Music for the Apocalypse #13: Forever Autumn – The Moody Blues/Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds

Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds deserves it’s own post, of course, and doubtless we’ll get to it in time, but this song is just stunning, and undoubtedly right at the top of all Music of the Apocalypse. Unlucky thirteen seems appropriate for the apocalypse.

Journalist: Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. This was no disciplined march – it was a stampede – without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilisation, of the massacre of mankind.

I defy anyone to find a more stirring description of human behaviour in the apocalypse. Perfect in meter and grandeur of vocabulary – its awe not overwhelmed by a sense of melodrama because it is so paired down, so precise, so terrifying and exhilarating. A perfect evocation. O’course, much is owed to the source material, but Jeff Wayne’s score and Richard Burton’s narration sweep it up into a height of drama that captures the heart-in-your throat primal fear of The War of the Worlds, and this part in particular, as the people of London become a mindless, heaving mob, driven by instinct for survival, even as the Journalist himself is caught in his own small, human drama – being separated from his loved ones, possibly forever.

Yeah.

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