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War of the worlds (The)


Musique: Jeff Wayne
Paroles: Gary Osborne
Livret: H. G. Wells

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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds est un album concept, composé par le musicien britannique Jeff Wayne (en), inspiré du roman La Guerre des Mondes de H.G. Wells. Sorti en 1978, l'album deviendra culte au Royaume-Uni.

Disk 1: The Coming of the Martians
In a prologue, the Journalist prepares to recount the experiences he had in the late 19th century. He notes that few had even considered the possibility of alien life, but that they were observed across space by advanced beings who regarded Earth with envy.
In the Journalist's story, several masses of green gas erupt from Mars. For the next ten nights, they continue towards Earth. Ogilvy the astronomer assures the Journalist there is no danger, convinced that no life could exist on Mars. The first missile lands in Horsell Common. In a sand pit, Ogilvy discovers a glowing cylinder whose top begins unscrewing. A crowd gathers, drawn by the spectacle. The cylinder lid falls off, and a Martian creature emerges. Several men move closer, but are incinerated by the Heat-Ray—an advanced Martian weapon. The Journalist flees with the crowd. Hammering sounds are heard from the pit: the Martians are constructing machines. A company of soldiers is deployed at the common. Later, an Artilleryman arrives at the Journalist's house, telling him that his comrades were killed by Martian fighting machines—tripod vehicles armed with Heat-Rays. They set off for London—the Journalist to ensure his lover Carrie is safe, and the Artilleryman to report to headquarters—but are separated when caught in the crossfire between soldiers and fighting machines. Three days later, the Journalist arrives at Carrie's house to find it empty. Depressed, he attempts to escape London by boat. He sees that Carrie has boarded a steamer, but the gangplank is raised before they can reach each other. Fighting machines approach the steamer, but the Royal Navy battleship Thunder Child engages the Martians in a naval battle, taking out one fighting machine in the process. The steamer escapes, but Thunder Child is destroyed by the heat-ray, taking with her not only her entire crew—but humanity's last hope of victory as well.

Disk 2: The Earth Under the Martians
The next day, the wandering Journalist finds that red weed—the vegetation giving Mars its colour—has taken root on Earth, rapidly overgrowing the landscape. In a churchyard, he encounters the Parson Nathaniel and his wife Beth. Delirious, Nathaniel believes the invaders are not Martian creatures, but demons arising from human evil. The trio take refuge in a nearby cottage, where they are trapped by black smoke—a Martian chemical weapon. Nathaniel despairs, blaming himself for the invasion. Beth attempts to restore his faith in humanity. A Martian cylinder lands on the cottage, killing Beth. The Martians outside construct a handling machine: a squat spider-like vehicle used to collect humans. After nine days hiding in the ruined cottage, the Journalist and Nathaniel see the Martians "feeding"—harvesting human blood and injecting it into their own veins. Nathaniel resolves to confront the "demons", believing himself chosen to destroy them with his prayers and holy cross. The Journalist knocks him unconscious to protect them both. Hearing the noise, the Martians send a mechanical claw to explore the cottage. It drags away Nathaniel's unconscious body, but the Journalist evades detection. Later, finding that the Martians have disappeared, the Journalist leaves. On his way back to London, he encounters the Artilleryman once more. The Artilleryman shares his plan to start a utopian civilisation, located underground, where humans can evade the Martians, and ultimately strike back with reverse-engineered Martian technology. The Journalist leaves, realising the Artilleryman's ambitions far exceed his abilities. He reaches London, finding it desolate and empty. Driven to the point of suicide by his own loneliness and the city's silence, the Journalist surrenders to the Martians, only to find the fighting machines are lifeless. The Martians were killed by Earth's bacteria, to which they had no immunity: from the moment they arrived and fed, they were doomed.
In an epilogue, the Journalist concludes his story: humanity recovered from the invasion, and he was reunited with Carrie. The Journalist wonders if Earth is safe, or if the Martians have learned from their failure and are preparing a second invasion. In the modern day, a NASA mission to Mars encounters trouble when the control centre loses contact with the craft. The controller sights a green flare erupting from Mars's surface.

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