The Spellbinding Duet by Jeff Buckley and Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser That Was Never Supposed to Be Released

“Why do people have to hear everything?” said Elizabeth Fraser in a rare interview in 2009. Fraser was still disappointed that a song she recorded with Jeff Buckley, was leaked shortly after he died in 1997. “It’s unfinished,” added Fraser. “I don’t want it to be heard.” Moments after Fraser said she didn’t want “All the Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun” heard, she paused, then added, “Maybe I won’t always think that.”

When the song was recorded, Buckley and the ex-Cocteau Twins singer had been a couple between 1994 and ’95. Unfortunately, by the time the song was prematurely released, and his death, Fraser and Buckley had already gone their separate ways, strained, she said, by his heavy touring schedule.

“I just wish I’d been more of a friend,” said Fraser, who seemed to regret how she handled their relationship and Buckley’s success at the time. “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.”

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[RELATED: 30 of the Best Jeff Buckley Quotes]


On May 29, 1997, Buckley went missing while swimming and drowned in Wolf River Harbour in the Mississippi River. He was 30 at the time of his death. When Fraser learned of Buckley’s death, she was in sessions with Massive Attack for their 1998 album Mezzanine and recording the song “Teardrop.” The song, co-written with Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, Grantley Marshall, and Andrew Vowles, was about Buckley, Fraser revealed.

“That was so weird,” said Fraser. “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. I need to forgive myself.”

“I just couldn’t help falling in love with him”

Though they never even took a photograph together, the union between Buckley and Fraser—who had coincidentally covered his father Tim Buckley‘s 1970 Starsailor track “Song to the Siren” for This Mortal Coil (It’ll End in Tears) more than a decade before they met—was palpable. Both became infatuated with one another’s voices, and each other, by early ’94, around the release of Buckley’s first and only album Grace.

“He idolized me before he met me,” revealed Fraser in the 2002 BBC documentary Jeff Buckley: Everybody Here Wants You. “It’s kind of creepy, and I was like that with him, which is embarrassing, but it’s the truth. I just couldn’t help falling in love with him. He was adorable.”

When they met, Fraser was in a relationship with her Cocteau Twins bandmate, Robin Guthrie, and both shared a daughter. “I was having a hard time in the band I was in,” shared Fraser. “So to meet Jeffrey was like given a set of paints. I had all this color in my life again.”  

There was a quiet enormity and intimacy to their union. In the documentary, Fraser revealed that the two would often share one another’s journals. “All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun” gives a candid glimpse into the couple’s chemistry, with faint sounds of Fraser’s laughter heard before she breaks into the first verses, My eyes are baptism … followed by Buckley on the next, Oh, all flowers in time bend towards the sun… and so on.

My eyes are baptism
Oh, I am fuse
And sing her
Into my thoughts
Oh, phantom elusive thing

Oh, all flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no one for you
But here is one
All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there’s no one for you
But here is one, but here is one
Here is one

Keep it going in me, wicked traveller
Fading farther from me
With your face in my window glow
Oh, where will you weep for me?
Sweet willow

It’s ok to be angry
But not to hurt me
Your happiness
Yes, yes, yes
Darling, darling, darling

[RELATED: Elizabeth Fraser Gets Asteroid Named in Her Honor]

‘The Last Goodbye’

Though the song was never finished past its demo recording, rights to the track were granted to Michael Kimmel by the Estate of Jeff Buckley for his 2013 stage production The Last Goodbye, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet through Buckley’s music.

Photo: David Tonge/Getty Images

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