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Sleeping with the Past

Sleeping with the Past

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Sleeping with the Past is the twenty-second studio album
Studio album
A studio album is an album made up of tracks recorded in the controlled environment of a recording studio. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation or reissue album of previously recorded material, or...

 by British singer/songwriter Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

, released on 29 August 1989. It is his best-selling album in Denmark (where it was recorded for tax purposes) and is dedicated to his longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin
Bernie Taupin
Bernard John "Bernie" Taupin is an English lyricist, poet, and singer, best known for his long-term collaboration with Elton John, writing the lyrics for the majority of the star's songs, making his lyrics some of the best known in pop-rock's history.In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement in...

. This album featured his first solo number one single, "Sacrifice", in his home country of the United Kingdom, which helped the album also hit number one there. John and Taupin meant for the songs to reflect the style of 1960s R&B icons such as Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke, whom they admired. It also became his first platinum album in UK since 1983's Too Low for Zero
Too Low for Zero
Too Low for Zero is the 17th studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1983. For the first time since Blue Moves in 1976, all lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin, who has continued in this role to the present day. At the insistence of Taupin, John decided to go back to...

. Guy Babylon made his debut on this album and would continue to play keyboards with John for the next 20 years. Fred Mandel
Fred Mandel
Fred Mandel is a keyboard player and guitarist.Mandel became involved in music from an early age. He started playing the piano and age 4 and picked up the guitar aged 8...

 left the band shortly after. John went into rehabilitation in 1990.

Background


With renewed creativity after 1988's Reg Strikes Back
Reg Strikes Back
Reg Strikes Back is the twenty-first studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1988. It was his self-proclaimed comeback album, and his own way of fighting back against bad press. The "Reg" in Reg Strikes Back refers to Elton John's birth name, Reginald Kenneth Dwight. This...

, Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

 and Bernie Taupin
Bernie Taupin
Bernard John "Bernie" Taupin is an English lyricist, poet, and singer, best known for his long-term collaboration with Elton John, writing the lyrics for the majority of the star's songs, making his lyrics some of the best known in pop-rock's history.In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement in...

 sought to create a cohesive album that had maintained a consistent theme. They decided to pay tribute to the R&B sound of the 1960s and 1970s who inspired them as youths. Taupin would listen to 60s 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. John would then use Taupin'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.

In addition to "Sacrifice" and "Healing Hands", which were singles in both the U.K. and U.S., the songs "Whispers" and "Blue Avenue" were released as singles in parts of Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

. "Whispers" reached #11 in France, whilst "Blue Avenue" managed to reach the Top 75 in the Netherlands.

Like "Reg Strikes Back" the previous year, of note is the lowering of John's vocal register. While he does hit higher, falsetto notes on songs such as "Stone's Throw From Hurtin'" and "Blue Avenue", after this album he would write in keys more suited to his new vocal range, and trips to upper register would become few and far between.

Wynnona Judd recorded a contemporary country music cover version of "Stone's Throw from Hurtin'" which was featured in the 1992 film Leap of Faith
Leap of Faith (film)
Leap of Faith is a 1992 American dramedy film, directed by Richard Pearce and starring Steve Martin, Liam Neeson and Debra Winger. The film is about Jonas Nightengale, a fraudulent Christian faith healer who uses his revival meetings, in Rustwater, Kansas, to bilk believers out of their money.-Plot...

starring Steve Martin.

Sinead O'Connor recorded a cover version of "Sacrifice" for the 1991 Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin is a 1991 tribute album consisting of interpretations of sixteen songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The title refers to the song on Elton John's album 21 at 33, "Two Rooms at the End of the World", to the duo's unusual...

tribute album.

Track listing


All songs written by Elton John/Bernie Taupin. (Published By Big Pig Music Ltd.)

Side one

  1. "Durban Deep" – 5:32
  2. "Healing Hands
    Healing Hands (song)
    "Healing Hands" was the final hit single of the 1980s for British pop-star Elton John, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and recorded on his million-selling 1989 album Sleeping with the Past. The single was released during the late-summer of 1989, and was a top-twenty hit in the US...

    " – 4:21
  3. "Whispers" – 5:30
  4. "Club at the End of the Street
    Club at the End of the Street
    "Club at the End of the Street" is an up-beat song performed by Elton John. From the album Sleeping with the Past, the song describes a night on the town between two lovers at a disclosed nightclub. John also describes about the music of Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye being played...

    " – 4:49
  5. "Sleeping with the Past
    Sleeping with the Past (song)
    "Sleeping with the Past" is the title track from British pop-rock performer Elton John's 1989 album, Sleeping with the Past. The song's message is to let the past go and not live in it anymore. The song, like all tracks on the album, was inspired by 60's R&B with the main influence being The...

    " – 4:58

Side two

  1. "Stones Throw From Hurtin'
    Stones Throw From Hurtin'
    "Stones Throw from Hurtin" is a track from British pop-rock performer Elton John's 1989 album, Sleeping with the Past. The songs tells about that sometimes people have to let stuff they once loved go if they can't get it and that some things can never get better.Winona Judd's contemporary country...

    " – 4:55
  2. "Sacrifice" – 5:09
  3. "I Never Knew Her Name" – 3:32
  4. "Amazes Me" – 4:39
  5. "Blue Avenue" – 4:21

Bonus tracks (1999 Polygram International reissue)

  1. "Dancing in the End Zone" – 3:55
  2. "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 10 seconds longer).

Reception


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 1980s.

Despite the critical judgment of the album, it became his highest-selling studio album in the UK, being certified 3×Platinum and spawned his first solo # 1 hit in his home country.

B-sides

Song Format
"Sad Songs (Say So Much)" (Live) "Healing Hands" CD (UK)
"Dancing in the End Zone" "Healing Hands" 12"/CD (UK), 7" (US/UK)
"Love Is a Cannibal" "Sacrifice" 12"/CD (UK), 7" (US/UK)
"Give Peace a Chance" "Club at the End of the Street" 7"/12"/CD (UK)
"I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" (Live) "Club at the End of the Street" 12"/CD (UK)
"Healing Hands" (Eltone Mix) "Healing Hands" 12" (UK)
"Healing Hands" (Shep Pettibone Remix aka The Healing Hands Mix) "Healing Hands" 12" (UK)

Personnel

  • Elton John
    Elton John
    Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

    : piano, keyboards, vocals, backing vocals
  • Guy Babylon
    Guy Babylon
    Guy Babylon was a keyboardist/composer, most noted for his work with Elton John.Babylon was born in New Windsor, Maryland. Growing up listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Yes and Gentle Giant, he attended Francis Scott Key High School and then moved on to the University of South Florida,...

    : keyboards
  • Davey Johnstone
    Davey Johnstone
    Davey Johnstone , is a Scottish rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John.-Career:...

    : guitar, backing vocals
  • Fred Mandel
    Fred Mandel
    Fred Mandel is a keyboard player and guitarist.Mandel became involved in music from an early age. He started playing the piano and age 4 and picked up the guitar aged 8...

    : guitar, keyboards, organ
    Organ (music)
    The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

  • Romeo Williams: bass
  • Jonathan Moffett: drums
  • Vince Denham: saxophone
    Saxophone
    The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

  • Marlena Jeter: backing vocals
  • Natalie Jackson: backing vocals
  • Mortonette Jenkins: backing vocals
  • Peter Iversen: Fairlight
    Fairlight CMI
    The Fairlight CMI is a digital sampling synthesizer. It was designed in 1979 by the founders of Fairlight, Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie, and based on a dual-6800 microprocessor computer designed by Tony Furse in Sydney, Australia...

     & Audiofile programming

Credits

  • Produced by Chris Thomas
    Chris Thomas (record producer)
    Chris Thomas is an English record producer who has worked extensively with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Badfinger, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Pulp and The Pretenders. He has also produced breakthrough albums for The Sex Pistols and INXS.Thomas is quoted as saying -Early life:Thomas was...

  • Engineered by David Nicholas, Karl Lever and Mike Nicholson
  • Mastered by Greg Fulginiti
    Greg Fulginiti
    Gregory Fulginiti is an American recording and mastering engineer.In a career spanning three decades, Fulginiti was nominated for the TEC Awards by Mix magazine 6 times, earned 175 Gold and Platinum Awards, 25 Multi-Platinum Awards, 100 Number One recordings, 135 Grammy nominees, including the...

     (US)

Chart positions

Chart (1989/90) Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart
ARIA Charts
The ARIA charts are the main Australian music sales charts, issued weekly by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The charts are a record of the highest selling singles and albums in various genres in Australia. ARIA commenced compiling its own charts in-house from the week ending 26 June...

2
Austrian Albums Chart 5
Dutch Mega Albums Chart
MegaCharts
MegaCharts is responsible for the composition and exploitation of a broad collection of official charts in the Netherlands, of which the Mega Top 50 and the Mega Album Top 100 are the most known ones. Mega Charts also provides information to the Stichting Nederlandse Top 40, of which the Dutch Top...

5
French SNEP Albums Chart  2
German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Media Control Albums Chart 
9
Italian Albums Chart 6
New Zealand Albums Chart  1
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart
VG-lista
VG-listen is a Norwegian record chart. It is weekly presented in the newspaper VG and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation program Topp 20. It is considered the primary Norwegian record chart, charting albums and singles from countries and continent around the world. The data is collected by...

7
Swedish Albums Chart
Sverigetopplistan
Sverigetopplistan, earlier known as Topplistan and Hitlistan and other names, is since October 2007 the Swedish national record chart, based on sales data from Swedish Recording Industry Association ....

23
Swiss Albums Chart
Swiss Music Charts
The Swiss Music Charts are Switzerland's main music sales charts. The charts are a record of the highest-selling singles and albums in various genres in Switzerland.The Swiss Charts include:* Singles Top 75...

1
UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

 
1
United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

21

Year-end charts

Chart (1989) Position
Canadian Albums Chart
RPM (magazine)
RPM was a Canadian music industry publication that featured song and album charts for Canada. The publication was founded by Walt Grealis in February 1964, supported through its existence by record label owner Stan Klees. RPM ceased publication in November 2000.RPM stood for "Records, Promotion,...

63
Italian Albums Chart 11
Swiss Albums Chart 23
Chart (1990) Position
Australian Albums Chart 8
UK Albums Chart 9


Certifications