Massive Attack / Liz Fraser / Jeff Buckley

Sold out

"Teardrop" is a song by Massive Attack that was released as a single on 27 April 1998. It is the second single from their third album, Mezzanine, and features lead vocals and lyrics by Elizabeth Fraser, the lead singer for the dream pop band Cocteau Twins. The song became another UK hit for the group, peaking at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart.

DJs Daddy G and Andrew Vowles and graffiti artist-turned-rapper Robert Del Naja met as members of partying collective The Wild Bunch. One of the first homegrown soundsystems in the UK, The Wild Bunch became dominant on the Bristol club scene in the mid-1980s. The Wild Bunch later split - resulting in the formation of Massive Attack.

"love is a verb"

"The transformation of John Lydon from The Pistols to PiL also had a big impact on me musically and stylistically. Turning the band literally into a brand was brilliantly ironic and inspiring." - Del Naja

"Teardrop" was first developed from a simple harpsichord riff picked out in the studio in April 1997. Vowles sent the demo to Madonna as he wanted her to record the vocals for the song (the band had previously worked with her on their 1995 reworking of the song "I Want You"). The two other band members Robert Del Naja and Grantley Marshall wanted Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins to record the vocals, feeling her ethereal style suited the mournful melody and feel of the piece. Madonna was very keen to record the vocals, and was disappointed when the two-to-one vote went in Fraser's favour.


After parting from Guthrie, but still in the same band ( Cocteau Twins ), Fraser struck up an intense relationship with Jeff Buckley after they became infatuated with each other's voices. Again, emotion produced music. A sublime duet they recorded called All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun is floating around the internet, to her irritation.

"Why do people have to hear everything?"

"But it's unfinished, you see. I don't want it to be heard."

“The fact that Liz was upset about this song being released, saying something to the effect of, 'why does everything have to be heard?' makes me feel guilty sometimes listening to it, like it was clearly this very personal recording, moment, song to the two of them. She also was upset it got out because she said it 'wasn't finished' which makes me think this must be like a bare bones, acoustic version of the song.”

Buckley died in 1997, by which time they had lost touch – Fraser had grown frustrated with his constant touring, a reaction that weighs heavily on her. "I just wish I'd been more of a friend," she says, softly. "His career was everything to him, and I wish I had been more understanding – happy with a different kind of relationship. I missed out on something there, and it was my fault."

The news that Buckley had disappeared – he drowned, swimming in the Wolf river in Memphis – came while Fraser was recording Teardrop with Massive Attack. "That was so weird," she says. "I'd got letters out and I was thinking about him. That song's kind of about him – that's how it feels to me anyway." It seems she is haunted by guilt: for not being there for Buckley, for everything. As she puts it: "I need to forgive myself."