Afraid of Sunlight

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Afraid of Sunlight
Studio album by Marillion
Released 24 June 1995
22 March 1999 (two-disc edition)
Recorded The Racket Club, Aylesbury, Bucks.; January–June 1995
Genre Neo-progressive rock
Length 51:25 (single-disc edition)
1:40:12 (two-disc edition)
Label EMI (Europe)
El Dorado/I.R.S. (U.S.)
Producer Marillion, Dave Meegan
Marillion chronology
Afraid of Sunlight
Made Again
(1996)Made Again1996
Singles from Afraid of Sunlight
  1. "Beautiful"
    Released: 29 May 1995
  2. "Cannibal Surf Babe (U.S. promo only)"
    Released: June 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Q 4/5 stars
Sputnikmusic 3.9/5

Afraid of Sunlight is Marillion's eighth studio album, released in 1995. It was their last for EMI (who would, however, continue to release back-catalogue material on compilations and re-issues, as well as distribute some later recordings). It was the first Marillion studio album to fail to reach the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16 and falling out of the Top 40 after two weeks. Despite this, Afraid of Sunlight became one of the band's most critically acclaimed albums and was included in Q magazine's "Recordings of the Year" for 1995.[2] It was retrospectively described by Jeri Montesano of Allmusic as "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" and by colleague Jason Ankeny as "the most consistent Marillion release to date".[3][4]


While not a concept album as such, Afraid of Sunlight repeatedly examines the destructive side of celebrity. In particular, "Afraid of Sunlight" refers to self-destructive thrill-seekers such as James Dean; "Out of This World" is about world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, killed in 1967, while "Gazpacho" seems to refer to Mike Tyson. "King" refers to Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, and Michael Jackson. The song "Beyond You" is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions, and is recorded monaurally rather than in stereo.[citation needed]

The first half of the album has a more satirical tone. "Gazpacho" lampoons the Hollywood lifestyle, "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a Beach Boys pastiche also inspired by late-night horror movies, and "Beautiful"'s utopian lyrics may be written from the perspective of an unmoored celebrity.

Steve Hogarth named the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, about a boxer's inability to deal with fame, as a strong influence on the album. Hogarth also cited O.J. Simpson, on trial for murder at the time the album was recorded, as another influence on its theme; the wind-down of "Gazpacho" ends with a sample from a news report on Simpson's infamous flight from the police.

The wreckage of Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7 and Campbell's remains were not recovered until 28 May 2001 when diver Bill Smith was inspired to look for the wreck after hearing "Out of This World". Both Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery were present at the raising.[5]

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Gazpacho" – 7:28 (John Helmer, Steve Hogarth, Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas)
  2. "Cannibal Surf Babe" – 5:25 (Helmer, Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)
  3. "Beautiful" – 5:12 (Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)
  4. "Afraid of Sunrise" – 5:01 (Helmer, Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)

Side two

  1. "Out of This World" – 7:54 (Helmer, Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)
  2. "Afraid of Sunlight" – 6:49 (Helmer, Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)
  3. "Beyond You" – 6:10 (Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)
  4. "King" – 7:03 (Hogarth, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, Trewavas)

Remastered CD bonus tracks

  1. "Icon" – 6:04
  2. "Live Forever" – 4:34
  3. "Second Chance" (Dave Meegan Mix of Beautiful) – 5:14
  4. "Beyond You" (Demo) – 5:17
  5. "Cannibal Surf Babe" (Studio Outtake) – 5:59
  6. "Out of This World" (Studio Outtake) – 7:27
  7. "Bass Frenzy" – 1:17
  8. "Mirages" (Demo) – 6:02
  9. "Afraid of Sunlight" (Acoustic Demo) – 6:49
  10. "Sympathy (For The Road Crew)"

Note: The last track on CD 2 can only be accessed via a computer and a passcode. The passcode can be found on the – Afraid of Sunlight page.

Formats and re-issues

The album was originally released on Cassette, vinyl LP and CD. In 1998, as part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI re-released Afraid of Sunlight with remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus material, listed above. The remastered edition was later also made available without the bonus disc.

A new 180 gram vinyl pressing was released in September 2013 by EMI. It was identical to the original vinyl release from 1995.


Q (magazine) 4/5 "...a 40-minute journey that touches on the legacy of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles, while hinting at the experimental trivialities of Jellyfish or Split Enz. There is a preposterous tone at times, but Steve Hogarth's voice is lovable, tear-jerking and even beautiful..." [6]



Additional Musicians

  • Barbara Lemzy: Additional Vocals


  • Arranged & Produced By Marillion & Dave Meegan
  • Engineered By Dave Meegan
  • Assistant Engineers: Stuart Every, Michael Hunter, Andrea Wright
  • Mixing: Michael Bauer, Nick Davies, Dave Meegan
  • Digital Editing & Mastering: Peter Mew



Year Chart Position
1995 UK Album Chart 16[7]


  1. Garcia, Alex S. (2011). "Afraid of Sunlight - Marillion | AllMusic". Retrieved 4 July 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "1995 Q Magazine Recordings Of The Year". Retrieved 24 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "allmusic ((( Season's End > Overview )))". Retrieved 2012-07-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Marillion - Music Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Hogarth, Steve (8 March 2001). "A Day in the Lakes". Retrieved 12 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Q, August 1995.
  7. "Chart Stats – Marillion – Afraid of sunlight". Retrieved 2010-01-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Liner notes for the remaster by some of the band members (on the band page):