…’cause you’re not here”.
The cassette tapes are beginning to stretch and convenient, portable players are hard to come by, so I saved up my pennies and bought the CD set of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of “The War of the Worlds”. It sounded different – the sound was less ’rounded’ at the edges. To put it another way, with the CD it sounded sharper – ‘crisper’ if you want to be more complimentary about it. I’m not sure I liked the ‘better’ quality but I’m sure it’s as much a matter of taste as technical standards.
Having not heard this for a long time, I put the CDs on and listened all the way through (even through one mealtime which is against our normal rule but at least everyone was able to hear it – loudspeakers, not headphones). It got a more favourable reception than I had expected.
Once you accept that this is a version of H G Wells’ classic and original science fiction you needn’t fret about how faithful it is. In both this and film versions I lament that there is no mention of where I grew up, whereas the book does make a fleeting mention of it.
This is not the genre of music I would usually subscribe to (think Vaughn Williams, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Katelby and, perhaps, The Wombles) and was first released at the end of the 1970s as two LPs (vinyl). I think it would have been classified as ‘pop’ music. It was the decade when the first of the “Star Wars” films were seen.
One of the most popular tracks is probably “Forever Autumn” (I think it may have also been released as a single) which is a wistful song coming in the part of the story when the narrator is missing his sweetheart.
“Through autumn’s golden glow we used to kick our way, you always loved this time of year.”
He is also coming to realise that the world he was familiar with was changing deeply and dramatically – nothing would ever be the same again. So he concludes that “my life will be Forever Autumn ’cause you’re not here”.
I think “forever Autumn” describes a feeling, a sadness, a nostalgia, that many people would recognise and that song connects with that feeling in its melody and lyrics effectively. It is true to that moment, you could say.
I am also bound to say, that even when Autumn arrives early, or leaves late, staying longer than we’d normally expect; nevertheless, it is not forever Autumn in the end.