Afraid of Sunlight

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Afraid of Sunlight
Studio album by
Released24 June 1995
RecordedJanuary — March 1995
StudioThe Racket Club
(Buckinghamshire, England)
Length51:25[nb 1]
Marillion chronology
Afraid of Sunlight
Made Again
Singles from Afraid of Sunlight
  1. "Beautiful"
    Released: 29 May 1995
Alternative cover
2019 reissue cover
2019 reissue cover

Afraid of Sunlight is Marillion's eighth studio album, released in 1995. It was their last for EMI (who would, however, continue to release back-catalogue material on compilations and re-issues, as well as distribute some later recordings).

Afraid of Sunlight was the first Marillion studio album to fail to reach the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16 and falling out of the Top 75 after two weeks.[1] Despite this, Afraid of Sunlight became one of the band's most critically acclaimed albums and was included in Q magazine's "Recordings of the Year" for 1995.[2] It was retrospectively described by Jeri Montesano of Allmusic as "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" and by colleague Jason Ankeny as "the most consistent Marillion release to date".[3][4]


Although not a concept album as such, Afraid of Sunlight repeatedly examines the destructive side of celebrity. In particular, "Gazpacho" lampoons the Hollywood lifestyle and seems to refer to O. J. Simpson. "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a Beach Boys pastiche inspired by late-night horror movies. "Out of This World" is dedicated to world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, killed in 1967, and inspired diver Bill Smith to look for the wreck. The main wreckage of Campbell's Bluebird K7 hydroplane was recovered from Coniston Water on 8 March 2001. Both Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery were present at the raising.[5] The title track refers to self-destructive thrill-seekers such as James Dean, while "King" is about Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson. "Beyond You" is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions and was mixed in mono.[6]

One reviewer noted the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, about a boxer's inability to deal with fame, as a strong influence on the album.[7] He also cited O. J. Simpson, on trial for murder at the time Afraid of Sunlight was recorded, as another influence on its concept; the wind-down of "Gazpacho" ends with a sample from a news report on Simpson's infamous flight from the police.


Afraid of Sunlight was released in Europe on 24 June 1995 by EMI Records on CD[nb 1], LP[nb 2] and cassette, and in the U.S. on 4 July 1995 by El Dorado, a subsidiary label of I.R.S. Records.[8] It climbed to number 16 in the UK and spent only three weeks in the charts, the shortest chart residency of any Marillion studio album by then.[9] The only single from the album, "Beautiful", peaked at number 29 in the UK Singles Chart. Afraid of Sunlight reached number 8 in the Netherlands, the country where the band has one of their largest fanbases.

As part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI Records re-released Afraid of Sunlight on 22 March 1999 with 24-bit digital remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus tracks[nb 3].[8] A new 180g heavy weight vinyl pressing[nb 4] identical to the original 1995 edition was released in 2013.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[11]
Q4/5 stars[12]

AllMusic critic Alex S. Garcia has retrospectively given Afraid of Sunlight a four-out-of-five star rating. He noted that the album has "some very beautiful melodic moments and perhaps a better mix between calm and agressive [sic] melodies than on previous albums made with Steve Hogarth".[11] Jeri Montesano called it "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" while reviewing Seasons End (1989).[13] His colleague Dale Jensen has named the album "the most consistent Marillion release to date".[14] In a review from Q magazine, Afraid of Sunlight has been described as "a 40-minute journey that touches on the legacy of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles, while hinting at the experimental trivialities of Jellyfish or Split Enz".[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosley and John Helmer, except where noted.

1."Gazpacho" 7:28
2."Cannibal Surf Babe" 5:45
3."Beautiful"Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley5:12
4."Afraid of Sunrise" 5:02
5."Out of This World" 7:54
6."Afraid of Sunlight" 6:50
7."Beyond You"Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley6:11
8."King" 7:03
Total length:51:25
1999 remastered edition bonus disc
1."Icon"Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley6:05
2."Live Forever" 4:34
3."Second Chance" (aka "Beautiful", mixed by Dave Meegan) 5:14
4."Beyond You" (demo) 5:18
5."Cannibal Surf Babe" (studio outtake) 6:00
6."Out of This World" (studio outtake) 7:28
7."Bass Frenzy"Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley1:17
8."Mirages" (demo)Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley6:02
9."Afraid of Sunlight" (acoustic demo, edited by Lucy Jordache with Peter Mew) 6:50
Total length:48:48
  • Tracks 3-9 of the 1999 remastered edition bonus disc had previously been unreleased.

4-CD + Blu-ray Disc, 2019, Remixed, Digi-Book[edit]

CD 1 Michael Hunter 2019 Remix

CD 2 Original 1995 Dave Meegan Mix

Tracklisting for discs 1 and 2 as above

CD 3 Live At The Ahoy, Rotterdam (29 September 1995)

  • Intro (Skater's Waltz) 0:47
  • Incommunicado 4:56
  • Hooks In You 2:59
  • Gazpacho 6:16
  • Icon 1:11
  • Beautiful 5:33
  • Hotel Hobbies 2:04
  • White Russian 7:09
  • Easter 6:11
  • Mad 2:52
  • The Opium Den 3:48
  • Hard As Love 6:34
  • The Hollow Man 5:14

CD 4 Live At The Ahoy, Rotterdam (29 September 1995)

  • Kayleigh 4:09
  • Lavender 4:19
  • Afraid Of Sunlight 6:57
  • Cannibal Surf Babe 4:51
  • Cover My Eyes 4:15
  • Slainte Mhath 4:45
  • King 7:20
  • Splintering Heart 7:20
  • No One Can 5:36
  • The Great Escape 5:46
  • Uninvited Guest 4:27
  • Garden Party 7:38

Blu-ray Disc

2019 Michael Hunter remix in stereo and 5.1 surround

  • Gazpacho
  • Cannibal Surf Babe
  • Beautiful
  • Afraid Of Sunrise
  • Out Of This World
  • Afraid Of Sunlight
  • Beyond You
  • King

Bonus Tracks

  • Ascending Synth Groove
  • Velvet Lawn
  • Building Guitar
  • Band Of Gold
  • Gazpacho [Early Version]
  • Sufer Bass
  • Cannibal Surf [Early Version]
  • Beautiful [Early Version]
  • Kd Lang
  • Out Of This World [Early Version]
  • Afraid Of Sunlight [Early Version]
  • Beyond You [Early Version]
  • Crunchy Guitar Idea
  • Deep Purple Vibe
  • Watery Guitar
  • King [Early Version]
  • Happy Accidents
  • Afraid Of Sunlight
  • Beautiful
  • Icon
  • Live Forever
  • Second Chance
  • Beyond You [Demo]
  • Cannibal Surf Babe
  • Out Of This World
  • Bass Frenzy
  • Mirages [Demo]
  • Afraid Of Sunlight [Acoustic Demo]


Additional musicians
  • Barbara Lezmy – additional backing vocals (on "Cannibal Surf Babe")
  • Wendy Paige – additional backing vocals (on "Cannibal Surf Babe")
  • Hannah Stobart – additional backing vocals (on "Beautiful")
Technical personnel



  1. ^ a b EMI 7243 8 33874 2 7, CDEMD 1079
  2. ^ EMI 7243 8 33874 1 0, EMD 1079
  3. ^ EMI 7243 4 98614 2 8
  4. ^ EMI 825646413485, VEMD 1079
  1. ^ David Roberts, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles and Albums. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 349. ISBN 978-1904994107.
  2. ^ "1995 Q Magazine Recordings Of The Year". Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ "allmusic ((( Season's End > Overview )))". Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Marillion - Music Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  5. ^ Hogarth, Steve (8 March 2001). "A Day in the Lakes". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  6. ^ Kelly, Mark (1999). Afraid of Sunlight (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 98614 2 8). p. 21.
  7. ^ "Marillion, Afraid of Sunlight". PopMatters. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Album: Afraid of Sunlight". Bert ter Steege. Archived from the original on 5 November 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Afraid of Sunlight". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  11. ^ a b Garcia, Alex S. Marillion: "Afraid of Sunlight" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  12. ^ a b Q. August 1995. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Montesano, Jeri. Marillion: "Seasons End" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  14. ^ Jensen, Dale. "Marillion Biography by Dale Jensen". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  15. ^ " – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  16. ^ " – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  17. ^ " – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  19. ^ " – Marillion – Beautiful" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2016.

External links[edit]