Misplaced Childhood

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Misplaced Childhood
Studio album by Marillion
Released 17 June 1985
Recorded Hansa Tonstudio, Berlin, March – May 1985
Genre Progressive rock, neo-progressive rock, pop rock
Length 41:16
Label EMI UK
Capitol US
Producer Chris Kimsey for Wonderknob Ltd.
Marillion chronology
Real to Reel
Misplaced Childhood
Brief Encounter
Singles from Misplaced Childhood
  1. "Kayleigh"
    Released: 7 April 1985
  2. "Lavender"
    Released: 27 August 1985
  3. "Heart of Lothian"
    Released: 18 November 1985

Misplaced Childhood is the third studio album of the neo-progressive rock band Marillion. It was released in 1985 and has been their most commercially successful album, going immediately to number one in the UK album charts in June 1985 and spending a total of 41 weeks on the chart, the longest chart residency of a Marillion album.[1]

The album features the band's two most successful singles, the guitar-led "Kayleigh", which reached No. 2 in the UK and was a worldwide success, and the piano-led "Lavender", which reached No. 5. The name Kayleigh was devised by Fish to slightly obscure the name of a former girlfriend named "Kay Lee" (with "Lee" being the middle name), whom the song was mostly about.

Misplaced Childhood was the band's first full concept album, consisting of two continuous pieces of music on the two sides of the vinyl. In live concerts preceding the album, Fish had originally claimed as a teaser that the next album would consist of only two tracks, 'Side One' and 'Side Two'. 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.

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.[2] Several of the songs and titles contain notable autobiographical references; one example is that track 2 ("Kayleigh") references past girlfriends. Another example is track 5 ("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.

A 2-CD remastered version with additional B-sides and demos was released in 1998.


The boy on the cover art is Robert Mead, a then ten-year-old who lived next door to sleeve artist Mark Wilkinson. Mead was portrayed on the sleeves of the album's three hit singles, "Kayleigh", "Lavender" and "Heart of Lothian", and also appeared in the music video for "Kayleigh".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Q 4/5 stars
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Music Street Journal (very favourable) link

The album topped the 1985 readers' poll for best album in Sounds magazine and came sixth in Kerrang! magazine's Albums of the Year 1985.[4] The album came fourth in Classic Rock's list of the 30 greatest concept albums of all time.[5] In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came No. 17 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".[6]

John Franck of AllMusic has said retrospectively the album was "not only the band's most accomplished release to date, but also its most streamlined... 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."[3]

Song references[edit]

The album contains several references to song titles or lyrics by Marillion and other artists. These include:

  • "Home Thoughts from Abroad" by Clifford T. Ward referenced in "Kayleigh" ("By the way, how's your broken heart"/"By the way, didn't I break your heart?")
  • "Script for a Jester's Tear" by Marillion, referenced in "Kayleigh" ("I never did write that love song"/"I'm still trying to write that love song")
  • "Love, Reign O'er Me" by The Who, referenced in "Windswept Thumb" ("Rain on me" – NB not in lyric sheet)
  • "Ashes are Burning" by Renaissance, referenced in "Lords of the Backstage" ("Ashes are burning, burning")
  • "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" by Van der Graaf Generator, referenced in "Lords of the Backstage" ("I'm so far out [and] I'm too far in")
  • "Childlike Faith in Childhood's End" by Van der Graaf Generator, referenced in "Childhoods End?"
  • "Lavender Blue", originally an English folk song dating to the 17th century. This song became very popular during the 1950s rock and roll era, when it was sung by Sammy Turner, Bigtop 3016, 1959. A hit version of the song, sung by Burl Ives, was featured in the Walt Disney movie "So Dear to My Heart".
  • "Stoned Immaculate" by The Doors, referenced in "Perimeter Walk" ("Out here in the perimeter there are no stars. Out here we IS stoned. Immaculate."). On The Thieving Magpie (CD Version) during the performance of "Perimeter Walk" you can hear Fish say "Stoned and Immaculate".

Formats and re-issues[edit]

The album was originally released on Cassette, vinyl LP, 12" Picture Disc and CD. In 1998, as part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI re-released Misplaced Childhood with remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus material, listed above. The remastered edition was later also made available without the bonus disc.

A new 180 gram vinyl pressing was released in May 2013 by EMI. It was identical to the original vinyl release from 1985.


The album was the inspiration for comedian Will Smith’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe show "Misplaced Childhood" in 2005, which also led to a successful tour in 2006.[7]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Pseudo Silk Kimono" – 2:14
  2. "Kayleigh" – 4:03
  3. "Lavender" – 2:25
  4. "Bitter Suite" – 7:56
    1. "Brief Encounter"
    2. "Lost Weekend"
    3. "Blue Angel"
    4. "Misplaced Rendezvous"
    5. "Windswept Thumb"
  5. "Heart of Lothian" – 4:02
    1. "Wide Boy"
    2. "Curtain Call"

Side two[edit]

  1. "Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)" – 2:13
  2. "Lords of the Backstage" – 1:52
  3. "Blind Curve" – 9:29
    1. "Vocal Under a Bloodlight"
    2. "Passing Strangers"
    3. "Mylo"
    4. "Perimeter Walk"
    5. "Threshold"
  4. "Childhoods End?" – 4:33
  5. "White Feather" – 2:25

Remastered CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Lady Nina" (Extended 12" Version) – 5:50
  2. "Freaks" (Single Version) – 4:08
  3. "Kayleigh" (Alternative Mix) – 4:03
  4. "Lavender Blue" (Lavender Remix) – 4:22
  5. "Heart of Lothian" (Extended Mix) – 5:54
  6. "Pseudo Silk Kimono" (Demo) – 2:11
  7. "Kayleigh" (Demo) – 4:06
  8. "Lavender" (Demo) – 2:37
  9. "Bitter Suite" (Demo) – 2:54
  10. "Lords of the Backstage" (Demo) – 1:46
  11. "Blue Angel" (Demo) – 1:46
  12. "Misplaced Rendezvous" (Demo) – 1:56
  13. "Heart of Lothian" (Demo) – 3:49
  14. "Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)" (Demo) – 2:00
  15. "Passing Strangers" (Demo) – 9:17
  16. "Childhoods End?" (Demo) – 2:23
  17. "White Feather" (Demo) – 2:18



  1. ^ David Roberts British Hit Singles and Albums, Guinness World Records Limited
  2. ^ Fish. Misplaced Childhood reissue liner notes, pp. 9–10. 1998.
  3. ^ a b Franck, John. "Misplaced Childhood". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Readers' Poll 1985", Sounds, 11 January 1986, p. 19
  5. ^ Classic Rock, March 2003.
  6. ^ Q Classic: Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, 2005.
  7. ^ Ritchie, Jason. "Interview: Will Smith". Get Ready to Rock. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

More information available (on the marillion.com album page ):

Preceded by
Boys and Girls by Bryan Ferry
UK number one album
29 June 1985 – 5 July 1985
Succeeded by
Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen