1989's Sleeping With The Past is famous for featuring "Sacrifice," Elton John's long-sought-after first solo UK No. 1. The success of the single in his home country eventually helped the album also hit No. 1 there almost a year after its release. Elton recorded the album in Denmark towards the end of 1988 and although it was a trying year – he entered rehab in 1990 – Sleeping With The Past is a record full of fine collaborations with Bernie Taupin. In honor of a friendship that was already some 22 years old, there was a dedication on the sleeve that read "This album's for you, Bernie..."
"Sacrifice" is, of course, the record's best-known track, followed by its eventual double A-side partner, the gospel-tinged "Healing Hands." But under the direction of producer Chris Thomas, Elton delivered some of his best work of the decade, both uptempo, such as on "Club At The End Of The Street" and slow (another gospel-flavored track, "Amazes Me").
The album also includes one of those relatively rare Elton tracks on which an unfamiliar listener might not guess the identity of the vocalist. He sang "Stone's Throw From Hurtin'" in a light falsetto to a light, breezy arrangement, and a great guitar solo by Fred Mandel. Then there's the elegant "Blue Avenue," another underrated ballad of the period. Elton and Bernie would together say in the album credits that "Sleeping" was inspired by "the soul pioneers of the ‘60s and ‘70s, whose music meant so much to us."