Jeff Wayne was already a well-known figure in British rock circles when he created The War of the Worlds, the piece for which he would remain known to the public for more than a quarter century after. He was born in New York, the son of actor Jerry Wayne, but he ended up being raised for four years in England, when his father was cast in the role of Sky Masterson in the original London production of Guys and Dolls. In New York, he attended Forest Hills High School and his keen interest in music, which encompassed both classical and jazz, resulted in Wayne's studying privately -- his teachers included John Mehegan. He spent the rest of his youth in California and initially attended college as a journalism student before switching to music, and he supported himself in those years playing keyboards with various bands, when he wasn't indulging in his other great passion, tennis. Eventually, he chose music as his career path, and was helped along considerably when his father produced a musical play on the West End entitled Two Cities (which starred a young Edward Woodward) -- a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities; that production may well have set Wayne on the path to the creation of his magnum opus.