Various Artists

Der Krieg der Welten (War of the Worlds)

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This is a true piece of bizarre Moody Blues and Justin Hayward ephemera. In the original 1979 LP release in the United States, and England, and most of the rest of the world, Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds appeared in a version featuring Richard Burton as the narrator and in the role of the Journalist, with Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, Jo Partridge, and Julie Covington in various singing and speaking parts. In Germany, however, a separate release was prepared, in which actor Curt Jurgens (1912-1982) narrated and played the part of the Journalist in German. Additionally, some of the speaking parts done by Lynott, Covington, and Essex feature German performers speaking in their native language, juxtaposed with the original song performances by Covington, Essex, Lynott, et al. The resulting CD, released by Sony Music Media in Germany in 1996 (catalog #483859-2) is fascinating and bizarre to hear, in particular because Jurgens, who was about a decade older than Burton, sounds more world-weary and convincing, and less actorish in his work. The overall album sounds more impressive, and denser and crisper in particular, because this version of the album wasn't prepared for CD until 1996, by which time analog-to-digital transfer standards had improved vastly over the late-'80s transfer on the English language version of this album. Additionally, the second disc includes four bonus tracks, "Spirit of Man" and 1990's remixes of "Forever Autumn" and the "Epilogue Pt. 2/The Eve of War."