Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marillion B'Sides Themselves album cover
3.52 | 237 ratings | 28 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Boxset/Compilation, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Grendel (single) (17:14)
2. Charting The Single (single) (4:46)
3. Market Square Heroes (re-recorded) (3:56)
4. Three Boats Down From The Candy (re-recorded) (3:59)
5. Cinderella Search (edited) (4:19)
6. Lady Nina (edited) (3:41)
7. Freaks (single) (4:02)
8. Tux on (single) (5:10)
9. Margaret (live) (12:17)

Total Time: 59:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Fish / vocals
- Mark Kelly / keyboards
- Ian Mosley / drums
- Mick Pointer / drums, percussion (1, 2, 9)
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Pete Trewavas / basses

Releases information

EMI #EMM 1295

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MARILLION B'Sides Themselves Music

MARILLION B'Sides Themselves ratings distribution

(237 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MARILLION B'Sides Themselves reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars I got this one because of all the sigles that were non-album were gathered in here. So much had been said for so many years about Grendel as a masterpiece and was cruelly deceived when I found this poorman's Supper by You-know-who. Maybe if I had heard this at the times of Script ,I would've thought differently. The rest were average stuff I was happy to have on wax but no more.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Marillion made some tracks which did not appear on regular albums, so they made a full album with them: "B-sides themselves". There are old tracks, like Grendel and Margaret. Grendel has an almost exact interpretation of a popular Genesis' "Supper's ready" part; after that part comes a WONDERFUL echoed, melodic and sustained guitar solo, one of my favorites from Steve Rothery. Grendel is one of the most progressive track from Marillion: 17 minutes of delightful progressive elements, reminding IQ and Genesis: there is even a poignant church organ part. "Tux on" really sounds modern, ambient, floating, and it has an OUTSTANDING emotional, loud & sustained guitar solo at the end: it definitely has the "Clutching at straws" sonority. "Lady Nina" is very catchy and addictive, still having an almost perfect loud & sustained guitar solo: however, the lush version on "Brief encounter" is more flashy and bombastic. "Cinderella search" has an excellent guitar solo too: this catchy, progressive & melodic track could easily have been put on the "Script's from a Jester's tear" album. "Freaks" has more the "Misplaced childhood" sonority, but it is less good than the weakest part on "Misplaced childhood". The other tracks are a bit less good: the live sound of "Margaret" is bland, although the track is interesting: "Margaret" has nothing to do with the usual style of Marillion: it more sounds like a jam session, with continuous drums slightly reminding some very early IQ stuff, especially "For Christ's sake". The repetitive "Charting the singles" has a bit the Fugazi sound, full of loud ambient organ. The catchy "Marquet square heroes" has the "Script's from a jester's tear" sound. "Three boats on a candy" has some elements from the Web track on the "Script from a jester's tear" album.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Credit where it's (not) due

With many collections of B sides, outtakes, non-album singles, live and alternative versions, etc., you can often be distracted by the sound of the barrel being scraped. With this collection from Marillion however there is good reason to gather these tracks together to form an album. Indeed, the title rather belittles what is on offer here, as it may imply a collection of sub-standard tracks.

While that connotation may indeed be applicable to some of the content, others such as the three tracks from the "Market Square heroes" EP would be worthy of inclusion on any Fish era album. The opening track, "Grendel", has been the subject of repeated debate in the forum of this site, due to the strong similarities on one part of it, with the "Apocalypse in 9/8" section of "Supper's ready" by Genesis. It's a pity really, as it's a distraction from what is in fact an excellent piece of music, which had remained largely hidden until this collection was released.

Inevitably, being a collection of on the whole pretty good B sides, there is a lack of cohesion and continuity to the album. This is especially apparent with the live "Margaret" which ends the album. While this may well be an enjoyable climax to a live concert, it is a rather tedious indulgence when taken out of context. It is interesting too that the song-writing credits for this piece, which consists largely of a traditional Scottish song, are claimed by the band.

A worthwhile collection of rare tracks, which offers a cost effective way of obtaining them without breaking the bank.

Review by chessman
4 stars Personally, I rate this one of their best albums! Yes, I know it is all B sides and extras, but the strength of the material is such that this could have been a stand alone album all by itself. I make no apologies for saying 'Grendel' is my favourite Marillion track. Yes, I know it smacks of plagiarism, and most critics knock it mercilessly for the rather large Genesis influence on display here, but, for me, that only enhances its qualities. Genesis were, and still are, my favourite band, and this, which could have been a follow up to 'Supper's Ready' is better than anything Phil's band were doing at the time. If Genesis had never existed, this would be regarded as a classic of prog rock. It has everything, a rivetting story line and vocal performance, superb keyboards, guitar work that surfaces to great effect at the right time, varied movements and an excellent melody. I also have the remastered two disc version of 'Script' which contains a slightly different, and longer version of 'Grendel'. That too is good, but this definitive version is better, especially the wonderfully atmospheric guitar ending. Also on here are such gems as 'Charting The Single' a B side which is, although simplistic and lightweight, again for me, memorable. Very catchy. 'Cinderella Search' is another excellent piece, as is 'Three Boats Down From The Candy'. 'Lady Nina' is another wonderful piece, with a superbly melodic solo from Mr Rothery in the middle of it. 'Tux On' is more restrained, but builds menacingly. Ironically, the hit single, 'Market Square Heroes' whilst being adequate, is one of the weaker pieces here, as is 'Freaks' and the live 'Margaret', ending the disc. Nevertheless, none of the material is really weak, and it shows the world what the band lost when Fish left. For me, only 'Script' and 'Clutching At Straws' are better albums. An essential 'bonus' disc, that should be treated as a serious album.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For those who love rare collections of those songs that were put at B-side of LP single, would also love this release as well. This CD features only early Marillion tracks (Fish era). The opening track "Grendel" is truly an excellent track with an early prog style. The track is heavily influenced and inspired by early Genesis, especially "Super's Ready" from Foxtrot album. It's not the same but Grendel is sharing similar vein with Genesis. "Charting The Single" is basically a pop outfit from the band followed with hard driving "market Square Heroes" from the band's debut EP. "Three Boats Down From the Candy" is unfortunately performed not in full-fledge version as per debut EP. I'd prefer the debut EP's version because it covers the song in full. I hate the version in this CD because it fades out intentionally. This song is much better in original version as the ending part is wonderful. "I remember you ." followed with simple and nice lead guitar (original version).

"Cinderella Search" was originally featured as B side of "Assassing" single. Another interesting track is "Tux On" and the concluding track "Margaret" is really good. I like the part where Fish introduced the members of the band. Great live record!

Overall, I thing this CD deserves 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's really up to you whether or not to buy this CD. But, if you love early Marillion, you must have it. Keep on proggin' ..!! Progressively yours, GW.

Review by Tristan Mulders
3 stars Marillion - B-Sides themselves

Between the departure of Fish and the first studio effort with Steve Hogarth Marillion released two compilations of the Fish years: "La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie)" and "B'sides themselves".

The name of this compilation says it all: a collection of b-sides, taken from the various singles that Marillion released in the 80s up to and including the departure of Fish. It's quite noticeable why these songs were discarded to b-side status, most of it is simply not good enough compared to most of the songs on the four Fish-era studio albums. Though this does not apply to all the songs on this compilation. Opening epic Grendel is widely regarded as one of the best songs from the Fish-era. This seventeen minutes lasting suite of typical symphonic rock music is clearly one of the best b-sides I ever encountered. I can also understand why it has been used as a b-side instead of an album track for the "Script for a Jester's Tear" album. Whereas most lyrics on that album are personal to Fish, the lyrics for Grendel are based upon an old poem and are fantasy. I guess the combination of reality and fantasy was not something that could be done.

Another good song is Marillion's debut single Market Square Heroes. Although the song has hardly any relation with prog, it is very well performed. This collection was as far as I know the first time that people could get their hands on the Grendel and Market Square Heroes tracks if they'd missed out on the debut single.

Margaret is a live improvisation with the band playing in typical melodic prog style. Listening to this song I can easily imagine why people enjoyed going to see the band perform live in those days. The band seem to be in top-notch state and the mood is excellent.

The other songs are all typical b-sides. They are not bad, but they are no instant classics.

Review by Matti
3 stars For a Marillion fan this album is nearly a must (unless you are a single collector), even if it was only for getting 'Grendel', the most fantastic (at least in the literary meaning fantastic!) prog piece Marillion ever did, a multi-part epic ā la 'Supper's Ready', and I think it owes a lot to VDGG too. As a literature snob I have to point out that it's inspired by John Gardner's novel of the same name, which is a rework - from the monster's point of view - of the old epig Beowulf.

'Charting the Single' is a typical B-side song, monotonously based on a rhythm phrase; one could think it's boring as hell but I kinda like it. Lyrics are interesting and humorous (which is "not so common market" about Fish). 'Market Square Heroes' and 'Three Boats Down from the Candy' were re-recorded in '84. They could have done it better. The latter fades too soon just when it has reached its magnificent peak with Rothery's delicious guitar solo. A bit obscure lyrics are probably dealing with a personal memory of Fish; the Candy is a boat-name (I first imagined it's a river...).

The 2nd side of the LP is more uneven. I used to like 'Cinderella Search' in their live album but here it sounds quite forced and the vocalsZ esZpecially sZound badly recorded. A pity. 'Lady Nina' and 'Freaks' are quite nice, light, poppy flipside songs - both unthinkable in a main album. 'Tux On' is the most interesting track here after 'Grendel'. It has a delicate dark mood (hi-hat on the fore) and a superb guitar solo.

The album closes with a dreadfully overlong live jamming of a Scottish traditional song 'Margaret' or whatever its original name is. Well, it's very nice at first, you can sense the high atmosphere of the ending of a gig, but the last few minutes add nothing and makes one yawn. (Also that one has Michael "E.T." Pointer on drums, as Fish introduces.)

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This compilation highlights sufficiently how great was Marillion's material in their Fish-era (my preferred one). Can you imagine that all songs featured here (except one) are great ones ?

"Grendel" is IMO their best song ever written and one of the strongest epic that prog rock has delivered. I do not want to enter into the intellectual debate to reject this song because it is too much in the vein of one of the greatest epic we all love. I would say that I feel sorry for the guys who think that way.

I just love "Grendel" an awful lot (but I have said this many times sufficiently already for you to know it). It backed their first EP, which also featured "Market Square" and "Three Boats Down From The Candy".

The only song that does not fit with the title is "Market Square Heroes" which was their first single (A side). It was backed with "Charting the Single" in October 82. So, the first four songs form this album really belongs to the early Marillion days.

"Margaret" was backing "Garden Party" and release in June 83. It is the only weak number of the whole. This traditional theme has been revisited by Marillion. The intro miming Hendrix is really out of purpose and poorly done (sorry Steve). The mood is strongly hard-rock here.

Lyrics are rather explicit concerning illegal substances : "You'll take the acid an' I'll take the dope, an' I'll be stoned before you" ! This song is recorded live and seems to be the last song of a concert during which Fish presents the whole band. After the useless intro, each one will get his little solo to highlight his skills. Of course the audience participate jovially, since it was recorded in Edinburgh.

I strongly believe that Marillion had produced far much better B-sides than this one ."Heart Of Lothian", as well as a live version of either "Chelsea Monday" or "White Russian" for example could have beneficially have replaced our dear "Margret".

We'll jump a bit in time with "Cinderella Search" which backed "Assassing" in April 84. After "Grendel", it is the most complex song of this album. Very subtle vocals from Fish. One of my fave here (even if this version has been edited).

"Lady Nina" backed "Kaleigh" and was released in May 85. "Freaks" also comes from the "Misplaced" sessions and backed "Lavender" (August 85).

The last one in chronological order is "Tux On". B-side for "Sugar Mice".

Again, all these songs are very good. Most are on the commercial side of the band of course. At the time of release, I guess it was really of great value. Today, most of these songs have been added as bonus tracks on the double CD remastered edition of the four albums from the Fish era so that this compilation is rather obsolete nowadays. Nevertheless, a very good album indeed which sells for very cheap. Three stars.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
3 stars B'Sides Themselves is only of interest because of the 17+ minute Grendel. Grendel is an exceptionally well done epic and probably the best composition released by Fish-era Marillion. It hearkens back to the early 1970's and shows some strong Genesis influences. But I must warn listeners that one section of this song is an almost note-for-note ripoff of Apocalypse in 9/8 from Genesis' Supper's Ready. Whether it was a ripoff or just a tribute to Genesis, I can't be certain. If this is a problem for you, then I'd recommend avoiding this album. Otherwise, it's the main reason to obtain this.

The rest of the album is clearly for collectors and completionists as it consists chiefly of B-sides from singles and one live track. None of this is really that good and probably why none of it ever made it onto a Marillion studio album. Overall, four stars for Grendel, two stars for the rest. Three stars seems appropriate.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "B'Sides Themselves" is a compilation album by UK progressive rock act Marillion. The compilation was released through EMI Records in January 1988. "B'Sides Themselves" features all single B-side tracks released by the band up until then. "Market Square Heroes" is originally a single A-side, but itīs included here as it is also featured as a B-side to the 1984 "Punch and Judy" single (in a re-recorded version, which is the version included on "B'Sides Themselves"). "Three Boats Down From The Candy" was also originally included on the "Market Square Heroes" (1982) single, but itīs included here in the re-recorded version which appears on the "Punch and Judy" (1984) single.

"B'Sides Themselves" opens with the 17:14 minutes long "Grendel", which is the bandīs grand epic progressive rock track, but itīs also an early composition, which means itīs not quite as sophisticated or as mature as later works. Itīs however still an important high quality composition. "Charting The Single" is a decent track, but not one of Marillionīs best tracks. The two re-recordings of "Market Square Heroes" and "Three Boats Down From The Candy" are both great tracks. The former an anthemic and catchy rocker, while the latter is a subdued and relatively eerie sounding progressive rock song. "Cinderella Search", "Lady Nina", "Freaks", and "Tux on" are all greatly enjoyable B-sides and well worth a listen and an inclusion here. "B'Sides Themselves" closes with the 12:17 minutes "Margaret", which is a live recording. Along with "Charting The Single" itīs probably the least interesting track in Marillionīs discography.

So a few decent tracks and a lot of great ones is my impression of "B'Sides Themselves". As a "rarities" compilation it serves its purpose perfectly, giving the fans a chance to hear a compilation of tracks they either havenīt heard or would have to purchase quite a lot of different minor releases to be able to (or reissues of the various studio albums, where some of them appear as bonus material). The fact that even the two sub par tracks on "B'Sides Themselves" are still decent compositions speaks volumes of the high quality of Marillionīs music (that volume gets even higher considering that these are all non-album tracks). A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Aaah, Grendel.

Yes, the main reason I wanted this album was in fact, to listen to Grendel as much as I wanted to (with the legendary abundant drum fills of Mr. Pointer). I read somewhere some impolite reviews about the song, and all I can say is I don't know what they mean. Grendel is not a reminisce of Supper's Ready, far from it, so don't diss it! Despite the fact that Grendel is simpler and therefore easier to like, this song has such strong Camel/ Novalis/ early The Cure melodies, the 17 minutes flies without noticing. A definite classic in intensity and human message.

Okay, I find the rest from the range of good to average, with Three Boats down from the candy in mind as a good one. For the rest, we tend to swim in more commercial waters. One of the reasons that the North American single market is so low is perhaps because with singles, the material tends to be so poor compared to the original LP, and North Americans are not that the collector type? I am certainly not!

Thank heavens for Grendel, a song that shows that Marillion in it's early form was talking mean buisness. Watch the Recital of the Script version on DVD, Fish is giving one heck of a show I can tell ya!

We love you Fish, don't ever forget it.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album consists primarily of all the jewels from the early days. The first four tracks from 1982 are at least as good or even better then what ended up on the debut album. It's still a bit premature and especially Grendel screams Genesis rip-off from miles away, but in my ears it's not inferior in quality to the example they tried to emulate and after all, that is what matters.

The set is completed with Cinderella Search, one of my favorites, and the b-sides from Kayleigh, Lavender and Sugar Mice. Especially Tux On is a real gem and better then its A side (lots better that would be).

With the re-release of the Fish-fronted Marillion CDs by the end of the 90's this collection has become very much redundant so unless you would stick to your original vinyl or first generation CDs, the rating would be 3 stars max. Judging it at its original merit I'd be close to 4.5 stars however.

PS. It completely eludes though me why Wilkinson designed one of the ugliest album sleeves of rock history here. Is there anybody who actually liked this tastelessly loud hodgepodge?

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First compilation from Marillion is much more than just compilation. It includes Fish -era Marillion songs ( what is big plus) and these songs aren't released at any Marillion album!!!

As for B-sides collection, the album is really great!!! In fact, it could be one more regular Marillion (with Fish) album, and it's better than any Marillion album after it was released!

OK, from songs included you can easy fell that it is compilation. But ther are some very strong songs, so all the album is quite good.

"Grendel", the very first song last 17:15! Real gem for lovers of long compositions. "Market Square heroes"is wellknown hit didn't incuded in any album. Other songs are of different quality, but generally no bad at all.

I count it as last Marillion album still interesting to listen.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Grendel's Ready! Marillion Here I come



That's why you must get this.

Brilliant Marillion epic with Fish doing his best Gabriel impersonation is absolutely irrisistible.

The other singles rehashes and B Sides and Live tracks are all interesting but really could be classed as throwaways generally for the most part. They are B sides for a reason and that is they are not good enough for an album. 'Market Square Heroes' re-recorded version is here and 'Three boats down from the candy' but they are very close to the original so why bother? It is good to hear the incomparable voice of Fish with his emotive powerful technique but a lot of this material appears as bonus tracks on the remastered CDs in any case. And if you own the quintessential 4 CDs "Misplaced Childhood", "Script For A Jester's Tear", "Fugazi" and "Clutching At Straws", you may see this B Sides CD as rendered obsolete. However,"B' Sides Themselves" may well appear as a cheapie in a second hand store, and if so grab it for 'Grendel' if you do not have it. It is the one saving grace of redemption that earns this 3 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I have started my digging into Marillion's discography after having listened to a tape that a friend brought me from UK in the early 80s. Where the hell was recorded that long song? I didn't know the title either, and of course it was Grendel.

Finally, after having found bootleg versions and obtained a copy of my friend's tape, EMI decided to release all that old material on an album.

The good is that all the most important early material is there, the bad is that this collection of songs lacks of continuity and worse, some tracks have been edited or re-recorded.

This is the case of "Three Boats Down From The Candy". It was with Grendel the goos reason to me to buy this album, but unfortunately this version is not as good as the one on the tape I had listened to years before.

Songs like "Tux On", "Lady Nina" and "Charting The Single" sound a bit immature and not very interesting. The last of the three based on just two chords to let Fish show us how much he feels like Peter Gabriel.

"Cinderella Search" is a good song but there was no need of another version. The one on Fugazi is enough, and the closer "Margaret" is just a closer.

What remains is Grendel, the only epic, or attempt to make an epic of the Fish period. However the concept is taken from Beowulf, so it's an epic by definition. It's an early effort of this band, a sort of patchwork of several short themes in a very Genesis mood, with a remarkable vocal duet from Fish and Pete Trewavas and a closing guitar solo that Steve Rothary reused later on Forgotten Sons.

It's everything but a masterpiece, but finding a song of this kind at the beginning of the 80s was an exciting surprise for me and it's the song that made me actually a Marillion fan.

This is the only reason to rate 3 stars an album that without Grendel would have barely deserved two.

Review by Warthur
2 stars Some bands put as much work into their B-sides as their main tracks - Suede's B-side collection Sci-Fi Lullabies is better than many of their studio albums - but we don't have many groups like that in prog. Perhaps it's because prog is such an album-focused genre, and so singles tend to be regarded as a regrettable commercial necessity it's best not to spend too much time on.

Early on in their career, Marillion looked like they'd buck that trend, with great non-album tracks like Cinderella Search or the songs on the Market Square Heroes EP being just as warmly regarded as the material from their albums. However, it seems to me that the increasingly burdensome pressures of the road and their constant gigging (which Fish and the band now blame for ramping up the tensions that led to Fish's departure) meant that the band drifted from this approach fairly soon - later non-album tracks from the Fish era tend to be dull throwaways that sound like they were cranked out by the band in half an hour tops.

The end result is that B'sides Themselves is a rather patchy collection to begin with. It's even more of a problematic release to review since almost all of the songs on here are available on the bonus discs of the 2CD editions of the Fish-era albums in one version or another - which are far and away the best CD versions to get, so many fans will find this a decidedly optional release.

The biggest draw here is the opening track - Grendel, in the version which manifested as the B-side of the Market Square Heroes EP. This is NOT the version which appears on the second CD of the Script for a Jester's Tear rerelease - that's the slightly longer Fair Deal Studios version, which in theory was a demo but in practice I think actually sounds better than this rendition of the song. The production job on it was handled by David Hitchcock, who'd also handled Foxtrot by Genesis, and his approach on Grendel really brings out the Genesis-imitating elements of the song - whilst other versions of the track make it clear that there's a bit more going on than that, here you can really see why the epic got the band written off as a Genesis clone. In addition, Hitchcock can't stop himself from applying silly effects to the vocals for the first half of the song, and the opening sections tend to be a bit wimpier and less spooky than they usually are. It's still a decent song and it all comes together by the end, but it's probably my least favourite rendition of it.

But what of the remaining tracks? Well, the other two Market Square Heroes tracks on here are not actually present in their original version, but are instead re-recordings for the B- sides of later singles. They're alright versions, though it seems to me they lack a little energy compared to the originals, perhaps because the band resented having to do a do- over. Cinderella Search is one of the best non-album pop tracks the band ever did, whilst Lady Nina, Freaks and Charting the Single are all kind of clunkers - if you think Marillion can tend to be a bit too pop on their albums, just be glad they didn't take the braindead approach to pop they did on those tracks. Tux On threatens to become something a bit more interesting but never catches fire.

And lastly we come to Margaret, the sole song not included on the 2CD rereleases. There's a good reason for that - it was only ever performed live because it's essentially a light- hearted mess-about song for encores. If you have the Early Stages boxed set then you've already got one version of it in the context of the show it was performed at, and that's a better way to experience it to be honest.

So, on the whole, very much a collector's only deal. Add another star if you don't have either the Early Stages box or the 2CD versions of the Fish-era albums. If you have either of those, you already have identical or better versions of most of the songs on here; if you have both of those, this set becomes supremely redundant.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The official end of Fish discography with Marillion comes in early 1988, when EMI released the archival/compilation album ''B'Sides themselves'', the complete farewell to a unique generation of Prog music and the legend of Fish-era Marillion.This album contained unlrealesed studio tracks, live cuts and pieces from the band's singles, which date back from 1982.

The 17-min. opener ''Grendel'' was originally part of the expanded version of the ''Market square heroes'' single/EP from 1982.It's not only one of the best compositions Marillion ever created, but it is also much closer to the classic GENESIS sound than anything the band ever produced.A magnificent epic with even some CAMEL influences in the guitar solos, a completely epic atmosphere with Fish in his best form and some emphatic keyboard pyrotechnics by Mark Kelly, featuring multiple variations and lots of changing climates with a certain symphonic atmosphere coming out of the 70's, despite the strong synth component."Charting the single'', "Market square heroes" and ''Three boats down from the candy'', all three among the favorites in Marillion lives, are characterized by both symphonic and flashy keyboards and Trewavas' impressive bass work, introducing Fish'es unmet lyricism and the more accesible tunes of Neo Prog music, the two later come from re-recorded versions from the ''Punch and Judy'' 84' single.''Cinderella Search'' is the only track, that made to a Marillion full-lenhth album, here comes the single edit version from the ''Assassing'' 84' single, no more words, this is music poetry dressed with dramatic keyboards and great guitar soloing by Rothery."Lady Nina" and "Freaks" are both leftovers from the recordings of ''Misplaced childhood'', the first is accesible Neo Prog with rhythmic lines, among the least impressive tracks of the album, second one is typical Marillion-esque dark, lyrical Neo Prog with bombastic keyboards and spacey, almost PINK FLOYD-ian guitar work.''Tux on'' was included in the ''Sugar mice'' 87' single, among the last recordings of Fish with the group, this is narcotic, lyrical music, which slowly develops into a fantastic solo by Rothery, featuring the discreet keyboards of Kelly.The live version of one of Marillion's obscurities, ''Margaret'', comes from a performance at Edinburgh Playhouse in April 83', quite 70's influenced keyboard Prog with a jamming mood and a frenetic crowd supporting the band.

The band said goodbye to Fish with an awesome document on the unkown side of Marillion.If you don't own any of Marillion's singles or special CD versions with additional material, this is more than a must-have.

Review by Modrigue
3 stars One word: Grendel

Released in 1988, "B'Sides Themselves" is technically the last MARILLION record featuring Fish. This compilation contains songs from 1982-1987 not previously released on the four LPs: B-sides available on EPs only and reworked versions of the band's first EP "Market Square Heroes". A piece of all these EPs are shown on the cover art. Now, how does it compare to their studio albums?

The first half of the record is the main interest, mainly due to the 17 minutes long epic suite "Grendel". A masterpiece, however controversial, as it reuses at minute 13 a passage from GENESIS' "Supper's Ready". This was the main reason why MARILLION were accused of being a copycat of their British elder brothers. This said, the rest of the track marks his difference and possesses his own identity. To sum up, it simply contains the best the neo-progressive genre has to offer: melancholic passages, calm and epic rock moments, fantasy keyboards, powerful progression, it will transport into you a colorful magical world! Furthermore, the medieval guitar introduction is beautiful. So I find the plagiarism accusation a bit exaggerated. One of MARILLION's greatest compositions, and also one of the best neo-pogressive songs! It's a pity Fish and co. hadn't composed a track this ambitious after... Anyway, the renaissance of fairytale prog has begun...

On the contrary, "Charting The Single" is quite insipid with its awful drum sound. Despite its dated synthesizer sound, "Market Square Heroes" is quite energetic and catchy. "Three Boats Down From The Candy" is enjoyable but more uneven, the most interesting passage being the powerful ending guitar section. These two songs were initially recorded for the band's first EP in 1982, "Market Square Heroes", which already unveils a glimpse of the band's creativity. Nonetheless, the tracks on this compilation are in fact the reworked B-Sides versions from the 1984 EP "Punch and Judy". Also unequal, "Cinderella Search" features a few changes and has punchy hard rock finale.

The second half of the record is a little less inspired. "Lady Nina" and "Freaks" are soapy 80's pop, which does not really comes as a surprise as they were recorded the same year as their consensual LP "Misplaced Childhood". "Tux On" is an efficient eighties rock with a crying guitar solo, whereas the live "Margaret" is a long jam based on a rock version of "Scotland the Brave". It even contains a small passage from EDWARD GRIEG's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in "Peer Gynt". Fun, but a bit lengthy.

Although uneven, "B'Sides Themselves" is an interesting compilation, as it features the epic "Grendel". The true weak parts are mostly the 1985 tracks, recorded during the commercial period of the Fish-era. Compare to their studio albums, the other tracks are overall less ambitious and magical, but nonetheless quite nice and rocking. Anyway, they're better than the weak tracks of the studio albums.

"B'Sides Themselves" is essential for fans of MARILLION's first years with Fish. "Grendel" is also a good entry point for those wanting to discover neo-prog. A little gem...

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 280

"B Sides Themselves" is a compilation of Marillion and was released in 1988. This is a very special compilation of the band. It comprises B sides' tracks taken from several singles released by Marillion. It represents the first time that all those B sides' tracks were made available on the compact disc format, put all together on only one single CD.

The musicians that participated on this compilation are Fish (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass), Mick Pointer (drums), John Marter (drums) and Ian Mosley (drums). The presence of three drummers was due to changes inside the band. Pointer only participated on their debut studio album "Script For A Jester's Tear". He left Marillion to found Arena and he is, till now, Arena's current drummer. John Marter was one of the transition drummers who passed through the band in 1983, between Pointer and Mosley. He participated only on a few Marillion's songs. Mosley entered to the band in 1984 to replace Pointer he still is member of Marillion in these days.

"B'Sides Themselves" has nine tracks. The first track "Grendel" was originally released on their debut EP "Market Square Heroes", in 1982, and it was the B side of that EP. It's an epic and complex track, one of the best tracks of the band and is one of their most progressive too. This composition is usually compared (mostly unfavourably), with "Supper's Ready" of Genesis. The second track "Charting The Single" was released on their single "He Knows You Know", in 1983, and it was the B side of Marillion's second single. It was released from their debut studio album "Script For A Jester's Tear". As the B side of the single, it isn't really a great track. Still, it remains a redundant piece that testimony the great beginning of this great neo-prog band. The third track "Market Square Heroes" was originally released on their debut EP "Market Square Heroes". It was the first song of the A side. It was also originally released as the A side of their debut single with the same name, released in 1982 too. It was also released as the first song of the B side of their single "Punch And Judy", in 1984. This is the version on this compilation. It's a pleasant song with a great melody. Despite is a bit commercial and be not a very progressive track, it's a compelling track that shows their superior songwritting skills. The fourth track "Three Boats Down From The Candy" was originally released on their debut EP "Market Square Heroes". It was the second song of the A side. It was also originally released as the B side of their debut single with the same name. It was released as the second song of the B side of their single "Punch And Judy", in 1984 too. On this compilation we have an alternative version. This is an intricate song, where all band's members display their technical skills. The fifth track "Cinderella Search" was released on their single "Assassing", in 1984 and it was the B side of that Marillion's single. It was released from their second studio album "Fugazi". It remains as one of my preferred songs from the "Fugazzi" sessions, though not featured on the original album. The sixth track "Lady Nina" was released on their single "Kayleigh", in 1985 and it was the B side of that Marillion's single, which was released from their third studio album "Misplaced Childhood". It was also released as a separated single in U.S.A., in 1986, and it was the A side of that single. Possibly one of the the poppiest tracks the band got, which means the hook is huge, and even when the lyrics get flowery they still work in the context. The seventh track "Freaks" was released on their single "Lavender", in 1985 and it was the B side of that Marillion's single. It was released on their third studio album "Misplaced Childhood". It was also released as a separated single in 1988. I like this track. The non-album "Freaks" is much more than the ticket. This is really a fun Fish's romp. The eighth track "Tux On" was released on their single "Sugar Mice", in 1987 and it was the B side of that Marillion's single. It was released from their fourth studio album "Clutching At Straws". This is a very dark toned song, in the same vein of "Clutching At Straws", which count it among one of the finest non-album tracks of Marillion. The ninth track "Margaret" is a live version of a song recorded on Edinburgh Playhouse and was released as the B side of their single "Garden Party", in 1983. It was released from their debut studio album "Script For A Jester's Tear". This is a good track and represents of how dynamic the band live performance was in Fish's era. It's a track that would have been out of place on the album, but it still has its own charm.

Conclusion: Before the re-released Marillion's entire discography in the 90's, "B Sides Themselves" was a great source for fans of the band, especially for the fans of Fish's era, to pursued so many rarities on only one release. Here we have a selection of many great songs on only one album, which were never released on any studio album of the band. We can say this compilation is a great addition to band's music in Fish's era. So, "B Sides Themselves" is, in my humble opinion, a good compilation from Marillion. The sound quality of some songs is good and of others is only reasonable. But, in general, its sound quality is acceptable. So, "B Sides Themselves" is a nice worthy purchase and is, without any doubt, highly recommended for all who want to have a good and complete progressive rock discography.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars The first Marillion compilation was a reunion of their singles B sides released through the 80īs, just after Fish had left the band. Of course, the main reason to buy this LP at the time is because, most of all, it included the whole Market Square Heroes EP, which was never released in my country. The epic Grendel being a kind of "holy grail" among fans for years. And indeed I see it as a link between the Marillion sound and their influences (Genesis, of course, because of the obvious Apocalypse in 9/8 part of Supperīs Ready homage at the end of the track, but there is more). It was nice to have this 17 minute masterpiece on an album at last. For most fans the inclusion of the complete song was worth the price of the LP alone, together with the re-recordings of the title track and Three Boats Down The Candy. Those new versions are not much different form the original ones as far as I could hear.

Itīs easy to understand why most of the tracks here never made the albums: either they were not up to the their standards, which is the case of the majority of them, or did not fit on the concept of the album at the time. Not surprisingly the latter ones are the best: the aforementioned Grendel, the beautiful Cinderella Search (one of their best songs ever, this mini epic unfortunately was edited on my LP and the last part was merciless butchered out. It seems they fixed it when the CD edition was released) and Tux On, a different but great rocking tune. Of the remaining stuff, Freaks, Charting The Single and Lady Nina, are not fantastic, but are saved by the bands tasteful arrangements, Fishs poetry and the general great performance of the band even at those less then spectacular moments. In fact, only Margaret (a live jam track based on a traditional scottish song) is out of place here: it would have been terrific on a live album, as a closing track, but listening to it on a compilation CD is odd, specially because at 12 minutes it is just too long and listening to it you can not help the feeling of arriving at the end of a great show having missed the best moments.

Overall this is a very good CD that closes the golden era of the band, the Fish years. It was great to have all their b sides and early EP on one album, even if at the time it was a seen as a small reward for the bad news of Fish leaving, along with the La Gazza Ladra live album.

Rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 'B'Sides Themselves' is a compilation album by Marillion. This album was released on CD in January 1988 and is the last Marillion album that was released while Fish was still in the band. Typically, I find compilation albums to be redundant. Especially when it comes to progressive rock bands, as man ... (read more)

Report this review (#2980080) | Posted by Magog2112 | Friday, January 5, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Marillion have made some stellar B-Sides over the years and this collection is in aspects of being most excellent. GRENDEL starts the show off in fine Gabriel era Genesis fashion with it's wooden figures and pagan Gods. The music twists and turns not unlike Suffers Ready, especially in the s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1061545) | Posted by Alard Charlton | Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It may seem hard to believe that an album consisting only of B-sides can carry so much good stuff, but this is one and for that, B-Sides Themselves is quite special. First off, any album featuring a 17 minutes song as good as Grendel has a claim to being an essential. In Grendel, what may loo ... (read more)

Report this review (#231444) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Despite the fact that Grendel is a weak retread of Supper's Ready (structurally, musically, vocally) I still like it. I mean, Genesis only wrote one 20 minute epic, so why not have Marillion write one more as a tribute to them? I'm sure it was not intended as a tribute to Suppers Ready, but man ... (read more)

Report this review (#140868) | Posted by infandous | Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I give 3.5* to this albums because of Grendel, IMO one of the best examples of what Neo Prog can be. A masterpiece of 17 minutes which sometimes reminds me Genesis Supper's Ready and some early IQ stuff... really beautiful and powerful, a delight for every real proghead ears. The other tracks ... (read more)

Report this review (#94098) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An album full of B sides......oh no. But wait, this is certainly worth listening to if you like the early 80's prog style. That this album contains Grendel is alone enough for me. What an outstanding track, it has always been one of very top favourites. The rest of the album is pretty good als ... (read more)

Report this review (#45719) | Posted by Wasp | Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When this one came out I could hardly believe that these songs were not included on albums. Not one to buy singles, there were many tracks on the album which I had never heard. Unfortunately at the time Fish had made his departure from the band and this was my last chance to experience the che ... (read more)

Report this review (#12198) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This must have been a stop gap for EMI during the transitional period between breaking up with fish and finding Hogarth, still gets a good rating from me though as some of these songs are good and there is one or two gems. Market Square Heroes and Three Boats.. are redundant re-recordings withouth ... (read more)

Report this review (#12190) | Posted by Jools | Tuesday, December 16, 2003 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MARILLION "B'Sides Themselves"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.