My Top 50 Songs: #50 – Marillion ~ Tux On

November 6, 2011

The first I ever heard of Marillion was when Kayleigh charted in 1985. Lovely song, even if my mother dismissed it as trite. (You should have heard what she said about Lavender.) Then a couple of years later Incommunicado popped up on my musical radar, only to be promptly dismissed as it was that Marillion band who seemed pretentious and stupid. The only other time I remember hearing their name was when a girl was assaulted at a concert and they asked members of Marillion Fan Club to come forward if they knew anything.

Fast forward to 1990. A girl entered my life. Actually technically she entered it in 1989. She had been born a mere 40 hours later than me, in the same place. Is this relevant? No, it isn’t. Her name was Alison, and she opened my eyes to many things. All of them music related (sadly). While I had heard Marillion previously, Alison was my gateway into the larger world of Fish lyrics which to this day still rank as some of the most poetic compositions ever written. (And Hogarth can go suck it.)

It was late at night, parked up near Portsdown Hill in my favourite car I ever owned (a vomit yellow Fiat 128) and listening to music. Alison dug a tape out and put it on my AWESOME stereo that had one solitary speaker nailed to a bit of the word on the parcel shelf.

“I did this tape for you.” She said.

Seemingly the quietest intro ever started to play. Fish whispering “Tux On”… At the time I figured he may be mispronouncing “Tucson”, but no.

It was eyes down at the bingo, on that lucky Friday night/The match was rained off Saturday, but the panel came in right/And on Sunday your mates were toasting you with champagne down the pub/And on Monday you went to London to pick the cheque up with your mum/You had a tux on…

Now I am a sucker for songs that tell actual stories. (One reason why Stan Ridgway and Nick Cave will feature higher in this chart, and on more than one occasion.) The song continues with the protagonist turning his new found riches into a music career, sinking into drugs and depravity, and dying of an overdose. All jolly stuff.

It’s an epic, dark song. While it’s not my favourite Marillion song, it IS the only one on this top 50 for one simple reason. It was THE song that turned me into a Marillion fan, and for that I rank its importance to this list higher than the rest. While Fish wrote better songs both solo and with the band, this one makes the list for the memories it evokes of sitting in that rainy car park one Friday night, with a girl I was madly in love with, journeying into a musical world I had never ventured into before.

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