Sunday, March 01, 2009

Oglb: War of the Worlds

When I was six years old, a family friend gave me Jeff Wayne's double-album "War of the Worlds" for my birthday. It was a bizarre gift totally out of left field, but I must have listened to that album a hundred times.

Scary as hell. I'll never forget Richard Burton describing a Martian's mouth as "quivering and slavering like wet liver." It contained gruesome airbrushed artwork in a huge booklet. But most importantly, the music was dense, brilliant, driving, beautiful...though I was too young to recognize that it was essentially disco.

So yes, a DISCO version of "War of the Worlds," which left a lasting impression on children all over the world. It's hardly surprising that in 2006 they actually took the album ON TOUR, performing a note-by-note recreation complete with a virtual Richard Burton. Whenever I hear these drums, those keyboards, that fuzz guitar, that voice...well, I literally MELT as though I were exposed to a heat-ray...the same way that sides two and three of the album melted when I put a meatpie on them.*

Much to my chagrin I have never seen the 2006 tour DVD, so I'm forced to experience it through YouTube. Here's the first section ("The Eve of the War") with Justin Hayward reprising his original role, and Richard Burton saying the words which I chose for this blog's tagline.

Ulllllaaaah! Ulllllaaaaaah!

PS: That's Julia Thornton on percussion, who I absolutely love to death.

* Sometimes, vinyl double albums came with sides one and four on one disc, and sides two and three on a second. This was meant to make it easier to play the records on machines with auto-drop mechanisms; you could put record one on top of record two, with sides one and two cued respectively, and then -- afterwards -- put records two and one back up there with sides three and four cued.

The "War of the Worlds" double-album was like that, allowing you to listen all the way through with a minimum of record-changing. But people stopped doing this when they realized that auto-drop mechanisms wrecked your vinyl.

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