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Teardrop (song)

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"Teardrop" is a song by English trip hop group Massive Attack. It features vocals and lyrics by Elizabeth Fraser, who had been the lead singer for the Scottish rock band Cocteau Twins. The song was released as the second single from Massive Attack's third studio album, Mezzanine, on 27 April 1998. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at number 10, becoming the group's highest-charting single and only top-ten hit in their native country. It additionally reached number one in Iceland and became a top-twenty hit in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, as well as in Denmark in 2012. The music video notably features a foetus singing in the womb. The song has often been featured in various television programmes.

Massive Attack - Teardrop.jpg
Single by Massive Attack
from the album Mezzanine
B-side"Euro Zero Zero"
Released27 April 1998
StudioMassive Attack Studios and Christchurch Studios (Bristol)
GenreTrip hop
Massive Attack singles chronology
Music video
"Teardrop" on YouTube


"Teardrop" was first developed from a simple harpsichord riff picked out in the studio in April 1997. Andrew 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.[1]

Fraser wrote the song's lyrics, inspired by the works of French philosopher Gaston Bachelard.[2] While recording the song in 1997, she found out that her once-close friend, Jeff Buckley, had disappeared and been found drowned. "That was so weird ... 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."[3]

The single peaked at number 16 in Australia.[4] It placed number 22 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time in 2009. It reached the top 10 in the UK and is the only Massive Attack track to do so. It was certified Silver by the BPI on 22 July 2013.

Music videoEdit

The song's music video featured a plastic foetus in the womb, singing the song. It was directed by Walter Stern.[5]

In popular cultureEdit

The song, especially the instrumental portions at the beginning and the end, has been used in numerous TV programmes and movies. An instrumental version of the tune is also used in a first-season episode of Prison Break entitled "Tonight", in CSI: Miami episode "MIA/NYC NonStop", and in Charmed season 1, episode 16, “Which Prue Is It, Anyway?”.

It was also featured as incidental music in a 2001 episode of the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street when Sarah Platt is chased. From 2004 to 2012, it was used as the opening theme of the American medical drama series House. The song also appeared in the 2005 pilot episode of Bones.

The song was featured at the beginning of a 2009 episode of the BBC One medical drama series Holby City entitled "Tough Love". The song was used in a 21st-season episode of the American animated comedy series The Simpsons entitled "Postcards from the Wedge".

Track listingEdit

1."Teardrop" (album version)5:31
2."Euro Zero Zero"5:24
3."Teardrop" (Scream Team Remix)6:45
4."Teardrop" (Mad Professor Mazaruni Instrumental Mix)6:24

The 12" release contains the same songs but in a different order. The cassette release contains an edited version of the original song, as well as the Scream Team remix and the B-side "Euro Zero Zero", but is missing the remix by Mad Professor.

Charts and certificationsEdit

Notable cover versionsEdit

Newton FaulknerEdit

Single by Newton Faulkner
from the album Hand Built by Robots
  • 30 July 2007 (UK)
  • 18 April 2008 (Germany)
  • 29 April 2008 (US)
RecordedAutumn 2005–Spring 2007
LabelUgly Truth
Producer(s)Mike Spencer
Newton Faulkner singles chronology
"Dream Catch Me"
"All I Got"

Newton Faulkner covered the song on his album Hand Built by Robots, which was produced by Mike Spencer. On downloads alone, Faulkner's version reached number 60 on the UK Singles Chart in August 2007.[20] It was released as an official single on 10 December 2007, and reached number 57 on the chart the following week.[20] The version of the album available from the Australian iTunes Music Store also incorporates an acoustic version.[21]

O'Hooley & TidowEdit

O'Hooley & Tidow covered the song on their album The Fragile. The Guardian described their version of "Teardrop" as "an exquisite reworking"[22] and it was voted by Guardian music critic Jude Rogers as one of the best tracks of 2012.[23]

José GonzálezEdit

José González covered "Teardrop" for his second album In Our Nature. The single was released across Europe on 12 November 2007. The single features the non-album instrumental B-side "Four Forks Ache." This version was also featured in the medical drama House M.D. in the episode "Wilson's Heart".

Civil TwilightEdit

Civil Twilight released a cover version on 13 April 2010, included in the record "Live from SoHo", available only in iTunes. The band signed with Wind-Up Records, and released the studio version of the song as a single on 10 August 2010.

The CollectiveEdit

Single by The Collective featuring Wretch 32, Ed Sheeran, Labrinth, Tulisa, Tinchy Stryder, Rizzle Kicks, Ms. Dynamite, Chipmunk, Mz Bratt and Dot Rotten
from the album We Are the Collective
Released18 November 2011
Children in Need singles chronology
"Love You More"
"Something New"

The song was covered by English singer Gary Barlow's assembled group named The Collective and released as the official single for Children in Need 2011.[25] Produced by Labrinth, the performers[26] consist of: Chipmunk, Dot Rotten, Ed Sheeran, Ms. Dynamite, Mz. Bratt, Tulisa, Rizzle Kicks, Tinchy Stryder and Wretch 32.

The song was released in the United Kingdom on 13 November 2011 on the Polydor label.[27][28][29][30][31][32] and entered the charts at number 24.[33]

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (2011) Peak
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[34] 30
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[35] 24
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[36] 7

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 13 November 2011[37] Digital download Polydor

Simple MindsEdit

Simple Minds recorded a version for their 2009 covers album Searching For The Lost Boys.

The Naked and FamousEdit

The Naked and Famous recorded a version for their 2018 stripped album A Still Heart. When asked why they decided to record a cover, Thom Powers explained, “It is one of those songs that is an amazing piece of music. It comes from the era that our name comes from. Our name comes from a line in a Tricky song.“[38]


  1. ^ "Massive Attack and Teardrop", Q Magazine, April 1999
  2. ^ Laura Snapes (30 October 2018). "Massive Attack to embark on Mezzanine tour with Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Dave Simpson (29 November 2009). "Elizabeth Fraser: the Cocteau Twins and me". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "ARIA Charts Issue #966" (PDF). 11 August 2006.
  5. ^ Ford, Piers. (1 May 2004) Piers Ford, ''Prince of Darkness'', 1 May 2004 Archived 17 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 9 December 2011.
  6. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  7. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  8. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop". Tracklisten. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  9. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  10. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (11.6. – 18.6. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 12 June 1998. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Teardrop". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  13. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  14. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Notowanie nr856" (in Polish). LP3. 26 June 1998. Retrieved 16 February 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  16. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  17. ^ " – Massive Attack – Tear Drop". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Massive Attack – Teardrop". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 May 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Teardrop in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ a b "Newton Faulkner". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  21. ^ Newton Faulkner – Teardrop (Acoustic Version), Australian iTunes Music Store. (17 December 2007). Retrieved on 19 December 2011.
  22. ^ Denselow, Robin (2 February 2012). "O'Hooley & Tidow: The Fragile – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  23. ^ Jude Rogers; et al. (17 December 2012). "The best albums of 2012: our critics' individual choices". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  24. ^ Hung Medien Archive
  25. ^ The Sun Gordon Smart 'It's Gary Barlow and The Collective', Sept 12 2011. (12 September 2011). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  26. ^ Gary Barlow names Children in Need band 'The Collective' DigitalSpy, Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  27. ^ Digital Spy 7 October 2011. (7 October 2011). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  28. ^ The Collective: 'Teardrop' – Single review – Music Singles Review. Digital Spy (14 November 2011). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  29. ^ Ryan, Damien. (17 November 2011) Track review: The Collective – Teardrop (Official Children In Need Single) | So So Gay magazine Archived 20 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  30. ^ Haider, Arwa. (25 November 2011) The Collective's Teardrop and Lighthouse by Westlife: Single reviews. Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  31. ^ THE GIZZLE REVIEW: The Collective – Teardrop. (25 October 2011). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  32. ^ Single Review: The Collective – 'Teardrop' Archived 19 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Unreality Shout. Retrieved on 9 December 2011.
  33. ^ Gary Barlow's The Collective Are Biggest Children In Need Flops In 16 Years – Celebrity Gossip, News & Photos, Movie Reviews, Competitions Archived 11 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Entertainmentwise (21 November 2011). Retrieved on 2011-12-09.
  34. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  36. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  37. ^ Teardrop (feat. Labrinth, Tulisa Contostavlos, Chipmunk, Dot Rotten, Ed Sheeran, Ms. Dynamite, Mz Bratt, Rizzle Kicks, Tinchy Stryder & Wretch 32) – EP by The Collective iTunes
  38. ^ Nunn, Jerry (4 November 2018). "Electronic band The Naked and Famous talk backstage about their music". Chicago. Retrieved 14 May 2018.