Saturday, January 25, 1986

Marillion “Childhood’s End?” hit #1 on my personal chart

Childhood’s End?


Writer(s): Fish (lyrics), Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas (music) (see lyrics here)

Released: June 17, 1985 (as album cut)

First Charted: January 11, 1986 (personal chart)

Peak: 11 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.73 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

My favorite group of all time is Marillion. My favorite album is their 1985 release Misplaced Childhood. My favorite song is “Kayleigh,” the lead single from that album. While the single was released in April 1985, it would be six more months before the group would enter my consciousness. At that time, I did a weekly personal chart and “Kayeligh” became my first entry for Marillion on October 5, 1985. The song reached #2 on my charts in January 1986.

It was just the beginning. The song launched Marillion for me. I bought the album Misplaced Childhood on the basis of liking that song and the album cover but knowing nothing about the band. That week, three songs from the album debuted in my top 10 – “Childhood’s End?,” “Psuedo Silk Kimono,” and “Lavender.” Eventually every song from the album would reach my personal top 10 – the first album to achieve such a feat.

Over the 1986 calendar year, I would dip into the band’s catalog and buy their first two studio albums, 1983’s Script for a Jester’s Tear and 1984’s Fugazi. I would also pick up their 1984 live release Real to Reel and the EP Brief Encounter. Every song from those releases would also hit my top 10.

As significant as “Kayleigh” was in launching Marillion for me, it was “Childhood’s End?” which became the first of the band’s songs to actually hit #1 on my personal chart. It accomplished the feat on January 25, 1986 – the third week I owned the Misplaced Childhood album. It would only hold the spot for one week, but was the first of many of the band’s chart toppers for me.

The song was arguably the climax in the album’s concept about trying to recover from a broken relationship and substance abuse. As the ninth of ten songs on the album, it takes on the roll of the narrator’s turning point. After a particularly rough drug-fueled night, the singer finds himself coming off his trip as the sun comes up. Initially he mourns the loss of a childhood he thought had disappeared before realizing that going back to Kayeligh would only have stirred up problems again. “We segue into the hopeful resolution of his dark trip” JC as he concludes in the lyrics, “Cause the only thing misplaced was direction / And I found direction/ There is no Childhood's End.” Musically, “the band create a bubbling, optimistic ode, tingled with Mark Kelly’s poignant keyboards of regret. Steve Rothery’s guitar squeals out with a heart-rush of excitement.” JC


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Marillion
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Fish
  • JC Jon Collins (2003). Separated Out. Helter Skelter Publishing: London, England. Page 64.

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First posted 7/3/2022; last updated 10/28/2022.

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