Passengers (Elton John song)

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Single by Elton John
from the album Breaking Hearts
B-side"Lonely Boy"
ReleasedAugust 1984 (1984-08)
RecordedDecember 1983
Genre worldbeat
  • 3:24 (7-inch single)
  • 5:42 (12-inch single)
LabelRocket (UK)
Producer(s)Chris Thomas
Elton John singles chronology
"Sad Songs (Say So Much)"
"Who Wears These Shoes"

Passengers is a song by Elton John that appears on his 1984 album Breaking Hearts.

The song reached number five on the UK chart, and reached the top ten in Australia, but was not released as a single in the US. It was composed by John, Bernie Taupin and Davey Johnstone. The music for the song was largely based on a South African folk tune called 'Isonto Lezayone', which was recorded in 1963 by Phineas Mkhize. The whistle riff and chorus melody are borrowed from this piece, and Mkhize is given a songwriting credit for the song on this basis. 'Passengers' had the most co-writers for an original Elton John song at that point, only to be out-done by John's "Wrap Her Up" from the following year. It has been suggested that Taupin's lyric has an anti-apartheid message behind it.[1]

John performed the song live during his 1985 tour of the UK, with a slightly re-arranged version of the track, making use of the brass section he utilized for the tour. The song has seemingly been discarded by John, having not been played live since then, as of 2019.

The song was included on his 1990 UK release 'The Very Best of Elton John', but has not been included on any compilation since.

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Simon Milne, was filmed in St. Tropez, France. The video featured a cameo appearance by Bernie Taupin. As was the case for many of the songs in this time period, John appears without his trademark glasses, and does not play piano.