Heel to toe to hair and hoof and it's head over heels and it's all but an ark-lark...
Blue Bell Knoll

“It’s got her best singing since she discovered her higher range. ‘Carolyn’s Fingers’ is absolutely beautiful, and still gives me the shivers.” Ivo Watts-Russell

“Blue Bell Knoll was the easiest I’ve ever done to make a record. The records are a representation of our coping skills, and I think I was very much in denial, and I think that you can hear that on Blue Bell Knoll. Not one word can you grasp. Giving anything away… it just wasn’t allowed.” Elizabeth Fraser

“There was an element of freedom about the whole thing. It really felt like a period of creativity and freedom, we were all getting on great musically and socially, Liz and Robin were about to have a baby, I was about to get married, there was lots of joy around. Very productive! It was a really fun record to make.” Simon Raymonde

Blue Bell Knoll

  • September 1988
  • 4AD / Capitol
  • CAD 807
  • 35 min, 20 sec

Track listing

  1. Blue Bell Knoll
  2. Athol-Brose
  3. Carolyn’s Fingers
  4. For Phoebe Still a Baby
  5. The Itchy Glowbo Blow
  6. Cico Buff
  7. Suckling the Mender
  8. Spooning Good Singing Gum
  9. A Kissed Out Red Floatboat
  10. Ella Megalast Burls Forever


  • Vinyl
  • Cassette
  • Digital Audio Tape (DAT)
  • CD
  • Digital


Release notes

  • Written and produced by Cocteau Twins.
  • Sleeve design by Paul West and Jeremy Tilston. Photography by Juergen Teller.

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  • This was the first major label Cocteau Twins LP release (on Capitol Records in the USA).
  • Blue Bell Knoll peaked at #15 on the UK album chart, and #109 in the US. “Carolyn’s Fingers” reached #2 on the US alternative singles chart.
  • Blue Bell Knoll was the only Cocteau Twins LP to be released commercially in DAT format (and was the only 4AD release to ever appear in that format).
  • A limited-edition gatefold sleeve design was available for the vinyl format.
  • Promotional videos were produced for “Carolyn’s Fingers” and “Cico Buff.”
  • Promotional 7-inch and 12-inch singles were released for “Carolyn’s Fingers” backed with “Ella Megalast Burls Forever,” and for “A Kissed Out Red Floatboat.”
  • The song “The High Monkey-Monk” was recorded at this time, but was released only as part of the compilation Gigantic! 2 from Melody Maker in 1990. It was later released on the Bonus Disc in the EPs and Singles Box Set in 1991.
  • “Athol-Brose” was released as a single in Japan in 1990, backed with “Carolyn’s Fingers” and “Iceblink Luck,” after having appeared in an automobile commercial for television.
  • A live performance of “Ella Megalast Burls Forever” was recorded for SNUB-TV in 1990.
  • The following songs have appeared in live performances: “Blue Bell Knoll,” “Carolyn’s Fingers,” “For Phoebe Still a Baby,” “Cico Buff,” “A Kissed Out Red Floatboat,” and “Ella Megalast Burls Forever.” An extended version of “Blue Bell Knoll” was performed during the 1996 Milk & Kisses Tour.
  • The songs “Blue Bell Knoll,” “Athol-Brose,” and “Suckling the Mender” were performed live with new arrangements by Elizabeth Fraser during her Meltdown Festival solo performances in 2012.
  • “Carolyn’s Fingers” and “Cico Buff” appear on the 2000 compilation Stars and Topsoil.
  • Blue Bell Knoll was digitally remastered and re-released on CD by 4AD in 2003.
  • The model for the hands used in the sleeve photography was a friend named Carolyn, hence “Carolyn’s Fingers.”
  • Blue Bell Knoll was re-released on high-definition vinyl in 2014.
  • Included in Pitchfork.com’s “Top 100 Albums of the 80s.”
  • The album title takes its name from a land formation in Utah (USA).
  • Though the band typically recorded music tracks before Elizabeth composed vocal lines and melodies, “A Kissed Out Red Floatboat” was recorded the other way around, with Liz recording the vocals first using a basic click-track. Robin and Simon then composed music to fit what she had sung.

Listen and buy online


  • "Carolyn's Fingers" official video © 1988 4AD.
  • "Cico Buff" official video © 1988 4AD.
  • "Ella Megalast Burls Forever" performend live on 'SNUB-TV,' 1991.
  • Live performance of "Blue Bell Knoll," in Seattle, 1996.
  • Live performance of "Carolyn's Fingers" on 'Later with Jools Holland,' 1993.


External links