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Music: Jeff Wayne

Jeffrey "Jeff" Wayne (born July 1, 1943, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York) is an American composer with a penchant for tennis and Rock Operas. He wrote several advertising jingles in the 1970s which appeared on television in the United Kingdom, notably a Gordon's Gin commercial which was then covered by The Human League. Other well-known themes he wrote include Good Morning Britain (TV-am) and London's LBC radio. However, his most famous work by far is his 1978 musical version of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, which won two Ivor Novello awards and Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy (which might be an Overly Narrow Superlative but what the hey, it's still Crowning Music of Awesome).

Wayne kept a fairly low profile in the decade after The War of the Worlds, but continued to be active in composing and producing. He produced the music for the movie McVicar, created several TV themes, and composed the overture for Kevin Peek and Rick Wakeman's Beyond the Planets in 1984.

In 1992, Wayne released his second Rock Opera, Spartacus, based on the life of the gladiator of the same name. It is less well known than War Of The Worlds; while it had an All-Star Cast, Gary Osborne writing the lyrics, and a great story, it didn't recapture the Ear Worm tunes or novel orchestration of War of the Worlds.

Despite Spartacus being something of a disappointment, Wayne is still getting significant mileage out of his first work: in 1998 Rage Software produced Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds, a PC game based on Wayne's musical, and Wayne himself was involved in producing the remixed soundtrack for the game. In 2005 the original album was re-released, becoming one of the big hits of the year and occupying 10 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the UK Album charts. The new release pushed sales to 3 million albums in the UK, and nearly 14 million worldwide, putting it at the upper end of the "best selling" list since charts began, and among the elite of the longest running albums in chart history. 2006 saw the musical touring the UK as War Of The Worlds: Live On Stage, featuring (among other things) a Huge Holographic Head of Richard Burton and a 40-foot tall animatronic fighting machine.

In 2012 the musical got an Updated Re-release with new versions of the songs, some new dialogue, and a new All-Star Cast (including Liam Neeson as the Journalist, who appears on-stage via hologram).

War Of The Worlds provides examples of:

  • Now has its own page, here

Spartacus provides examples of:


Ron WassermanComposersAndrew Lloyd Webber

alternative title(s): Jeff Wayne
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