On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Massive Attack – Teardrop (1998)
” 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.
We’re leaving Sweden behind today, dear reader, and returning to the UK and to Bristol. It is a second appearance on our list from Massive Attack who we previously enjoyed Unfinished Sympathy with back in 1991. Seven years on the group have released their third album, Mezzanine, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Teardrop.
The gestation of Teardrop is intriguing with Massive Attack initially wanting Madonna to be the vocalist to some music that they were working on. She was said to be most disappointed when the group instead went with Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins, who also wrote the lyrics to the track. The lyrics to Teardrop were said to have been inspired by an intense relationship that Elizabeth Fraser had with Jeff Buckley. His accidental death in 1997 was said to have hit her hard and Teardrop potentially conveys that.
I was familiar with this track, most notably as the theme music used in US TV Show, House M.D. The music has a chilling feel to it but it blends perfectly with Elizabeth Fraser’s vocals. I could imagine Madonna doing something interesting with the music to this track, but Fraser was the missing piece to the puzzle and though it was a tough choice between the two, it was the right one from Massive Attack. The song reached the UK Top 10 and proved to be the group’s biggest hit. The group continue to perform and now have five albums to their name.
Favourite songs so far: