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Marillion Lavender album cover
3.77 | 67 ratings | 5 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lavender (3:40)
2. Track title (4:04)

Total Time 7:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Fish / vocals
- Mark Kelly / keyboards
- Ian Mosley / drums
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Pete Trewavas / basses

Releases information

7 Promo AUS: EMI 1578
ARG: EMI DIF 384 - B

Thanks to Mike_Zed for the addition
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MARILLION Lavender ratings distribution

(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MARILLION Lavender reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars I have the 12” picture disk version of this single, issued in 1985 by EMI. I had to have it imported back then, as the World Wide Web didn’t exist yet and even though we still had neighborhood record stores, stuff like this didn’t usually show up on the shelves. Only cost me $6 USD though (the price sticker is still on the vinyl sleeve it came in).

This isn’t really anything exceptional, although I love the picture. Marillion always had such exceptional cover art back then. The front side of the record features a version of “Lavender” from ‘Misplace Childhood’, but it is titled “Lavender Blue”. There’s a slightly different guitar track from Steve Rothery, and Fish’s vocal outro is missing. I’ve never heard quite the same version anywhere else that I know of.

The back side of the disk features a picture of the band and includes the single “Freaks” and the album version of “Lavender”.

That’s about it. Like I said, nothing special about this other than the version I have is an imported picture disk which is pretty cool-looking. Three stars I guess, although collector pieces like this are kind of hard to ‘rate’ solely on the strength of the music. Good luck finding one though – I’m not selling mine.


Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Lavender single was released after the successful one Kayleigh which peaked until number 2 in the UK chart, while Lavender was just no.5. Never mind, as long as the album Misplaced Childhood reached number 1 in the UK Chart. Both are love songs with Kayleigh as representing Fish relationship with his girl friend. Musically Lavender is not as great as Kayleigh because the chords and notes are pretty straightforward pop song as compared to Kayleigh. Put it this way, try yourself to sing Kayleigh and you will find it hard to emulate its melody especially when the verse says Do you remember? and followed with Chalhalk melting on the playground wall.... Yes, I believ you can sing it but I don't think you can create similar nuance as the original version. The best Kayleigh cover is the one played by DARIUS in live version with different arrangement.

But if you sing Lavender, I belive you can emulate what Fish is singing because there is nothing sepcific in the nuance of the song, it's like typical pop song. If I am asked to enjoy this song as presented here in this single, I am sure I tend to dislike it. But, as part of overall concept album that flows seamlessly from one song to another, Lavender provides great musical break before it enters to brilliant Heart of Lothian. For me personally, I was given a gift of this cover from a good friend I'an in the form of wall clock. It's a great gift.

For those who love Fish era Marillion, owning this single is a must. You can have the digital version in the Single Collection 82-88. Owning the vynyl is a great thing, I believe. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by patrickq
4 stars EMI 1578 was an Australian 7" 45 RPM single with the single version of "Lavender" (3:40) on the a-side, backed with "Freaks." The same two songs were released as a single in Europe, Canada, and the US. (The UK 12" maxi-single (EMI 12MARIL 4) had the extended "Lavender Blue" on the a-side, with "Freaks" and "Lavender" on the flip side.)

Back in 1985, this single would've been an essential purchase for Marillion fans, as the version of "Lavender" is very different from the album version on Misplaced Childhood, while "Freaks" was a non-LP flip side.

It's pretty amazing that these two songs - - which are among Marillion's best four or five - - were originally released on the same single.

I became familiar with both tunes from their inclusion on Marillion's live The Thieving Magpie, and I had no idea that "Freaks" wasn't an album cut. After all, why would such a great song be left off the album? Maybe, since Misplaced Childhood is a concept album, the song just didn't fit the concept. A few years later, that Thieving Magpie version of "Freaks" was released as a single in the UK, becoming a minor hit.

"Freaks" describes a scenario in which young Thatcher-era social outsiders discover they're not alone. It reminds me a bit of Devo's "Through Being Cool" ("If you live in a small town, you might meet a dozen or two young alien types who step out and dare to declare: We're through being cool!"), but the small-town alien types in the Devo song take action against the straights, making "Through Being Cool" a fantasy. The social standing of the freaks in the Marillion song never changes, as lead singer and lyricist Fish is still repeating he refrain "stop staring at me" as the song fades. It's interesting to note that Fish doesn't overplay his hand by arguing that the freaks are facing some existential threat. It would've been easy to make this an "us-versus-them" song, and I'm sure it would've worked just fine. But instead we have a substantially more nuanced lyric which still sounds authentic today.

And then there's "Lavender." It's based on a folk song known as "Lavender's Blue," "Diddle, Diddle," or "The Kind Country Lovers." According to the Traditional Ballad Index at California State University - Fresno, the song was in existence in England before 1685. Half of the chorus lyrics of the Marillion song are taken from the traditional text, to which contemporary verses are added. In fact, the first verse refers to the folk song itself: "I heard the children singing... it seemed to be a song for you / the one I wanted to write for you." The single version only includes the first verse, which is reprised, in truncated form, as a coda. The music, as far as I know, was written by the band.

"Lavender" is endearing without ever threatening to get sappy. It's also very accessible, although no special effort seems to have been made to make it radio-friendly.

The fact that "Lavender"/"Freaks" is pop music (albeit prog-laced) has no bearing on my rating. It does, however, impact what works I compare it to. It might not rise to the level of best pop singles ever ("Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever," "I Get Around"/"Don't Worry Baby," "When Doves Cry"/"17 Days"), but "Lavender"/"Freaks" is nonetheless easily among the top 1% of all singles, at least in my opinion. However, in terms of the Prog Archives rating scale, I'm comparing "Lavender"/"Freaks" not to other singles, but to albums like Close to the Edge and Dark Side of the Moon. In that respect, it's very difficult (though not impossible, I'd suppose) to award five stars to a single.

So: "Lavender"/"Freaks" is a five-star single, and a four-star "album" on the Prog Archives scale. An essential part of any neo-prog collection, and recommended to any prog-rock fan.

Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars In my review on "Misplaced Childhood" I have written:

"For example, the transition lines on the piano (Mark Kelly) between "Kayleigh" and "Lavender" (2:27, vote 8,5) by itself is much more inspired than entire records of some symphonic rock groups (I don't name them!). Lavender's progression with its epic melody reaches climax, and represents the highest point on the album. Too bad that Lavender ends after only two and a half minutes: they had to prolong it another minute, as they did with the single record!"

When I was a teen ager, "Lavender" was one of the song that more impressed me. The single version of "Lavender", three minutes and 40 seconds, touch my heart with its epic melody. Rating: 9. The song Lavender Blue, longer, is less beautiful (rating 8).

The other song present on the single, "Freaks" is not a great song: good rhythm and nothing else. Rating 7+.

I would like to give five stars to this single but only Lavender is a great song. So four stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Lavender" is a single release by UK progressive rock act Marillion. The single was released through EMI Records in August 1985 and was the second single released to promote the bandīs third full-length studio album "Misplaced Childhood" from June 1985. As with the preceding single release "Kayleigh" from May 1985, "Lavender" was a hugely successful single release, reaching the top 5 on the UK singles chart.

"Lavender" is featured as the third track on "Misplaced Childhood" (1985), but the single version is considerably longer than the 2:27 minutes long album version. The single version is extended significantly and re-arranged, featuring among other things a guitar solo, which isnīt present on the album version, and an alternate ending to the track. The B-side is the non-album track "Freaks". A great 80s Marillion track, which would also be featured on the 1988 "B'Sides Themselves" compilation album.

The lyrics for "Lavender" is about longing for the sweet innocense of childhood love (and itīs inspired by the folk song "Lavender's Blue" and share several lyric lines with that song), while the lyrics for "Freaks" are about feeling like you are different, but also that youīre not alone in being different. Both songs are like most of lead vocalist/lyricist Fishīs lyrics inspired by real life events and his relations and interactions with other people. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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