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Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?
—Marillion, "Separated Out", from Anoraknophobia (2001)
Marillion are a Progressive Rock group formed in 1979 in Aylesbury, England. They rose to prominence in the early 80's as one of the few remaining Progressive Rock acts, and remain active and prolific to this day.
Their career falls into two distinct periods, separated by the departure of original front man Fish in 1988 and his subsequent replacement with Steve Hogarth. Both periods have a dedicated following, leading to a severe case of Broken Base.
In recent years, Marillion have gained some notability for their innovative use of the internet as a means of communicating with the fan base and selling records. They have been independent from any record company since 2001, when they financed the release of their album Anoraknophobia entirely with internet pre-orders.
- Steve Hogarth (Lead Vocals and Keyboards)
- Pete Trewavas (Bass, Acoustic Guitar and Backing Vocals)
- Steve Rothery (Guitars)
- Mark Kelly (Keyboards, Samples and Backing Vocals)
- Ian Mosley (Drums and Percussion)
Notable former members include:
- Derek "Fish" Dick (Lead Vocals)
- Mick Pointer (Drums)
The Marillion studio discography:
- Script For A Jester's Tear 1983
- Fugazi 1984
- Misplaced Childhood 1985
- Clutching At Straws 1987
- Seasons End 1989
- Holidays in Eden 1991
- Brave 1994
- Afraid of Sunlight 1995
- This Strange Engine 1997
- Radiation 1998
- marillion.com 1999
- Anoraknophobia 2001
- Marbles 2004 (2-Disc release)
- Somewhere Else 2007
- Happiness Is The Road 2008 (2-Disc release)
- Less Is More 2009
Marillion contains examples of:
- Audience Participation Song: "Three Minute Boy", "Happiness is the Road"
- Bald of Awesome: Mark Kelly
- The Band Minus the Face: Either played straight or averted, depending on who you ask. Both Fish- and Hogarth-era Marillion have a dedicated following, and there seems to be little overlap. Mentioning either singer on a progressive rock forum is instant Flame Bait.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Fish. An amiable Scot and by virtually all accounts a Gentle Giant, but the backstory of the song "Incubus" reveals just how vindictive he can be. According to one account given by him at a concert, he met an ex at a pub six months after she had dumped him (the aftermath of said dumping detailed in an earlier song, "The Web") along with the ex's new boyfriend. After calmly sitting through 10-15 minutes of snide remarks from said ex, her boyfriend retreats to the toilet, and Fish produces a particularly racy Polaroid photo from their past. He hides it once her new boyfriend comes back, but she realises that if she doesn't cease the veiled hostilities, said Polaroid might start making the rounds... Hoo boy.
- The Big Guy: Steve Rothery
- Black Sheep Hit: "Kayleigh", to the point of One-Hit Wonder-syndrome.
- Blessed with Suck: Thanks to "Kayleigh", no matter how hard they try to reinvent themselves, the Mainstream Media will always view them as a One-Hit Wonder from The Eighties.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Fish. He's a big guy in every way.
- BSOD Song: "The Invisible Man", complete with And I Must Scream imagery.
- Call Back: Late Hogarth-era track "If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill" contains a snippet of Fish' vocal from "Chelsea Monday".
- Careful with That Axe: Steve lets out an epic scream on "Cathedral Wall".
Did anyone see my last marble? I swear that I had it before...
- Concept Album: Misplaced Childhood, Brave, Happiness is the Road
- Also Afraid of Sunlight in part.
- Cool Old Guy: Ian Mosley
- Creator Breakdown: Hogarth seems to suffer these on a regular basis, but the divorce that inspired half the songs on Somewhere Else stands out. A bit of a subversion as the album got a lackluster response. Fish had his share of these as well; for example, Misplaced Childhood grew out of a difficult breakup he went through, while a number of the songs on Clutching at Straws were directly inspired by his alcoholism.
- The Eighties: Averted for the most part. Marillion were just about the only decent Progressive Rock group at a time in which it was considered a Dead Horse Genre (far more than it is now). They weren't immune to Eighties Hair though, and "Kayleigh" is a fairly typical '80s Synth Pop song despite being part of a much larger Concept Album (which is probably why it was by far their biggest hit and the media now think of them as One Hit Wonders).
- Epic Rocking: "Grendel", "This Strange Engine", "Interior Lulu", "Ocean Cloud", "The Invisible Man", "Neverland", "If My Heart Were a Ball It Would Roll Uphill"
- Epic Song: Many, but "The Space" in particular is this trope to a tee.
- Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Subverted in "Easter", the second verse of which contains a very subdued and gentle bagpipe in the background. You won't even hear it if you don't pay attention.
- "Brave", the song, also has a pretty subdued bagpipe bit.
- Old days' live favorite "Margaret" on the other hand plays the trope absolutely straight.
- Fading Into the Next Song: Used for some of the transitions on some of their Concept Albums.
- Fake-Out Opening: "Between You And Me" is the biggest example, as well as a few smaller ones.
- Genre Shift: A few cases, most notably "House", a Massive Attack inspired chillout dub groove. Your Mileage May Vary whether it works...
- Hatedom: A disturbing number of people refuses to acknowledge Marillion's existence after Fish' departure. Worth noting that Fish himself has gone on record as approving of Hogarth's work with the band.
- Heavy Mithril: "Grendel"
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: "The Man From The Planet Marzipan"
- The Jester: A prominent motif throughout the artwork of the early albums, as well as one of Fish' monikers. In the early years, fans would go to concerts dressed up as jesters and wearing face paint.
- Large Ham: Fish
- Last-Note Nightmare: "King"
- Long Title: "If My Heart Were A Ball, It Would Roll Uphill"
- Lyrical Dissonance: Most of their poppy-sounding songs have this. Most noticeable example: "Cannibal Surf Babe," a cheery pop song (in a vaguely Beach Boys style) about... well, guess.
- Madness Mantra: "Problems,problems,problems,problems...". The word is repeated quite a lot in "He Knows, You Know".
- Non-Appearing Title: Many examples, including "Incubus", "Bitter Suite", "King", "Estonia" and "A Few Words For The Dead".
- One for Sorrow, Two For Joy: Magpies are a recurring motif throughout the artwork of the early albums.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. Both the lead singer and the guitarist are named Steve.
- The Pete Best: Mick Pointer, who was the drummer on the first album and went on to found another Progressive Rock group: Arena.
- Precision F-Strike: "Garden Party" had one, once upon a time.
- Progressive Rock
- Purple Prose: Many early Fish lyrics. Take a look at this little gem:
Midnight suns bid moors farewell, retreats from charging dusk
- Putting the Band Back Together: In the Aylesbury music event "Hobble on the Cobbles", Fish headlined. And at the end of the set, he called some old friends onto the stage... Made more awesome because it took place in Aylesbury Market Square, and they played "Market Square Heroes". The crowd went absolutely bananas.
- Rearrange the Song: The point of Less is More: acoustic rearrangements of older songs. It's Better Than It Sounds.
- The Red Stapler: The name "Kayleigh" more or less did not exist until the song was released, but has become a popular girls name in the years since the song was released.
- Rockstar Song: More like Rockstar Album: Misplaced Childhood.
- Among others. Specifically, Hogarth alludes to this lifestyle in songs like "80 days" and "Somewhere Else".
- Signature Song: Debatable, but either of the following: Script For A Jester's Tear, Kayleigh, Easter or Neverland.
- Shout-Out: "Neverland" contains many references to the Peter Pan novel.
Wendy, darling, in the kitchen with your dreams
- And the band's name was originally Silmarillion, shortened to avoid legal conflicts.
- The Smart Guy: Mark Kelly. Most innovative things Marillion does are his idea, notably the pre-order model and the fan-made music video.
- Survival Mantra: "It's Not Your Fault", "Happiness is the Road"
- Title-Only Chorus: This has become a bit of a habit of theirs recently: "See It Like A Baby", "Thank You Whoever You Are", "A State of Mind", "Happiness is the Road", "Whatever is Wrong With You", "Real Tears For Sale", "It's Not Your Fault" among others.
- Unfortunate Names: Fish' real name is Derek William Dick. No wonder he used a stage name.
- Wham! Line:
- "Chelsea Monday": "Hello John, did you see the Standard about four hours ago? Fished a young chick out of the Old Father..."
- "Splintering Heart": "...but not as much as this!"
- "Out of this World": "Complete accident on the radar"
- "Three Minute Boy": "The flash gun went off without warning"
- "A Few Words for the Dead": "Or you could love"
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Bits of Brave and, especially, Marbles. Drilling Holes stands out. Justified as it's a Beatles homage.
- The Fish albums were obviously made on booze.
- Word of God says that the lyrics to Misplaced Childhood was largely written on acid.
- The Fish albums were obviously made on booze.