Lavender (Marillion song)

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Single by Marillion
from the album Misplaced Childhood
Released27 August 1985
RecordedMarch–May 1985
StudioHansa Ton (Berlin, Germany)
GenreNeo-progressive rock
Length3:40 (7-inch)
Songwriter(s)Fish, Mark Kelly, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosley
Producer(s)Chris Kimsey for Wonderknob Ltd
Marillion singles chronology
"Heart of Lothian"
Audio sample

"Lavender" is a song by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion. It was released as the second single from their 1985 UK number one concept album Misplaced Childhood. The follow-up to the UK number two hit "Kayleigh", the song was their second Top Five UK hit, entering the chart on 7 September 1985, reaching number five and staying on the chart for nine weeks.[1] None of the group's subsequent songs have reached the Top Five and "Lavender" remains their second highest-charting song. As with all Marillion albums and singles between 1982 and 1988, the cover art was created by Mark Wilkinson.

Inspiration and composition[edit]

The song features a number of verses that are reminiscent of the folk song "Lavender's Blue". The song forms part of the concept of the Misplaced Childhood album. Like "Kayleigh" it is a love song, but whereas "Kayleigh" was about the failure of an adult relationship, "Lavender" recalls the innocence of childhood:

The childhood theme also brought up the idea of utilising an old children's song and "Lavender" was an obvious contender as one of the original pop songs of its time.[2]

The opening lines "I was walking in the park dreaming of a spark, when I heard the sprinklers whisper, shimmer in the haze of summer lawns" deliberately recall the title track of Joni Mitchell's album The Hissing of Summer Lawns.

Unusually for a rock song from the mid-1980s, "Lavender" features a traditional grand piano rather than an electronic keyboard or electric piano. In the music video, keyboardist Mark Kelly is seen playing a Bechstein but the original sleeve notes of the Misplaced Childhood album state that a Bösendorfer was used for the recording.

On the album Misplaced Childhood, "Lavender" is a short track of barely two and a half minutes, forming part of a longer suite that continues into the likewise multi-portioned track "Bitter Suite", which repeats Lavender's musical motif at the end. In order to be suitable for a single release, the track therefore needed to be re-arranged and extended. As a result, the 7" version is significantly longer than the album version (3:40 as opposed to 2:27), whereas the 12" version – entitled "Lavender Blue" – is 4:18.


The song features on several Marillion compilation albums, including A Singles Collection (1992), The Best of Both Worlds (1997) and The Best of Marillion (2003). A CD replica of the single was also part of a collectors box-set released in July 2000 which contained Marillion's first twelve singles and was re-issued as a 3-CD set in 2009 (see The Singles '82–88').

The song was used in the first episode of BBC black comedy Nighty Night during a scene in which Julia Davis performs a dance for Angus Deayton.[citation needed]

The song was used in Season 1, Episode 6 of Showtime's On Becoming a God in Central Florida, "American Merchandise," directed by Julie Anne Robinson.

Track listing[edit]

7" Single[edit]

Side A[edit]

  1. "Lavender " — 3:40

Side B[edit]

  1. "Freaks" — 4:10

12" Single[edit]

Side A[edit]

  1. "Lavender Blue" — 4:20

Side B[edit]

  1. "Freaks" — 4:10
  2. "Lavender " — 3:40

Marillion - The Singles "82-88"[edit]

  1. "Lavender" – 3:40
  2. "Freaks" – 4:10
  3. "Lavender Blue" – 4:20




  1. ^ David Roberts British Hit Singles and Albums, Guinness World Records Limited
  2. ^ "Misplaced Childhood Sleeve Notes". Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  3. ^ "European Top 100 Singles". Eurotipsheet. Vol. 2, no. 41. 14 October 1985. p. 13.
  4. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Lavender". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Marillion: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  6. ^ " – Marillion – Lavender" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Music Week. 18 January 1986. p. 10.

External links[edit]