In the United Kingdom, "Marquee Moon" was released as a single on April 1, 1977. Its first pressing was as a 12" single only, limited to 25,000 copies, with the song in stereo on one side and in mono on the other side. Subsequent pressings of the single were as a 7" single, with the track split into two over the A-side and B-side.
Each of the song's three verses begins with a double-stopped guitar intro before Billy Ficca's drums come in, and after the second chorus Richard Lloyd plays a brief guitar solo. After the third chorus, there is a longer solo by Tom Verlaine, based on a jazz-like mixolydian scale, that lasts for the entire second half of the song. On the original vinyl edition of the album, the song faded out just short of ten minutes, but the CD reissues have included the full 10:40 of the take. In concert, the band has sometimes extended the song to as long as fifteen minutes.
Despite its length, which would typically have been too long for most popular music radio formats, the song was released as a single in the U.K. on April 1, 1977 and was a minor success, reaching number 30 on the UK Singles Chart. A mono recording of the song served as the B-side of the 12" single. It was subsequently released on 7" vinyl but, because of its length, the song had to be divided between the two sides; part one running at 3:13 and part two at 6:45.