Sleeping with the Past

Sleeping with the Past

Infobox Album |
Name = Sleeping with the Past
Type = Album
Artist = Elton John

Released = August 1989
Recorded = November-December 1988Puk Studios, Randers, Denmark
Genre = Pop
Length = 47:55
Label = MCA (US/Canada) Rocket Records
Producer = Chris Thomas
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|2|5 [ link] |
Last album = "Reg Strikes Back" (1988)
This album = "Sleeping with the Past" (1989)
Next album = "To Be Continued" (1990)

"Sleeping with the Past" is the twenty-second studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1989. It is his best-selling album in Denmark (where it was recorded for tax purposes) and is dedicated to Bernie Taupin. This album featured his first solo number one single, "Sacrifice", in his home country of the United Kingdom. The album also reached #1 on the UK album chart. John and Taupin meant for the songs to reflect the style of 1960's R&B icons such as Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke, whom they admired. It also became his first platinum album since 1978's A Single Man.


With renewed creativity after 1988's Reg Strikes Back, Elton John and Bernie Taupin sought out to create a cohesive album that had maintained a consistent theme. They decided to pay tribute to the R&B sound of the 60's and 70's who inspired them as youth. Bernie would listen to 60's soul songs and use those songs from the past to inspire new lyrics for their album. He would then write down which artists or songs influenced him. Elton would then use Bernie's guide to write a soul song that sometimes ventured away from the original source of inspiration. Many of the songs have a somewhat clear influence while others contain a mixture of various soul influences.

Track listing

All songs by John/Taupin.

ide one

# "Durban Deep" – 5:32
# "Healing Hands" – 4:23
# "Whispers" – 5:30
# "Club at the End of the Street" – 4:49
# "Sleeping with the Past" – 4:58

ide two

# "Stones Throw from Hurtin'" – 4:55
# "Sacrifice" – 5:09
# "I Never Knew Her Name" – 3:32
# "Amazes Me" – 4:39
# "Blue Avenue" – 4:21

Bonus tracks (1998 CD reissue)


  • "Dancing in the End Zone" – 3:55
    # "Love is a Cannibal" – 3:55

    The version of "Durban Deep" on the 1998 remaster features a different vocal mix and is slightly extended from the original album version (the fade out lasts about ten seconds longer).

    Critical Judgment

    "Sleeping With The Past" received lukewarm reviews when the album was released in 1989. However, long time fans of Elton John loved the album and deem it to be one of his best from the 80's. Despite the critical judgment of the album, it became his first platinum album in 11 years and spawned his first solo #1 hit in the UK.



    *Elton John: Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Backing Vocals
    *Guy Babylon: Keyboards
    *Vince Denham: Saxophone
    *Davey Johnstone: Guitar, Backing Vocals
    *Fred Mandel: Guitar, Keyboards, Organ
    *Jonathan Moffett: drums
    *Romeo Williams: Bass
    *Marlena Jeter: Backing vocals
    *Natalie Jackson: Backing vocals
    *Mortonette Jenkins: Backing vocals
    *Programming: Peter Iversen


    *Produced by Chris Thomas
    *Engineered by David Nicholas & Karl Lever
    *Mastered by Greg Fulginiti US

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