When Jeff Wayne released his The War of the Worlds album in 1978, the winds of fashion were not behind him. In a musical era defined by post-punk's minimalism and deconstructionism, a sprawling concept album based on a Victorian novel about a Martian invasion of Earth appeared a gargantuan folly.
The British public were not concerned with such critical niceties, and The War of the Worlds became a commercial phenomenon, taking root in the album chart for more than five years. Wayne has frequently returned to his rock opera, this year rerecording the album and producing this "next generation" tour.
His musical adaptation of Hg Wells's 1898 sci-fi classic has not aged particularly well, largely because it seemed slightly silly even a third of a century ago. However, this time-capsule missive from the era of Star Wars, Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind has acquired an engaging retro-futurist sheen.