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)
Genre Neo-progressive rock
Length 41:17
Label EMI
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.

The album was 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 is the group's most commercially successful album to date, peaking immediately at number one in the UK charts and spending a total of 41 weeks on the chart.[2] It ultimately gained the Platinum status.[3] It features Marillion's two most successful singles, the guitar-led rock ballad "Kayleigh", which reached number two in the UK,[4] and piano-led "Lavender", which peaked at number five.[5]

Misplaced Childhood was listed as the sixth best album of 1985 by Kerrang! and chosen as the fourth greatest concept album of all time by Classic Rock in 2003.


"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."

— Fish[6]

Misplaced Childhood was Marillion's first full concept album consisting of two continuous pieces of music on the two sides of the vinyl record. 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.[7] 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".[7] Like "Kayleigh" it is a love song, but whereas "Kayleigh" was about the failure of an adult relationship, "Lavender" recalls the innocence of childhood.

Packaging and cover art[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 artwork 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.[8] 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[8] 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.[9] 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.[3] 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.[10]

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[4] 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[5] and "Heart of Lothian" peaked at number 29.[11]

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.[8]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[12]

"It was not only a breakthrough album for the band but also for me as an artist because I was finally discovering my own individual style as a lyricist and singer."

— Fish on album's success[13]

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".[12] Ryan Reed of Ultimate Classic Rock called the record "the cornerstone of the entire 'neo-prog' movement".[13]


Kerrang! listed the album the sixth best LP of 1985.[14] Classic Rock placed Misplaced Childhood fourth on its list of "Rock's 30 Greatest Concept Albums" in 2003,[15] and named it one of the top 10 essential progressive rock releases of 1980s in 2016.[16] In the special edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock of Q Classic the album was ranked number 17 in "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".[17]


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.[18] 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.[19]


BBC Television Theatre where Marillion first performed "Kayleigh" marking the beginning of Misplaced Childhood tour.

Marillion supported Misplaced Childhood with the one-year tour which began before the album was released. The band appeared on the Wogan chat show on 20 May 1985 and on Top of the Pops three days later, in both cases performing "Kayleigh". The tour consisted of European, Japanese and North American legs. In live performances preceding the album Fish claimed as a teaser that the next LP would consist of only two tracks, "Side 1" and "Side 2". After the album's release Fish announced, "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.[20]

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


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


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Germany (BVMI)[29] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[3] 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. ^ "Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "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
  4. ^ a b "Marillion – Kayleigh". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Marillion - Lavender". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Fish (1998). Misplaced Childhood (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 97034 2 1). p. 9. 
  7. ^ a b Fish (1998). Misplaced Childhood (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 97034 2 1). pp. 8–12. 
  8. ^ a b c "Misplaced Childhood". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Marillion". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Top Pop Albums". Billboard. Vol. 97 no. 45. New York. 9 November 1985. p. 82. 
  11. ^ "Marillion – Heart of Lothian". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Franck, John. Marillion: "Misplaced Childhood" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b Reed, Ryan (17 June 2015). "How Marillion Helped Resurrect Prog on 'Misplaced Childhood'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "Albums of '85: The Kerrang! Kritiks List Their Fave LPs of the Year". Kerrang!. 1986. 
  15. ^ "Rock's 30 Greatest Concept Albums". Classic Rock. No. 51. March 2003. 
  16. ^ Shilton, Nick (August 2016). "The Top 10 Essential 80s Prog Albums". Classic Rock. TeamRock. 
  17. ^ "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". Q Classic. Vol. 1 no. 7 (Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock ultimate collectors ed.). July 2005. 
  18. ^ Smith, Will (2006). Interview: Will Smith. Interview with Jason Ritchie. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "Fish 30th Anniversary Tour of Misplaced Childhood". Music-News.com. 12 April 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  20. ^ "Marillion Setlists - 1985". Marillion Setlists Site 1980-1988. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Marillion – Misplaced Childhood". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  26. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1985". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "UK Top 100 Selling Albums 1985". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Marillion; 'Misplaced Childhood')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 

External links[edit]