Goodbye to all that
Fan recollections of Brave
In 2010 we asked Web members to share their thoughts of Brave's release. We had so many fans wanting to give their recollections of Brave coming out that we couldn't fit thermal in the magazine. Here's some more:
I was disappointed when I first heard it. I had really liked the slightly more commercial direction of Holidays... so this album was a bit of a shock. I found it quite hard to listen to, quite depressing, and didn't play it much for years. I'm not sure whether it was from hearing excerpts played live over the years that I came to appreciate what a great album it is. It has really grown to become quite a classic and has some of my favourite pieces of music on it. And that striking, iconic cover is still one of the best ever done! (So much so that I just bought one of the lithos on ebay!) It's still not my favourite album but I do enjoy listening to it now! Neil Lach-Szyrrma
I won't comment much on the music other than I have always loved it! I think for a ‘hardcore Marillion anorak enthusiast/fan’ the music speaks for itself. I can still remember, very clearly, finding Brave at a music shop in Rochester, Michigan (where I grew up). It was in the late winter/early spring of 94. I also remember there was a sticker on the jewel case with a very early internet address listed related to Marillion! I wish I had saved it. Perhaps it was related to the Web UK or the Web USA. Up to this point I had the Script LP for many years and I had also seen the band in Detroit in 1990. I think I also had Holidays in Eden. The Brave album is what really got me into Marillion. I listened to it a lot. I made a cassette so I could listen to it in my car as well. Brave easily falls into my list of top ten favourite albums of all time! And then in June of 94 while in Montréal, for the F1 GP, I found all the Brave related singles at a good record shop. So, I then had all the other the tunes and songs like Marouatte Jam, The Great Escape (Spiral Remake), etc. I was very pleased and ‘Made Again’! Allan Fredrickson
I remember reading that the inspiration for writing the album came from a newspaper story about a girl found on the Severn Bridge. At that time I was doing a driving job, throughout the UK. I remember the story well, as the day it happened I had driven over the bridge to make a delivery in Cardiff. Greg Hills
In 1994 I had just lost my driving licence and had graduated from Bournemouth Uni so was job hunting (without much success) and spent most of my time either lying on the beach or riding on trains. I had just got a new Sony Discman and managed to listen to Brave over and over again whilst passing all this time away. I have to say it took ages to ‘get’ this one, and I am not sure if I would have had the patience had I not had so much time on my hands, but it was well worth the effort and remains my favourite album of all time. This is one of a few albums that needs to be heard in one sitting and I still try to find the time to do that whenever I can.
I always thought this must be a classic but, as I had never seen Marillion live and was unaware of any online communities until I got back into the band in 2005, I always thought it was just me that liked it. It was quite nice to find that it is widely considered a masterpiece. It was also nice to find out the full story behind the album as I’d only just about worked out that it involved a girl jumping off the Severn Bridge. I’ve now seen Marillion about 12 times and am always blown away by them, but I’d still love to see Brave played live in a special venue.
By the way, the artwork is fantastic too and must be one of the best album covers of all time. Tim Ford
When I started to listen Marillion, at the end of 2003, I absolutely didn't understand why all these people were raving about Brave. I listened to a few songs and did not like it too much. It was on the shelf for about two years or so. Then someone convinced me that this album should be listened in one piece. One evening I turned the light low, put Brave in the player and leaned back in my chair. And then I at last understood the concept of Brave and felt all the emotions in it. I now love the album to no end. Nevertheless I would not want the band to try to write 'something like Brave' again. I'm sure Brave II would miss the magic the band managed to give Brave. Proof of that is that I did not like the new version of Hard As Love (the L=M version). I missed the rough edges and the pain in the song and felt like the emotion of the song was gone. The only song that really disturbs me on the album is Paper Lies. In spite of the explanations why the song is there I still don't like it. Christine Westbroek
I was in fact listening to Tori Amos constantly but then Brave came out and I was absolutely amazed. To this date it is my favourite Marillion album; I love a good conceptual piece. Wolf LittleBear
I was in the upper sixth at school, and rarely had much money. However, I knew Brave was coming out as I was a subscriber to The Flaming Shroud magazine and was intrigued by the early descriptions of the album. The earlier albums I'd heard via my brother, but this was the first new one I would go to get myself. Living With The Big Lie had a huge impact on me and I loved that song first of all of them. The rest clicked slowly. I remember talking to a friend later that evening who asked me what it was like. "It's not like anything else," I said. Ed Elloway
It was a time of much more blatant musical experimentation for me and I think Brave may have suffered for that. Coming after Holidays in Eden, I was a little concerned that Marillion were getting a little soft, sound-wise. Hearing the start of Brave did little to allay the fears. I remember hearing Hard as Love and being relieved that they could/would rock out. I really do like most of the songs now, but to me the full piece has never really rated as a great all-time piece from the band. JR Remke
My Marillion fandom goes back before Script. I was intrigued by the session they did for Tommy Vance's "Friday Rock Show", and was hooked by their performance at Reading in '82. I'd stopped reading the music press by 1994, and the Friday Rock Show had been cancelled then. So I found out that Marillion had a new album out by seeing it on the racks in my local record shop. It took me quite a few spins of Brave to really get into it. But when it clicked, it hit hard. It's still my favourite Marillion album of any era. Complete 180-degree turn from the previous album. Tim Hall
One of the main things I remember of the Brave release was the day. In the US it was released in February and I had pre-ordered the CD from the local CD store just in case they weren't going to get it in otherwise. Well the day came and New York was hit by a blinding snowstorm. The store was close to my job but I contemplated not going out in the snow because it was supposed to be around 12" that day. But, having had the The Great Escape import single, I knew this album was going to be special and trekked out. It took about 45 minutes longer than it normally took to get to work but in my possession was Brave. I put it on at work and was lost in the imagery. Jody Batik
At the time I was about six months out of college and still living with my parents near Boston. This was long before internet communication, of course, and so the only way to discover a new Marillion album was to actually check the “Marillion” section at the record store over and over, and see if a new record was there, something I was in the habit of regularly doing! I remember going into Newbury Comics, a cherished local music chain, one day in February 1994 and finding Brave waiting for me. My heart jumped and I bought it immediately, but I had to endure a dinner with my parents and grandparents with the new CD burning a hole in my pocket, unable to concentrate on the table conversation, wondering what new Marillion adventure lay in store for me!
Eventually I got home and put it on, really not knowing what to expect. I loved Seasons End and liked Holidays quite a bit but was still nervous that the band and their new lead singer were going in a poppier direction, much like Genesis did in the ‘80s. By the time Living with the Big Lie was finished, that fear was gone! I remember being blown away on first listen. Andy Saks