Great Rock Albums of 1983: Marillion- Script For a Jester’s Tear
I had heard of Marillion in 1983 but didn’t actually hear them until their 1985, “Misplaced Childhood” album made a major breakthrough in the US. Even then, it would be another two years before I listened to their back catalog, which included this, their debut album, “Script for a Jester’s Tear.” I have to thank my first wife for giving me this opportunity as it was her albums that help me appreciate their early work. Actually, Marillion was the first concert we saw together as husband and wife but that story is better for another day.
One of my on going rants here on 80smetalman is that the progressive rock of the 1970s descended into the synth pop of the 1980s. I still believe this but somebody forgot to tell Marillion this was the case. “Script for a Jester’s Tear” proved that there was still some good progressive rock to be found in the 1980s. In fact, I will go as far as to say that legends from the decade before such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes, (I’ll be visiting an album of theirs in the near future) would be glad that Marillion carried on the torch of progressive rock far into a decade where it wasn’t as widely appreciated.
In the true spirit of progressive rock, the shortest track on the album is just a mere five minutes and twenty nine seconds, that track is “He Knows You Know.” It’s also why that song was released as a single. The next shortest track is over seven minutes long and the remaining ones are all more than eight. In each of those tracks, there is the great keyboard work of Mark Kelly in tandem with some impressive guitar playing from Steve Rothery. Those two elements are strongly supported by the rhythm section and the unmistakable voice of lead singer, Fish. They make all of those tracks ones where you just want to kick back and listen and just appreciate the musical efforts of the band. All good tracks but my personal favourite has to be “Garden Party,” most likely for the acoustic guitar followed by hard rock intro. One other point is that at the time, the track “Chelsea Monday” was criticised for having nonsense lyrics. If they do, who cares? The music, especially Rothery’s guitar solo more than compensates.
- Script for a Jester’s Tear
- He Knows You Know
- The Web
- Garden Party
- Chelsea Monday
- Forgotten Sons
Steve Rothery- guitar
Mark Kelly- keyboards
Pete Trewavas- bass
Mick Pointer- drums
I think what Marillion achieved in 1983 was to provide a common ground for trendies who were able to look beyond what synth pop was offering and metalheads like me who still appreciate a bit of melody. For those, Marillion’s debut album has it all. The paradox is that while “Script for a Jester’s Tear” was a huge success in the UK, it hardly made a dent in the US. Then again, I’ll be visiting another UK band who in the same year, had an album that went multi- platinum in the US but only sold about 17 copies in the UK.
Next post: Big Country- The Crossing
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