1983 really seemed to be a great year for music and I am not just relegating this to the Heavy Metal genre and all of the cool stuff that came out during this particular year but even in the now labeled as Classic Rock area and the Progressive Rock stuff too. That said we are now at the official thirtieth anniversary of Marillion’s iconic debut album “Script For A Jester’s Tear” and as I say these words a couple of immediate things pop into my mind along with some other more important revelations. The first one is that I was not even remotely a fan of the band at the time of this release but I had heard the name on a couple of occasions. I recalled a cloisonné pin that a girl I fancied wore on her denim jacket and her enthusiasm about them when they were brought up in music conversations. Sadly I would but I would not investigate further. At this point in my life I liked what I liked and was not always as open to new things. The second time would be when I purchased a UK Metal and Rock compilation LP that would have a song by the band called “Assassing” but that melody hails from the debut’s successor and hence has no real place in our 30 Year toast. I am just sharing what came to mind ? Don’t worry I would catch up on the band in due time, just not for a while yet. Let’s continue.
As far as first albums go this one is amazingly strong and speaks to fans of Progressive Rock on so many different levels. There are only six tunes on the album and that is because almost all of them are epic in nature as far as their overall time goes and the opening tune itself is more than eight minutes long. The album’s title track “Script For A Jester’s Tear” is a tale of love lost and not having been moved on from in a healthy fashion. It’s an epic tale and quite the sorrowful one to boot. Fish brings up his failure to pen a love song since the words never seemed to flow and he would revisit this in later material as well. “He Knows You Know” speaks of addiction and being discovered with this problem and how the affected person is feeling. It’s pretty wild stuff. “The Web” appeared to speak to the likes of intrigue while “Garden Party” poked a finger at societal statuses. Each song seemed to tell a story and yes there was a very strong correlation between the classic Peter Gabriel era Genesis and the first Marillion albums since Fish (who also went by his real name Derek Dick) had such a similar register and mannerism in his voice. The playing in Marillion while solid and very accomplished was not doing things like their Prog contemporaries in Yes or ELP and they kept it more straight forward in the musical sense. That did not at all take away from the appeal of this album.
The lineup of Marillion when they first released this work was Fish (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitar), Pete Trewavas (bass), Mark Kelly (keyboards) and Mick Pointer (drums). According to the album’s Wiki, it peaked at #7 on the UK charts but I did not see any US chart information about it to offer that up. In 1997, the album received a remastered treatment and found a second CD of material being included and those songs were Market Square Heroes, Three Boats Down From The Candy, Grendel, Chelsea Monday (demo), He Knows You Know (demo), Charting The Single and an alternative version of Market Square Heroes.
Official Website: www.marillion.com
Obviously the CD medium was not around thirty years ago so finding an original copy of this classic from this time would be on vinyl only. However, I did embed the link on Amazon.com for you to be able to snag a copy of the remastered and expanded edition of the CD. It might be a little pricier than some other stuff that you see but it is still worth owning and comes at a high recommendation from me. Marillion in 2013 is a very different kind of band and with sixteen albums and a different singer since album #4 they seldom even visit the tunes on this release during the live shows. Happy 30th once again Marillion for starting the ball rolling with “Script”. Your fans are still as loyal as ever and new generations are looking back on this gem and smiling.