Misplaced Childhood

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Misplaced Childhood
Marillion misplacedchildhood.jpg
Studio album by Marillion
Released 17 June 1985[1]
Recorded March – May 1985
Studio Hansa Ton Studios
(Berlin, Germany)
Length 41:17
Label EMI (UK)
Capitol (US)
Producer Chris Kimsey
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 by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in 1985.

Recorded during the spring of 1985 at Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin and produced by Chris Kimsey, who had previously worked with the Rolling Stones, Misplaced Childhood has been the group's most successful album to date, peaking immediately at number one in the UK charts, spending a total of 41 weeks on the chart,[3] and ultimately gaining the Platinum status.[4] It features Marillion's two most successful singles, the guitar-led rock ballad "Kayleigh", which reached number two in the UK,[5] and piano-led "Lavender" which peaked at number five.[6]

The album's positive reception included its selection as one of the best of 1985 by rock publications Sounds and Kerrang!. It was later named one of the best concept albums of all time by Classic Rock. According to John Franck from AllMusic, the album was the band's "most accomplished" and "streamlined" work to date,[7] while Ultimate Classic Rock has called it "the cornerstone of the entire 'neo-prog' movement".[2]


Misplaced Childhood was Marillion's first full concept album consisting of two continuous pieces of music on the two sides of the vinyl record. In live performances preceding the album Fish had originally claimed as a teaser that the next album would consist of only two tracks, "Side 1" and "Side 2". 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.

"I was in 'Padres Bay' when suddenly I felt a child standing behind me on the stairs. I knew he was dressed as a soldier and vanished as soon as he entered the corner or my eye. Perhaps it was my muse; perhaps it was the drug. It was enough to propel me into reaming off a large scrawl of prose."


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.

Several of the songs and titles contain notable autobiographical references, for example, "Kayleigh" references breakdown of relationships as a whole but is centered around a Fish's past girlfriend named Kay Lee. The name Kayleigh was thought of by Fish to slightly obscure the original name due to the song being too personal.[9] Another example is "Heart of Lothian" ("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.

The theme of childhood is developed in "Lavender" which is partly based on the traditional folk song "Lavender Blue".[9] Like "Kayleigh" it is a love song, but whereas "Kayleigh" was about the failure of an adult relationship, "Lavender" recalls the innocence of childhood.

A 30-second sample of "Lavender" from Misplaced Childhood

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Album references[edit]

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

Packaging and artwork[edit]

Like Script for a Jester's Tear and Fugazi, the original vinyl edition[nb 1] of Misplaced Childhood was released in a gatefold sleeve. The album design was created by Mark Wilkinson who was commissioned to the role on all Marillion albums and 12" singles of the Fish-era.

The front cover features a soldier drummer portrayed by Robert Mead, a then ten-year-old boy who lived next door to Wilkinson.[10] Mead also appeared on the artwork of the album's three hit singles, "Kayleigh", "Lavender", and "Heart of Lothian", and can be seen in the music video for "Kayleigh". The Jester from the two previous studio albums is imagined escaping through the window on the back cover.


Misplaced Childhood was released in the United Kingdom on 17 June 1985 by EMI Records[1] on LP[nb 1], 12" picture disc and cassette[10] and went on to be the band's biggest selling album. It topped the UK Albums Chart, becoming the first and the only Marillion album to do so. It stayed on the charts for 41 weeks, the longest chart residency of any of the band's albums.[11] Misplaced Childhood was certified Platinum by the BPI for sales in excess of 300.000 copies on 26 November 1985 just 5 months after the release.[4] It was the 20th best selling album in the United Kingdom for 1985.

The album was also highly successful across mainland Europe reaching number 3 in Germany, number 6 in Switzerland and the Netherlands, the country where Marillion have one of their largest fanbases, number 10 in Norway. In the United States Misplaced Childhood came out on the Capitol Records label and reached number 47 on the Billboard 200 chart, the highest position the band has ever achieved.[12]

Three singles, "Kayleigh", "Lavender", and "Heart of Lothian" were released, with the first preceding the album. "Kayleigh" peaked at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart[5] turning out to be the biggest hit for Marillion and prompting the success of Misplaced Childhood. The two further singles were less successful but still ended up at high positions as "Lavender" reached number 5[6] and "Heart of Lothian" peaked at number 29.[13]

Remastering and reissues[edit]

As part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI Records re-released Misplaced Childhood on 17 October 1998 with 24-bit digital remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus tracks[nb 2].[1] The remastered version was also made available without the bonus disc in 2000[nb 3] and again in 2005 as a Japanese mini-LP replica[nb 4].

A new 180g heavy weight vinyl pressing identical to the original 1985 edition[nb 5] was released in 2013.[10]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
Music Street Journal (very favourable)[14]

John Franck of AllMusic gives the album a 4.5 star rating. He has retrospectively said that Misplaced Childhood 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".[7]


The album topped the readers' poll for 1985 best albums in Sounds magazine[15] and came sixth in the Albums of the Year 1985 chart of Kerrang! magazine.[16] Misplaced Childhood took the fourth position in Classic Rock magazine's list of the 30 greatest concept albums of all time.[17] In the special edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock of Q Classic magazine it was ranked number 17 in its chart of 40 Cosmic Rock Albums.[18] It was included in MusicRadar's "30 most influential prog drumming albums".[19]


Misplaced Childhood was the inspiration for comedian Will Smith's Edinburgh Festival Fringe show of the same name in 2005, which also led to a successful tour in 2006.[20]

In April 2015, it was announced that Fish would be performing a 30th anniversary tour of Misplaced Childhood, playing the album in full for the very last time.[21]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Fish; all music composed by Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Pseudo Silk Kimono"   2:15
2. "Kayleigh"   4:04
3. "Lavender"   2:28
4. "Bitter Suite"
  • a. "Brief Encounter"
  • b. "Lost Weekend"
  • c. "Blue Angel"
  • d. "Misplaced Rendezvous"
  • e. "Windswept Thumb"  
5. "Heart of Lothian"
  • a. "Wide Boy"
  • b. "Curtain Call"  
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)"   2:13
7. "Lords of the Backstage"   1:53
8. "Blind Curve"
  • a. "Vocal Under a Bloodlight"
  • b. "Passing Strangers"
  • c. "Mylo"
  • d. "Perimeter Walk"
  • e. "Threshold"  
9. "Childhoods End?"   4:33
10. "White Feather"   2:24
Total length:
  • Tracks 6–17 on the 1998 remastered edition bonus disc are Misplaced Childhood album demos, recorded in February 1985 and previously unreleased.


Technical personnel
1998 remastered edition
  • Peter Mew – digital remastering at Abbey Road, July – August 1998
  • Bill Smith Studio – artwork design


Weekly charts
Chart (1985) Peak
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[22] 6
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[23] 3
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[24] 10
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 15
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 6
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 1
US Billboard 200[12] 47
Year-end charts
Chart (1985) Peak
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[28] 21
UK Albums (OCC)[29] 20


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Germany (BVMI)[30] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b EMI: EJ 2403401, MRL 2
  2. ^ EMI: 7243 4 97034 2 1
  3. ^ EMI: 7243 5 27116 2 8
  4. ^ Toshiba-EMI: TOCP-67786
  5. ^ EMI: 5099963535518, VEJ 2403401
  1. ^ a b c "Misplaced Childhood". Fish-TheCompany.Com: Official Site. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Reed, Ryan (17 June 2015). "30 Years Ago: Marillion Release 'Misplaced Childhood'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "British album certifications – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". British Phonographic Industry. 
  5. ^ a b "Marillion – Kayleigh". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Marillion - Lavender". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Franck, John. Marillion: "Misplaced Childhood" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  8. ^ Fish (1998). Misplaced Childhood (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 97034 2 1). p. 9. 
  9. ^ a b Fish (1998). Misplaced Childhood (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 97034 2 1). pp. 8–12. 
  10. ^ a b c "Misplaced Childhood". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Marillion". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Marillion: "Misplaced Childhood" > Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Marillion – Heart of Lothian". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Music Street Journal
  15. ^ "Readers' Poll 1985". Sounds. UK (2): 19. 1986-01-11. 
  16. ^ "Kerrang! Magazine Best Albums of 1985". Best Ever Albums. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Classic Rock's 30 greatest concept albums". Steve Parker Micro Site. March 2003. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". Q Classic (Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock ultimate collectors ed.). UK. 1 (7). July 2005. 
  19. ^ West, David (29 September 2014). "The 30 most influential prog drumming albums". MusicRadar. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  20. ^ Smith, Will (2006). Interview: Will Smith. Interview with Jason Ritchie. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "Fish 30th anniversary tour of Misplaced Childhood". Music-News.com. 12 April 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  26. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  28. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1985". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "UK Top 100 Selling Albums 1985". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Marillion; 'Misplaced Childhood')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 April 2015.  Enter Misplaced Childhood in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Boys and Girls by Bryan Ferry
UK Albums Chart number one album
29 June – 5 July 1985
Succeeded by
Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen