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Brave - Intro

Introduction: Brave was the third Marillion album with Steve Hogarth. A brave album in many respects, in that it is a concept album with eleven tracks, many of which are subdivided even further. Like Misplaced Childhood, many of the tracks segue into each other or are linked by spoken passages (often performed by the band's families). 

Steve Rothery explained the album to Kerrang!'s Chris Watts in an article entitled Marillion's Brave New World in early 1994: "The album is actually a fictional story inspired by [a young woman found on the Severn Bridge, a notorious suicide platform over the Bristol Channel. The woman refused or was unable to speak and had no identification.

"In a desperate attempt to identify her, the police contacted a Bath radio station to broadcast an appeal which was heard by Steve Hogarth]. It's the story of a young girl's life from birth, to being abused to heartbreak, to drugs... everything. It's a very happy story!"

Possibly the easiest way to understand the whole story is to watch the occasionally effective Brave movie by Richard Stanley. The movie was severely let down by a lack of funds and in quite a few places, this shows. It is, nevertheless, worth watching once.
Photo by Michael Johnson

Cover notes: Simultaneously the most simple and most effective of all the Hogarth-era sleeves to this point, Brave features the shadowed face of the 'heroine' with undecipherable writing overlaid over her face (the picture on the right is the original photo of the model, before cropping and blurring). 

The band name is reduced to a lowercase san serif font next to the album name both tucked away at the top of the album. 

The back cover features a woman's face overlaid by a distorted MAR-ILL-ION logo. The girl is not Josie Ayres who starred in the film made to accompany the album, but it would take nearly thirty years for the mystery of her identity to be solved.

On the left, courtesy of
Edward Martin, is a cut-down version with added blur, from Bill Smith Studios.It was an existing model's card that designer Carl Glover found and adapted.

In an interview with Prog magazine from May 2018, Brave cover designer Carl Glover said, "In those days, photographers used to send us what we effectively postcards for their work. This one just stood out. My boss (Bill Smith of Bill Smith Studios) liked it, and he came up with this idea of having that with a load of writing across the face." Asked if he knew the cover model, Glover added, "No, I never knew at all. There's someone out there on a Marillion cover and doesn't even know it, but that happens more than you think."

Glover was aware of the name of the photographer, however, but in the Prog interview said, "He seems to have disappeared without trace. I've got a feeling that he was trying out a new career and decided to do something different instead."

In September 2021, a link was posted to Lucy's Friday Questions, the Facebook group where fans can pose queries to Lucy Jordache, Marillion's manager. The link was to an Instagram post by an American photographer and artist called Michael Johnson. Johnson had posted back in February of 2021 that he had just discovered an image of his had been used for an album cover, and was clearly angling for some form of compensation. He had copied in Steve Rothery. As part of his evidence trail he printed a high-quality version of the photo above and a screenshot from this very page! He revealed that the photographs had been taken of a friend of his, Jennifer Stevens, in Dallas, Texas.

Lucy confirmed that an arrangement had been reached some while previously, but declined to share details. Johnson subsequently deleted the Instagram post.

In 2002, I found reference on the Dutch Prog Rock Pages (DPRP) site as to the origins of the writing on the cover, and an article that appears to have originated with The Web Holland, but hosted by The Web Italy. "The source was the original diary of Anne Frank (Het Achterhuis or The Attic). The band did not want people to think that the album had anything to do with Anne Frank or that they had used the horrible experiences of Anne Frank as a cheap way to create a concept album; something which definitely wasn't the case. The fragment belongs to Anne Frank's writings about July 15th 1944."

In his Prog interview in May 2018, Carl Glover confirmed there was no deliberate intent to use that particular handwriting. "I can't remember how we came across the writing," he said, "But it turned out to be from the Diary of Anne Frank, which was a pure accident.

Song Listing

Songs with a link have explanations. Now Wash Your Hands is a separate link to Alone Again.

Click to access album
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  1. I have since learned from another Prog page that the writing that overlays the girl's face on the cover is actually hand written text from the Diary of Anne Frank.

  2. Very glad to have found your blog. Now bookmarked, my return is inevitable!


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