Script for a Jester’s Tear is the debut studio album by British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in the United Kingdom on 13 March 1983 by EMI Records. The album reached number seven and spent 31 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, eventually achieving a platinum certificate, and produced the Top 40 single “He Knows You Know” and the Top 20 single “Garden Party”.
Script for a Jester’s Tear is the only studio album by Marillion to feature the band’s original drummer and founding member Mick Pointer, who was dismissed following the album’s UK tour. In Martin Popoff’s 2016 biography of Yes, the album is credited with being part of a “new wave” of British progressive rock which also helped to give a second life to earlier bands.
Marillion released their first single, “Market Square Heroes”, on 25 October 1982. It was a minor hit, peaking at number 53 on the UK Singles Chart. It was produced by David Hitchcock, who was also contracted to work on the group’s first full-length album. However, he was heavily injured in a car accident when he drove home after completing work on the single. EMI took advantage of the opportunity and persuaded the group to replace him with Nick Tauber, a producer known for his work with new wave band Toyah and regarded by the record label as more modern.
Neither “Market Square Heroes”, nor the B-sides of the 12″ single, “Three Boats Down from the Candy” and the 17-minute-long epic “Grendel”, were included on Script for a Jester’s Tear, although a short radio segment of the A-side can be briefly heard prior to “Forgotten Sons”. As stated in the original liner notes, the music from the album was composed, arranged and performed by Marillion and the lyrics were written by Fish alone. However, in the 1997 remastered edition, four out of six songs are additionally credited to bass player Diz Minnit and keyboard player Brian Jellyman, who were both the initial members of the group. The recording sessions for the album started in December 1982 at The Marquee Studios in London and finished in February 1983, with Tauber producing and Simon Hanhart engineering.
The cover artwork was designed by Mark Wilkinson, who would be commissioned to the role on all Marillion releases through The Thieving Magpie (1988).
Script for a Jester’s Tear was released in the United Kingdom on 13 March 1983 by EMI on vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve. In the United States, it was available through Capitol Records.
Dave Dickson in his review for Kerrang! said that “as a debut album this [Script for a Jester’s Tear] is extremely impressive, fully living up to the band’s previous promise”. John Franck has given the album a retrospective rating of four-and-a-half stars out of five on AllMusic. He has called it “a vital piece for any Marillion head and an essential work for any self-respecting first- or second-generation prog rock fan”.
Script for a Jester’s Tear was a commercial success, reaching number 7 in the United Kingdom and spending 31 weeks on the charts, the second-longest album chart residency for Marillion. It was awarded a platinum certification by British Phonographic Industry on 5 December 1997 for over 300,000 copies sold. In the United States, however, it failed to make any impact, peaking at number 175 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The album generated two hit singles in the United Kingdom. The first single, “He Knows You Know”, preceded the release of Script for a Jester’s Tear and launched the group into the Top 40, reaching number 35. The second single, “Garden Party”, was released on 6 June 1983 and became even more popular, peaking at number 16. “He Knows You Know” gained some airplay in the United States and reached number 21 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. (by wikipedia)
At the time, Marillion’s remarkable, full-fledged 1983 debut Script for a Jester’s Tear was considered an odd bird: replete with Peter Gabriel face paint and lengthy, technical compositions, Marillion ushered in a new generation of prog rock that bound them forever to the heroics of early day Genesis. Intricate, complex, and theatrical almost to a fault, Script for a Jester’s Tear remains the band’s best and sets the bar for their later work. Filled with extraordinary songs that remained staples in the band’s live gigs, the album begins with the poignant title track, on which Fish leads his band of merry men on a brokenhearted tour de force that culminates with the singer decrying that “…the game is over.”
“He Knows You Know,,” a song sprinkled with drug paranoia and guilt; as the song veers to its chorus, Fish announces, “Fast feed, crystal fever, swarming through a fractured mind.” If “The Web” hints at a grain of commercialism, “Garden Party” is a joyous anthem that showcases Marillion at the peak of its powers. Bogged down by some hilariously over-the-top British poetry, “Chelsea Monday” may be one of the album’s lesser moments (if there are any), but the magical “Forgotten Sons” concludes the opus magnificently. Luckily for Marillion fans, EMI released a remastered version of Script with two different versions of “Market Square Heroes,” “Three Boats Down from the Candy,” “Grendel,” “Chelsea Monday,” the demo of “He Knows You Know,” and an alternate track titled “Charting the Single.” A vital piece for any Marillion head and an essential work for any self-respecting first- or second-generation prog rock fan. (by John Franck)
Derek William Dick “Fish” (vocals)
Steve Rothery (guitar)
Pete Trewavas (bass)
Mark Kelly (keyboards)
Mick Pointer (drums, percussion)
Marquee Club’s Parents Association Children’s Choir (choir (on 06.)
Peter Cockburn (newscaster’s voice (on 06.)
01. Script For A Jester’s Tear 8.43
02. He Knows You Know 5.24
03. The Web 8.52
04. Garden Party 7.20
05. Chelsea Monday 8.18
06. Forgotten Sons 8.24
Music: Derek William Dick “Fish” – Steve Rothery – Pete Trewavas – Mark Kelly – Mick Pointer Derek William Dick “Fish”
I add a long article about this album, from the Magazine “Prog” called
“How Marillion made Script For A Jester!