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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

For Valentine's Day: Kayleigh by Marillion

For Christmas 1985, my sister aked for the cassette of Marillion's Misplaced Childhood. This was years before any of us would have a CD player, but even back then record albums were so old-fashioned. I think my brother and I got it for her together, and once we heard it, we made copies of it for ourselves.

Marillion was - is - a band that falls into several categories: "Progressive Rock", "Art Rock", even "Pomp Rock." Watching their videos on YouTube I was a little shocked to see that they also fell into the category of "Hair Band" - for some reason I thought lead singer Fish was already balding back then. (Judging from his brushed-forward hairstyle, it seems likely that he actually was.)

Here's their most popular song, and one that really meant a lot to me back then as I was dealing with assorted heartbreaks. I guess it still does. Heck, I used to sing it to myself just a few years ago as Haley and I would walk along Main Street in Nanticoke in the early morning hours. It's called "Kayleigh."

But this isn't my favorite Marillion song. That would be the song in the second half of this video, starting at 3:53. It's part III of a song cycle from Misplaced Childhood called the "Bitter Suite", and it's apparently called "Blue Angel":

(While this is supposed to be a "Live" performance, the audio is directly from the album, and they just appear to be miming along to it.)

The sky was Bible black in Lyon when I met the Magdalene
She was paralyzed in a streetlight, she refused to give her name

And a ring of violet bruises, they were pinned upon her arm
Two hundred francs for sanctuary and she led me by the hand

to a room of dancing shadows where all the heartache disappears
And from glowing tongues of candles I heard her whisper in my ear,
'J'entend ton coeur',
'J'entend ton coeur',

I can hear your heart, I can hear your heart,
I can hear your heart.

...but but but, I also really like this song, which I believe directly follows "Kayleigh" on the album. Just as happy and upbeat as the others: "Lavender."

Misplaced Childhood is my first and last exposure to an album by Marillion. I've heard the occasional solo stuff by now former lead singer Fish (not to be confused with Phish, or with Fish), and I think I've even heard some stuff by Marillion from their post-Fish era. But I've never listened to Fugazi, or any other album by the band. Maybe someday.

Oh hell. That's not the end of the story. Or the end of the album. There's no video to this song, which ends the Misplaced Childhood album on an upbeat, redemptive note. It's a song about picking up and getting on:

For she's got to carry on with her life,
And you've got to carry on with yours

"Childhood's End", by Marillion.

(It kinda cuts out abruptly. Sorry about that.)

So there. Happy Valentine's Day.


Jennifer said...

I used to play "Kayleigh" on my radio show in college - right before "Broken Wings" from Mister Mister and "Take on Me" from A-Ha! Sometimes, I throw in "Life in a Northern Town."

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

It seems I know a lot of Marillion fans. Never got that into them myself.