|Single by Massive Attack|
|from the album Mezzanine|
|B-side||"Euro Zero Zero"|
|Released||27 April 1998|
|Massive Attack singles chronology|
"Teardrop" is a song by English trip hop group Massive Attack. Vocals are performed by Elizabeth Fraser, former lead singer of Cocteau Twins, who also wrote the lyrics. A harpsichord-driven track, "Teardrop" was originally set to feature vocals from Madonna, whom Massive Attack turned down in favour of Fraser. It was released as the second single from the group's third studio album, Mezzanine, on 27 April 1998.
In the United Kingdom, "Teardrop" peaked at number 10, becoming the group's highest-charting single and only top-ten hit in their native country. It 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, directed by Walter Stern, features a foetus singing in the womb, and the song has been featured in various television programmes, including as the opening theme for the US TV show House.
"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.
Fraser wrote the song's lyrics, inspired by the works of French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. 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".
Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "If there were ever a time for this clique of progressive groovemeisters to solidly connect with the stateside mainstream, it's now. The world has finally caught up with its experimental methods of blending dance rhythms with alterna-pop melodies. On this preview of the album "Mezzanine", the band injects a bit of modern rock flavor into the mix-thus, widening the potential for airplay. Added programming incentive is provided by Brendan Lynch and Primal Scream, who add an aggressive bite to a track that bubbles with light electronic instrumentation."
The single peaked at number 16 in Australia. 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 Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on 10 May 2019.
|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 certifications
Notable cover versions
|Single by Newton Faulkner|
|from the album Hand Built by Robots|
|Recorded||Autumn 2005–Spring 2007|
|Newton Faulkner singles chronology|
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. It was released as an official single on 10 December 2007, and reached number 57 on the chart the following week. The version of the album available from the Australian iTunes Music Store also incorporates an acoustic version.
Faulkner's solo acoustic versions are remarkable for simultaneously singing the song, playing melody on the guitar and adding percussive effects for rhythm and bass on the body of the guitar. A remarkable extemporaneous version was (apparently) recorded in an elevator.
O'Hooley & Tidow
O'Hooley & Tidow covered the song on their album The Fragile. The Guardian described their version of "Teardrop" as "an exquisite reworking" and it was voted by Guardian music critic Jude Rogers as one of the best tracks of 2012.
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" as well as in the eighth episode of The Last Dance, ESPN's 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.
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.
|Single by the Collective|
|from the album We Are the Collective|
|Released||18 November 2011|
|Children in Need singles chronology|
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. Produced by Labrinth, the performers consist of Chipmunk, Dot Rotten, Ed Sheeran, Ms. Dynamite, Mz. Bratt, Tulisa, Rizzle Kicks, Tinchy Stryder and Wretch 32.
|UK Singles (OCC)||24|
|UK R&B (OCC)||7|
|United Kingdom||13 November 2011||Digital download||Polydor|
The Naked and Famous
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."
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- 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
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