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"Kayleigh" is a song by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion. It was released as the first single from the concept album Misplaced Childhood.[2] It became the band's most successful single worldwide. It peaked at number-two in the UK and stayed on the chart for a total of 14 weeks. It also reached the top 10 in the Republic of Ireland, Norway and France, and became the band's sole appearance on the United States Billboard Hot 100, hitting number 74 in October 1985.[3]

"Kayleigh"
M kayleigh.jpg
Single by Marillion
from the album Misplaced Childhood
B-side "Lady Nina" [1]
Released 7 April 1985 (1985-04-07)
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, cassette single [1]
Recorded Hansa Ton Studios, Berlin, March – May 1985
Length 3:33 (7" version) [1]
Label EMI
Songwriter(s) Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Fish
Marillion singles chronology
"Assassing"
(1984)
"Kayleigh"
(1985)
"Lavender"
(1985)
"Assassing"
(1984)
"Kayleigh"
(1985)
"Lavender"
(1985)
Audio sample

The song popularised the name "Kayleigh" in the UK. It was later performed by the band's lead singer Fish at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium, with Midge Ure on guitar and Phil Collins on drums.

Contents

CompositionEdit

"Kayleigh" has been characterised as a "tremulous torch song".[4] Fish, the band's lead singer and lyricist, said that writing the lyrics was "his way of apologizing to some of the women he had dated in the past." Although he had at one point dated a woman whose forenames were Kay Lee, the song was more a composite of several different women with whom he had had relationships. Fish was quoted:

I was very confused at the time, you know, I had a lot of long term relationships, a lot of 'deep and meaningful' relationships that basically I'd wrecked because I was obsessed with the career and where I wanted to go. I was very, very selfish and I just wanted to be the famous singer but I was starting to become aware of the sacrifices that I was making, and I think that Kay was one of those sacrifices that went along the road. 'Kayleigh' was not just about one person; it was about three or four different people. The 'stilettos in the snow', that was something that happened in Galashiels, when I can remember going down one night and we were both really drunk, and, you know, dancin' under a street light, and 'dawn escapes from moon-washed college halls' was part of the Cambridge thing.[5]

The guitar hook line through the verse came about, according to Steve Rothery, from him demonstrating to his then-girlfriend what effects a chorus and a delay pedal could add to a guitar's sound. Rothery recorded the song on a chorused Stratocaster guitar, using the pick and his second and third fingers to play it.[6] The album version contained an extended guitar solo by Rothery, 27 seconds of which is edited for the single version.

On 24 October 2012, Marillion announced on Facebook that "Sad news via Fish – Kay – who inspired our song Kayleigh – has sadly died. RIP Kay."[7]

Music videoEdit

The promotional video for the single was shot in Berlin, where the Misplaced Childhood album was recorded. Tamara Nowy, a German woman who subsequently married lead singer Fish, and Robert Mead, the boy portrayed on the sleeve of the album and the single, appeared in the video.

ReleaseEdit

"Kayleigh" entered the UK Singles Chart on 18 May 1985 and climbed to the number-two position. It was kept from the number-one spot by a version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" by the charity supergroup the Crowd in June 1985, which was released following the Bradford City stadium fire.

As with all Marillion albums and singles of the Fish period, the cover art was designed by Mark Wilkinson from an idea by Fish. The B-side on the international version, "Lady Nina", would go on to be used as a single promoting the 1986 US-only mini album Brief Encounter. "Lady Nina" is the only Marillion song from the Fish era to use a drum machine. The US version of the single uses "Heart of Lothian" instead, another track from Misplaced Childhood that would eventually be released as the third and final single from the album. A CD replica of the single was also part of a collectors box-set released in July 2000 which contained Marillion's first 12 singles and was re-issued as a 3-CD set in 2009 (see The Singles '82–'88).

LegacyEdit

The song's popularity in the summer of 1985 was responsible for a significant rise in popularity of the name Kayleigh. Its popularity and legacy was addressed by Harry Wallop, writing in The Daily Telegraph in 2011:

Some names just didn’t exist a generation ago, but have taken off in popularity. The most famous of these is Kayleigh, which came into existence thanks to the neo-prog rock band Marillion, who had a number two hit with a single of this name in 1985. It was almost unheard of before the song. But since then it has taken hold, especially with parents who grew up with a love of long-haired bouffant power ballads. A few years ago, the name made it to the 30th most popular girl’s name in Britain, and it remains popular: 267 children were named it last year. Curiously, though, it has spawned a bewildering sub-sect of names, nearly all of which are unrelentingly bizarre. There were 101 Demi-Leighs last year, seven Chelsea-Leighs and four called Lilleigh, which sounds like a sanitary product.[8]

In 2012, it was announced that the Scottish Borders Council was to inscribe extracts from the song's lyrics into the pavement at the newly developed Market Square in Galashiels. Council engineer David Johnstone said the authority felt it was appropriate to mark the links between Galashiels and the song:

The lyrics from the song Kayleigh included reference to the old textiles college. Some of the lyrics referred to 'dawn escapes from moon-washed college halls' and 'do you remember cherry blossom in the market square?' There was a feeling that these lyrics were really appropriate and because of the connection between the singer and Galashiels that it would be appropriate to engrave some of those lyrics into the paving and make more of a feature of it." Johnstone also said the original cherry trees referred to in the song had been removed due to disease but they would be replaced.[9]

On 8 October 2012, Aberdeen-based rappers Shy & DRS sampled "Kayleigh" for their song "The Love Is Gone". It reached number 7 in the iTunes Hip Hop Chart and Number 32 in the Scottish Official Chart.

The song was also included in the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV on the fictional in-game station "Vice City FM" and in the movie Late Night Shopping.

In 2013, in a presentation on crowd funding for a TED conference in Bedford, Marillion keyboardist Mark Kelly identified the song's popularity as "part of the reason I've never had a proper job and I've been able to make a living from music for the past 32 years".[10]

In 2013, the name was described by the Daily Mail as "a career killer". In a report which questioned more than 600 workers between the ages of 20 and 35, Kayleigh was identified as the kind of 'modern' name that impeded an individual's progress in the jobs market, people with more traditional names being favoured instead.[11]

In 2017, the song was used in the final episode of Peter Kay's Car Share. In a dream sequence while listening to the song on the radio, John (Peter Kay) imagines climbing over gridlocked traffic to reach love interest Kayleigh (Sian Gibson).

Track listingEdit

International 7" versionEdit

Side 1Edit

  1. "Kayleigh" [Single Edit] – 3:33

Side 2Edit

  1. "Lady Nina" [Single Edit] – 3:41

US 7" version (Capitol Records)Edit

Side 1Edit

  1. "Kayleigh" [Single Edit] – 3:33

Side 2Edit

  1. "Heart of Lothian" [Single Edit] – 3:47

12" versionsEdit

Side 1Edit

  1. "Kayleigh" [Alternative Mix] – 3:57
  2. "Kayleigh" [Extended Version] – 4:00

Side 2Edit

  1. "Lady Nina" [Extended Version] – 5:46

Cassette singleEdit

  1. "Kayleigh" [Alternative Mix] – 3:57
  2. "Kayleigh" [Extended Version] – 4:00
  3. "Lady Nina" [Extended Version] – 5:46
  4. "Lady Nina" [Single Edit] – 3:41

PersonnelEdit

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1985) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[2] 2
Dutch GfK chart[12] 12
Dutch Top 40[13] 16
French Singles Chart 2[citation needed]
Irish Singles Chart[14] 4
Norwegian Singles Chart[15] 8
Swiss Singles Chart[16] 19
US Billboard Hot 100 74
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 14

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Marillion - Kayleigh at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Marillion - Kayleigh". Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  3. ^ Billboard Hot 100 chart dated October 26, 1985
  4. ^ "Stayingin". The Daily Telegraph. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  5. ^ The Funny Farm Interview – July '95, Dick Brothers Record Company
  6. ^ Total Guitar July 2001
  7. ^ "Marillion". Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Wallop, Harry (23 Nov 2011). "Baby names: how do you decide?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Marillion hit Kayleigh to be set in Galashiels pavement". BBC News. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Mark Kelly talks about the birth of Crowd funding at TEDx Bedford. http://www.marillion.com/news/newsitem.htm?id=318
  11. ^ "Is your name a career killer? How the likes of Kayleigh and Wayne fear they won't be picked for promotion". Mail Online. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Marillion - Kayleigh (Dutch)". Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 - 10 Augustus 1985/Week 32 (Dutch)". Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  14. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  15. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Marillion - Kayleigh". Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  16. ^ "Marillion - Kayleigh - hitparade.ch (German)". Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.