Sleeping with the Past
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|Sleeping with the Past|
|Studio album by Elton John|
|Released||29 March 1989|
|Studio||Puk Recording Studios, Randers, Denmark|
|Elton John chronology|
|Singles from Sleeping with the Past|
|Los Angeles Times|||
Sleeping with the Past is the 22nd studio album by the English singer-songwriter Elton John, released on 29 April 1989. It is his best-selling album in Denmark (where it was recorded) and is dedicated to his longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin. The album features his first solo number-one single, "Sacrifice", in his home country of the UK, which helped the album also hit number one there, his first since 1974's Elton John's Greatest Hits. 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 the UK since 1983. In the US it was certified gold in October 1989 and platinum in April 1990 by the RIAA. Guy Babylon made his debut on this album and would continue to play keyboards with John for the next 20 years, while Fred Mandel left the band shortly after. John went into rehabilitation in 1990.
With renewed creativity after 1988's Reg Strikes Back, Elton John and Bernie Taupin sought to create a cohesive album that had maintained a consistent theme. Inspired by the success of Billy Joel's 1983 album An Innocent Man, they decided to pay a similar tribute to the R&B sound of the 1960s and '70s that 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 UK and US, the songs "Whispers" and "Blue Avenue" were released as singles in parts of Continental Europe. "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 "Stones Throw from Hurtin'" and "Blue Avenue", after this album he would write in keys more suited to his new vocal range, and trips to the upper register would become few and far between.
Sinéad O'Connor recorded a cover version of "Sacrifice" for the 1991 Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin tribute album.
This was John's first album since Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy with John and Taupin writing every song on the album without additional writing credits from others.
- "Durban Deep" – 5:29
- "Healing Hands" – 4:31
- "Whispers" – 5:28
- "Club at the End of the Street" – 4:52
- "Sleeping with the Past" – 4:54
- "Stones Throw from Hurtin'" – 4:45
- "Sacrifice" – 5:06
- "I Never Knew Her Name" – 3:29
- "Amazes Me" – 4:37
- "Blue Avenue" – 4:33
Bonus tracks (1999 Polygram International reissue)
- "Dancing in the End Zone" – 3:55
- "Love Is a Cannibal" – 3:53
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).
Sleeping with the Past received lukewarm reviews when the album was released in 1989. However, longtime fans of Elton John loved the album and deem it to be one of his best from the 1980s, often vying with 1983's Too Low for Zero as John's strongest album of the decade. After peaking at #6 in October 1989 on the UK Albums Chart, the re-release of "Sacrifice" as a double A-side with "Healing Hands" in June 1990, and that single's rise to the #1 spot, Sleeping with the Past was propelled back up the #1 position on the UK Albums Chart shortly afterwards.
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.
|"Sad Songs (Say So Much)" (Live in Verona)||"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 in Verona)||"Club at the End of the Street" 12"/CD (UK)|
|"Healing Hands" (Shep Pettibone Remix aka The Healing Hands Mix)||"Healing Hands" 12" (UK)|
- Elton John – keyboards, lead and harmony vocals, backing vocals (1)
- Guy Babylon – keyboards
- Davey Johnstone – guitar, backing vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
- Fred Mandel – keyboards (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10), guitar (1, 4, 8), organ (4), guitar solo (6)
- Romeo Williams – bass guitar
- Jonathan Moffett – drums
- Vince Denham – saxophone on "Club at the End of the Street"
- Marlena Jeter – backing vocals (tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
- Natalie Jackson – backing vocals (tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
- Mortonette Jenkins – backing vocals (tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
- Peter Iversen – Fairlight and Audiofile programming
- Produced by Chris Thomas
- Engineered by John "Puk" Quist and David Nicholas
- Engineering assistance by Karl Lever
- Mixed at Air Studios (London, England) and Puk Studios.
- Mastered by Greg Fulginiti at Artisan Sound Recorders (Hollywood, CA).
- Album Coordination: Steve Brown
- Studio Coordination: Adrian Collee and Dee Whelan
- Technicians: Tom Pearce (keyboards), Rick Salazar (guitars) and Terry Wade (drums).
- Design by Wherefore Art?
- Photography by Herb Ritts
- Management: John Reid, Birte Quist and John "Puk" Quist.
- Personal Assistance to Elton John: Bob Halley
|Australia (ARIA)||4× Platinum||280,000^|
|Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)||Gold||100,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|France (SNEP)||Platinum||387,100 *|
|Italy (FIMI)||4× Platinum||400,000*|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||2× Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||900,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- "American album certifications – Elton John – Sleeping with the Past". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.