Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation

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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation
Studio album by Jeff Wayne
Released 26 November 2012 (2012-11-26)[1]
Recorded June 2011–October 2012
Genre Progressive rock, String orchestra
Length 1:30:13
Label Sony Music Entertainment
Producer Jeff Wayne
Jeff Wayne chronology
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of Spartacus
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation
Singles from The New Generation
  1. "Forever Autumn"
    Released: 5 November 2012
  2. "Eve of the War"
    Released: 4 February 2013

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation is a 2012 concept album by Jeff Wayne and is a follow-up to his 1978 concept album, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.[1] As before, its format is progressive rock and string orchestra, using narration and leitmotifs to carry the story via rhyming melodic lyrics that express the feelings of the various characters. Due to the consistent popularity of the original album,[2][3] Wayne decided to return to his score and re-create it for a new generation of audiences, as well as re-launch a live tour throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.[4]




  • Liam Neesonspoken words (The Journalist: the narrator-protagonist)
  • Gary Barlowvocals (The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist)
  • Ricky Wilson – spoken words and vocals (The Artilleryman)
  • Maverick Sabre – spoken words and vocals (Parson Nathaniel)
  • Joss Stone – spoken words and vocals (Beth)
  • Alex Clare – vocals (The Voice of Humanity)
  • Jerry Wayne – spoken words (The Voice of NASA)
  • Lewis MacLeod – spoken words (Voice of the Martians)


Black Smoke Band[edit]



  • Jeff Wayne – conductor, composer,
  • Chris Spedding – electric guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Herbie Flowers – bass guitar
  • Tom Woodstock – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Laurie Wisefield – guitars, mandolin, autoharp, tar
  • Accy Yeats – drums
  • Julia Thornton – percussion, harp, keyboards
  • Steve Turner – keyboards
  • Neil Angilley – keyboards
  • Kennedy Aitchison – keyboards

String Orchestra[edit]


  • Littlechap Strings





On 18 November 2011, Jeff Wayne announced at a press conference in London that there was to be a new release of his musical version of H. G. Wells 1898 novel, titled Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation.[5] Wayne explained that the idea was to return to the original album and explore H. G. Wells' characters in more detail, as well as develop the love story between the story's main character, George Herbert (the Journalist), and his fiancée Carrie. Wayne also explained that it would allow him to re-interpret his compositions with the new production techniques of today.[6] The album was released on 26 November 2012 on both CD and Vinyl.[7]

The New Generation features Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson as the Narrator, formerly played by Richard Burton. Neeson revealed he was impressed and intimidated by the prospect of narrating and starring in Wayne's project.[8] Gary Barlow (lead singer and songwriter of the British vocal pop group Take That) is the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist, formerly voiced by Justin Hayward. British singer-songwriter Alex Clare is the Voice of Humanity. Maverick Sabre, Irish-English singer-songwriter and rapper, appears on the album as Parson Nathaniel, and English soul singer, songwriter, and actress Joss Stone is his wife Beth. Kaiser Chiefs front man Ricky Wilson took on the role of the Artilleryman. The Black Smoke Band once again includes Bassist Herbie Flowers and Guitarist Chris Spedding, both from the original 1978 album.

Throughout mid to late 2012, tracks from The New Generation were released through various radio shows, which included all the guest artists tracks and a premier of "The Eve of the War". The new Liam Neeson hologram planned for the tour was demonstrated at the press conference with Neeson and Wayne and was also shown on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, on which an "Eve of the War" and "Forever Autumn" medley was performed with Wayne conducting. In January 2013, a music video was released for the song "Forever Autumn", performed by Gary Barlow, however Barlow does not appear in the video. It stars Anna-Marie Wayne as Carrie and Liam Neeson as the Journalist George Herbert and looks further into the story of Carrie, rather than from the Journalist's point of view as heard on the album. It features both all new footage as well as footage seen on the CGI 100-foot wide screen used during the live shows. The New Generation album was produced by Jeff Wayne and Damian Collier and was recorded at Olliewood Recording Studios in Hertfordshire by Gaetan Schurrer and Tom Woodstock.

The stage show and album incorporate one original recording from the 1978 album: Jeff Wayne's father, Jerry Wayne, who died in the 1990s and who conceived the original production, provided the voice of the NASA controller in the second epilogue, and this performance is used again in the 2012 version; the elder Wayne is also credited as executive producer on the album.


A live tour based on the album began on 29 November 2012 and began playing across the UK and Europe.[9] The live show, titled Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds The New Generation – Alive on Stage!, includes a holographic performance of Liam Neeson, interacting with the other performers. Ricky Wilson retains his role as the Artilleryman from the album version. Marti Pellow (lead singer of the Scottish pop group Wet Wet Wet) is the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist. British rock band Jettblack's lead vocalist Will Stapleton is the Voice of Humanity. The touring cast includes Jason Donovan (who previously played the Artilleryman on tour) as the Parson Nathaniel and West End theatre star Kerry Ellis as Beth. Michael Falzon and Lily Osborne appear as new characters William Rowland and Vera May respectively, appearing in a new prologue, introduced to the tour in 2009. Falzon also plays the small role of NASA controller Jerome Marvin Krauth (voiced by Jerry Wayne) in the Epilogue Part 2, in which he is blasted upon by the fighting machine onstage behind him (the original version of Epilogue Part 2 had an abrupt ending) which concludes the show.

Alive on Stage! also includes new content not featured on The New Generation album, such as the new prologue. A new scene opens Act 2 between The Journalist (Liam Neeson) and Carrie, his fiancee (Anna-Marie Wayne). This new piece, entitled "Distant Shores", is an exchange between the two after they have been separated and is seen onstage via holographic projections of both characters in which they express hope they may one day see each other again, speaking as though to each other, from distant shores. The show also includes effects used previously on tours including the use of pyrotechnics, now much improved, in which the audience is blasted by real heat rays, leaves fall upon the audience during Forever Autumn, and a levitation trick is used after Beth is killed during the Spirit of Man.

Bassist Herbie Flowers and Guitarist Chris Spedding, both part of the original album and later the original live tour, again tour as members of the Black Smoke Band for Alive on Stage! The rest of band remain relatively unchanged from the album and previous tours, with the exception of Gordy Marshall from the album is replaced by Accy Yeats on drums. Jeff Wayne conducts the Black Smoke Band and the ULLAdubULLA Strings as he has done on tours before.[10][11] On 15 December Michael Falzon announced on Facebook,[12] as did Kerry Ellis and Will Stapleton on Twitter, that the sold out show at the O2 Arena in London was to be filmed for DVD release. This was confirmed by the official website.[13]

Tour dates[edit]

Farewell Thunderchild Tour 2014[edit]

In November 2013, it was confirmed that Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation would tour arenas again in late November through December 2014 for a final tour, named the Farewell Thunderchild Tour. Tickets went on general sale on 22 November 2013. The tour takes place across the UK as well as one date in the Netherlands before coming to a close on 16 December 2014. Three of the guest performers were confirmed at the time of the tour announcement. Westlife's Brian McFadden will be playing the role of the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist (previously played by Marti Pellow on the previous tour), Les Misérables' Carrie Hope Fletcher will be playing Beth (Played by Kerry Ellis on the 2012 tour), and Jason Donovan would reprise his role of the Parson Nathaniel. Jeff Wayne also announced that another guest had been confirmed but was yet to be announced. The ULLAdubULLA string orchestra will once again be conducted by Jeff Wayne as will the nine-piece Black Smoke Band, but the members of the band have yet to be confirmed.[15][16][17]

DVD and cinema[edit]

Alive on Stage! at the O2 Arena was recorded and released across cinemas in the UK and Europe in April 2013.[13] The War of the Worlds team worked with the distribution company More2Screen, a company that brings special events to cinema[18] with tickets going on sale in February 2013.[19] The recorded show was well received in a series of platform digital screenings in the UK before it transitioned to home entertainment; it was released on DVD in November 2013.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jeff Wayne

Disc One
No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "The Eve of the War"   Liam Neeson and Gary Barlow 10:13
2. "Horsell Common and The Heat Ray"   Liam Neeson 12:14
3. "The Artilleryman and The Fighting Machine"   Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson 12:05
4. "Forever Autumn"   Liam Neeson and Gary Barlow 7:54
5. "Thunder Child"   Liam Neeson and Alex Clare 6:13
Total length:
Disc Two
No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "The Red Weed (Part 1)"   Liam Neeson 6:57
2. "The Spirit of Man"   Liam Neeson, Maverick Sabre, and Joss Stone 12:06
3. "The Red Weed (Part 2)"   Liam Neeson and Maverick Sabre 5:19
4. "The Artilleryman Returns"   Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson 3:20
5. "Brave New World"   Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson 12:14
6. "Dead London (Part 1)"   Liam Neeson 5:26
7. "Dead London (Part 2)"   Liam Neeson 3:47
8. "Epilogue (Part 1)"   Liam Neeson 3:21
9. "Epilogue (Part 2) (NASA)"   Jerry Wayne and Lewis MacLeod 1:57
Total length:


  1. ^ a b Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds website, The Story, Chap.14.
  2. ^ "BPI Top 40 albums" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  3. ^ "The Official Charts Top 40 biggest selling albums of all time". Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  4. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – The New Generation". Jeff Wayne. 2012-11-01. 
  5. ^ "Liam Neeson's hologram will narrate 'War of the Worlds' musical". The Los Angeles Times. 2011-11-18. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "The New Generation". Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds...The New Generation!". PR Newswire United Business Media. 2012-11-18. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Neeson 'Intimidated' By War Of The Worlds". PR Newswire United Business Media. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Tour 2012-2013 UK & Europe". Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds". Bournemouth Pavillion. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds". LiveNation. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Michael Falzon (15 December 2012). "Not far out of London now.". Facebook. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "TWOTW comes to Cinema!". Ollie Record Productions. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Marti Pellow cancels stage shows in Germany". MSN. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds Final Arena Tour (Official Press Release)". Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "The War of The Worlds - The Final Arena Tour at The O2 Arena on Saturday 13th Dec 2014". Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Farewell Thunder Child 2014". Daybees UK. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Coming to Cinemas for the Very First Time". Close-Up Film. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "The War of The Worlds Alive On Stage! The New Generation". More2Screen. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – Alive On Stage! The New Generation". Screen Daily. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 

External links[edit]