A fun little story about a boy who hears the music on the radio, thinks "Hey, I could do that" and, just for a laff, he does. And somehow this turns him into a huge superstar all of a sudden, which is pretty bewildering, and then just as suddenly turns him into a washed-up old has-been, which is equally bewildering. A cautionary tale on the fleeting nature of fame. It's also A Brief History Of Rock Music, boiled down into six minutes, perhaps. Or just an indictment of the endless stream of bands, probably called "The [noun]", who are, as Hogarth puts it, "here today, gone this afternoon". If you're not feeling particularly generous to the band (it should probably come as no surprise that the vast majority of the time, this does not describe me) it could come off as rather petulant jealousy, in places.
But for every slight clunker in the lyrics, there's an excellent one-liner to make up for it ("She made a movie/He almost remembered") and musically it's just so... easy to enjoy. Laa la la la laa, la la la laa. It also owes a whole lot to "Hey Jude", which is tacitally acknowledged with a quick "Judy Judy Judy Judy!" in the anthemic breakdown at the end. That's actually just one of the many nods to the band's influences throughout this song, but it gets special mention for being by far the most striking. What's not so acknowledged is the spirit of "Kayleigh" that's certainly hanging around here; I'm not in any way saying the attack of the lyrics is directed at Fish, but "they named their children after him"? It's not a direct reference, obviously, but the sudden rise of popularity in that name circa 1985 had to be in Hogarth's mind writing this line, I'd say.
It really does end well, too. Before the breakdown at the end, we get a merry little punchline to the story; "She's going out with someone new/In this week at number two". (Also, DIRTY!. Tell me I'm not the only one thinking it.) The best part, though, comes in the actual ending; just as the chorus rabble is starting to die down, Steve Rothery limbers up to launch into one of his usual blistering guitar solos, but then a few seconds in just goes "fuck it" and peters out with everybody else. If this was on any other Marillion album, that never would have happened. I mean, I can fully appreciate the man's talents, but it is nice to be surprised sometimes.
Video: tocando bateria Three Minute Boy - Marillion
Some Spanish dude drumming along with it. Which is fairly intrusive, at times, but there are no other 'tubes of the song, so it'll have to do you.