appealing, it’s little surprise that sales of ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds’ are measured in the millions.
Similarly, it’s residency in the UK album charts takes up over 300 weeks. And like the very best albums for which the term “classic” is applied, Geoff Taylor’s cover art is one of the most instantly recognizable images created for an album.
As the equally-groundbreaking stage show returns to stages up and down the country this year, ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds’ has been re-mastered for the superior sounding audio experience that’s demanded by 21st century audiences.
Presented in its original double-vinyl format and double gatefold sleeves and a 16-page booklet, this is a joy for the album’s long-standing fans that’s also set to win over a new generation of devotees.
‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds’ is available to pre-order now – CLICK HERE.
Tickets for the ‘War of the Worlds – Alive’ stage show are available now – CLICK HERE.
As his unmissable, ground breaking one man show ‘Springsteen On Broadway’ streams on Netflix, The Boss is our Artist of the Month for January.Read more
With the ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ 20 Year Collectors’ Edition released on December 7th, our final Artist of the Month of 2018 is Manic Street Preachers.Read more
With ‘In The Blue Light’ released this month, and with his final tour coming to a close, our Artist of the Month for September is perhaps the greatest contributor to the American Songbook, Paul Simon.Read more
Ten years since their rulebook-defying, multi-platinum eponymous debut, The Script are our Artists of the Month for August.Read more
With a new tour and a comprehensive set of vinyl reissues on the way, our Artist of the Month for July is cult alt. rock Glaswegian outfit Teenage Fanclub…Read more
As the former Kinks frontman turns his eyes back stateside on ‘Our Country: Americana Act II’, out June 29, we present Ray Davies, our Artist of the Month for June…Read more
As we revisit one of The Boss’ most urgent, powerful eras, our artist of the month for May is the one and only Bruce Springsteen.Read more
Far too prolific to have a single signature tune, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ is nonetheless the track our Artists of the Month, Eurythmics, are perhaps best known for. but it wasn’t the first or last song about the popular nocturnal hallucinations. Here’s our dreams top ten…Read more
There are few bands that have not only come to define a decade, but also to transcend it, with music that’s inarguably timeless. Ladies and gentlemen, our Artists of the Month for March: Annie Lenox and Dave Stewart. Eurythmics.Read more
Legendary authors of countless Rock Classics and with brand new music surfacing shortly, our Artist of the month for February is the one and only ToTo…Read more
40 years on from perhaps his greatest masterpiece – and in the year that will see War of The Worlds return to UK stages as well as turntables worldwide – we’re celebrating the orchestral genius of Jeff Wayne.Read more
For teaching a generation that ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Ladies & Gentlemen. Our December Artist of the Month. Adam Ant.Read more
Joining forces with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the late Roy Orbison releases ‘A Love So Beautiful’, a re-scored collection of classics from his inimitable songbook. We couldn’t be prouder to name America’s Maestro our Artist of the Month.Read more
Though the monumental concept album, ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds’ has been re-imagined for a new generation of music fans, the original 1978 telling of H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi tale is the one that resonates the most.Read more
One of the most groundbreaking, inventive and entertaining artists of the modern era, George Michael was also one of a handful of stars to successfully walk the line from Pop Sensation to Critically Acclaimed Artist.
For these and countless other reasons, George Michael is our Artist of the Month.Read more
With the seminal ‘Through The Barricades’ celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, the peerless Spandau Ballet are our artists of the month for September. Plus you can win a a pair of tickets to Spandau Ballet’s Through the Barricades Remastered/Revisited documentary screening and live Q&A on 12th September at The Soho Hotel.Read more
This month, we join the world in celebrating the life and music of Elvis Presley. The King is our Artist of the Month.Read more
Join us as we look back on one of the most incredible careers in pop…Read more
As Foo Fighters prepare to headline one of the biggest stages of them all, we’re proud to crown Dave Grohl and co our Artist of the Month for June.Read more
With his ‘Americana’ album out now, our Artist of the Month is Kinks frontman and international treasure, Ray Davies…Read more
Is it really 10 years since the release of Manic Street Preachers’ eighth studio album and muscular return to form, ‘Send Away The Tigers’? The Manics are our Artist of the Month for April.Read more
As one of the most original, influential and culturally fascinating artists to have emerged in the 20th century, the man born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941 has also proved to be one of its most divisive…Read More...
Dr John Cooper Clarke and The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell run down ‘This Time It’s Personal’ – out now – one track at a time…Read more
Affectionately known as ‘The Bard of Salford’, performance poet John Cooper Clarke’s career has spanned some 40 years…Read more
A Run Down Of Buckley’s CoversRead more
Jeff Buckley is our Artist of the Month throughout March. This week we uncover 6 great videos that shed a new light on our hero.Read more
Take a look at Jeff Buckley’s musical influences…Read more
Watch the video for ‘I Know It’s Over’…Read more
Here are 4 rare and amazing performances from our Artist of the MonthRead more
Discover more about the Original Soundtrack…Read more
An intro to Janis Joplin’s biggest track and an insight into the 60’s with these 2 ultimate playlistsRead more
To celebrate the release of the film ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue’, Janis Joplin is our Artist of the Month for February.Read more
Listen to 3 tracks from the forthcoming Bootleg series now!Read more
Bob Dylan’s 5th album “Bringing It All Back Home” was released in 1965 and was half acoustic half electric. What’s the story behind this artwork?Read more
‘Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol 12’ is a deluxe 6CD anthology that will be released on November 6th.Read more
Did you not get a chance to see him live in Cyprus Avenue earlier this month? Then we’ve got a surprise for you…Read more
Last week, we brought to you 4 ultimate playlists… This week we give you 3 new playlists to rediscover overarching themes from the Van Morrison catalogue.Read more
An intro to Van Morrison’s amazing catalogue with these 4 ultimate playlists.Read more
Stop everything you’re doing and join the club of very famous Van-atics!Read more
Discover Paul Young’s life in music, from his influences to favourite live shows…Read more
In the UK alone, Van Morrison has earned over 20 top 20 albums, including an astounding 13 which were top 10… Van Morrison is our artist of the month for September!Read more
Don’t miss out on Paul Young’s Top Tracks and Ultimate Setlist playlists…Read more
Paul Young is one of the 80s biggest stars. Let’s take a look back at his performances on Top of the Pops…Read more
Paul Young became one of the 80s biggest pop stars, but how many of these facts do you know?Read more
Federico tells us the story of Miles Davis, with 10 chosen tracks which form “the ultimate soundtrack to a large part of the 20th century”.Read more
There are many miles of love for Miles Davis’ recently released Bootleg 4 reissue…Read more
Sadly the Foos won’t be playing Glastonbury this year, but here are our top 5 favourite videos of the band, including funny Dave Grohl moments…Read more
Time to revise all your classics before Glastonbury with the ultimate playlistRead more
They’ve been going for 20 years and headlining Glastonbury this month… How many of these facts did you know?Read more
The Foo Fighters are our artist of the month. Gearing up to headline Glastonbury, the band are set to have a great summer and have lots more to come.Read more
Big news from the Miles Davis camp…Read more
We’ve selected 5 videos you have to watch!Read more
Every month at Legacy HQ, we will be picking essential tracks from our Artist of the Month in this brand new playlist.Read more
Did you know our Artist of the Month turned his life around aged 32? Have you ever heard ‘Hallelujah’ in hebrew?Read more
As his new album ‘Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour’ is released this month, we will be looking back at Leonard’s finest throughout the month of May.Read more