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Posted by purplemary54 on August 25, 2013

One of the few exceptions to my general anti-Prog Rock stance is the Marillion album Misplaced Childhood.  It’s a loose concept album about fractured romances, sort of a pseudo break-up album, since I don’t know exactly how much of it is based on any actual break-ups.  (I’m sure my friends who happen to be huge Marillion fans will enlighten me.)  I really don’t listen to the complete album all that much, although it is designed to be listened to as a whole (linked songs, repeated images, melodies, and themes . . . the whole nine yards).  It’s good stuff, but almost all of the goodwill I have toward this album is based on the single “Kayleigh.”

I don’t know what drew me to this song.  The story of a relationship gone to pieces was a little lost on me at first (I freely admit I didn’t always understand the lyrics; the British can be such a mumbly bunch).  I didn’t think anyone in the band was particularly cute (I was a teenager when this came out, after all).  Maybe I just dug the title name.  Maybe I responded to the aching regret in singer Fish’s voice (although I never would’ve articulated it that way back then).  I just know it hooked me right from the moment I heard it.  It’s one of the least progressive sounding songs they ever did.  And aside from any images that are exclusive to the concept of the album (the boy in the elaborate uniform that keeps popping up is from the cover, and plays a figurative role in the album themes), it was a very accessible song.

Marillion never really hit it big commercially, although they do have a loyal following.  They’re more of a cult band than anything else, but they always showcased accomplished musicianship and very emotional songwriting, especially during the Fish years.  (Fish was their original frontman, but left the group to pursue a solo career in 1988.  They’ve continued to record without him, but neither act has ever had the same kind of success, creatively or commerically, since the split.)


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