Misplaced Childhood is the third studio album by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in 1985.
Recorded during the spring of 1985 at Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin and produced by Chris Kimsey, who had previously worked with the Rolling Stones, Misplaced Childhood has been the group’s most successful album to date, peaking immediately at number one in the UK charts, spending a total of 41 weeks on the chart, and ultimately gaining the Platinum status. It features Marillion’s two most successful singles, the guitar-led rock ballad “Kayleigh”, which reached number two in the UK, and piano-led “Lavender” which peaked at number five.
The album’s positive reception included its selection as one of the best of 1985 by rock publications Sounds and Kerrang!. It was later named one of the best concept albums of all time by Classic Rock. According to John Franck from AllMusic, the album was the band’s “most accomplished” and “streamlined” work to date, while Ultimate Classic Rock has called it “the cornerstone of the entire ‘neo-prog’ movement”.
Misplaced Childhood was Marillion’s first full concept album consisting of two continuous pieces of music on the two sides of the vinyl record. In live performances preceding the album Fish had originally claimed as a teaser that the next album would consist of only two tracks, “Side 1” and “Side 2”. Then, during the Misplaced Childhood tour Fish would announce, “Now there is time for one more track… the name of the track is ‘Misplaced Childhood'”, and the band performed the entire album in sequence.
“I was in ‘Padres Bay’ when suddenly I felt a child standing behind me on the stairs. I knew he was dressed as a soldier and vanished as soon as he entered the corner or my eye. Perhaps it was my muse; perhaps it was the drug. It was enough to propel me into reaming off a large scrawl of prose.” (Fish)
The story has thematic elements of lost love, sudden success, acceptance, and lost childhood, along with an upbeat ending. As Fish explains, he conceived the concept during a 10-hour acid trip.
Several of the songs and titles contain notable autobiographical references, for example, “Kayleigh” references breakdown of relationships as a whole but is centered around a Fish’s past girlfriend named Kay Lee. The name Kayleigh was thought of by Fish to slightly obscure the original name due to the song being too personal. Another example is “Heart of Lothian” (“I was born with the heart of Lothian”) which is a reference to a traditional region of Scotland – Fish himself being from Midlothian – and a reference to the Heart of Midlothian (Royal Mile) – a mosaic heart in the pavement of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
The theme of childhood is developed in “Lavender” which is partly based on the traditional folk song “Lavender Blue”. Like “Kayleigh” it is a love song, but whereas “Kayleigh” was about the failure of an adult relationship, “Lavender” recalls the innocence of childhood.
Like Script for a Jester’s Tear and Fugazi, the original vinyl edition of Misplaced Childhood was released in a gatefold sleeve. The album design was created by Mark Wilkinson who was commissioned to the role on all Marillion albums and 12″ singles of the Fish-era.
The front cover features a soldier drummer portrayed by Robert Mead, a then ten-year-old boy who lived next door to Wilkinson. Mead also appeared on the artwork of the album’s three hit singles, “Kayleigh”, “Lavender”, and “Heart of Lothian”, and can be seen in the music video for “Kayleigh”. The Jester from the two previous studio albums is imagined escaping through the window on the back cover.
Misplaced Childhood was released in the United Kingdom on 17 June 1985 by EMI Records on LP, 12″ picture disc and cassette and went on to be the band’s biggest selling album. It topped the UK Albums Chart, becoming the first and the only Marillion album to do so. It stayed on the charts for 41 weeks, the longest chart residency of any of the band’s albums. Misplaced Childhood was certified Platinum by the BPI for sales in excess of 300.000 copies on 26 November 1985 just 5 months after the release. It was the 20th best selling album in the United Kingdom for 1985.
The album was also highly successful across mainland Europe reaching number 3 in Germany, number 6 in Switzerland and the Netherlands, the country where Marillion have one of their largest fanbases, number 10 in Norway. In the United States Misplaced Childhood came out on the Capitol Records label and reached number 47 on the Billboard 200 chart, the highest position the band has ever achieved.
Three singles, “Kayleigh”, “Lavender”, and “Heart of Lothian” were released, with the first preceding the album. “Kayleigh” peaked at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart turning out to be the biggest hit for Marillion and prompting the success of Misplaced Childhood. The two further singles were less successful but still ended up at high positions as “Lavender” reached number 5 and “Heart of Lothian” peaked at number 29.
In April 2015, it was announced that Fish would be performing a 30th anniversary tour of Misplaced Childhood, playing the album in full for the very last time. (by wikipedia)
The Picture Disc
After the album-tour-album cycle of Script for a Jester’s Tear, Fugazi, and the subsequent Euro-only release of Real to Reel, Marillion retreated to Berlin’s Hansa Ton Studios with Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey to work on their next opus. Armed with a handful of lyrics born out of a self-confessed acid trip, Fish came up with the elaborate concept for 1985’s Misplaced Childhood. Touching upon his early childhood experiences and his inability to deal with a slew of bad breakups exacerbated by a never-ending series of rock star-type “indulgences,” Misplaced Childhood would prove to be not only the band’s most accomplished release to date, but also its most streamlined. Initial record company skepticism over the band’s decision to forge ahead with a ’70s-style prog rock opus split into two halves (sides one and two) quickly evaporated as Marillion delivered its two most commercial singles ever: “Kayleigh” and “Lavender.” With its lush production and punchy mix, the album went on to become the band’s greatest commercial triumph, especially in Europe where they would rise from theater attraction to bona fide stadium royalty. The subsequent U.S. success of “Kayleigh” would also see Marillion returning to the States for a difficult tour as Rush’s support act. (by John Franck)
Derek William “Fish” Dick (vocals)
Mark Kelly (keyboards)
Ian Mosley (drums, percussion)
Steve Rothery (guitar)
Pete Trewavas (bass)
01. Pseudo Silk Kimono 2.15
02. Kayleigh 4.04
03. Lavender 2.28
04. Bitter Suite 7.53
04.1. Brief Encounter
04.2. Lost Weekend
04.3. Blue Angel
04.4. Misplaced Rendezvous
04.5. Windswept Thumb
05. Heart of Lothian 4.08
05.1. Wide Boy
05.2. Curtain Call
06. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) 2.13
07. Lords Of The Backstage 1.53
08. Blind Curve 9.30
08.1. Vocal Under A Bloodlight
08.2. Passing Strangers
08.4. Perimeter Walk
09. Childhoods End? 4.33
10. White Feather 2.24
All lyrics written by Fish, all music composed by Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas.