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"Restless"
Song by Elton John

from the album Breaking Hearts

Released June, 1984
Recorded December 1983-January 1984
Genre Rock and roll, piano rock
Length 5:17
Label Geffen Records (US and Canada)
Rocket Records (rest of the world)
Writer Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer Chris Thomas
Breaking Hearts track listing
"Restless"
(1)
"Slow Down Georgie (She's Poison)"
(2)

"Restless" is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It was the opening track off his 1984 album, Breaking Hearts.

Contents

Musical structure

The song is basically a rock and roll song. A steady 4/4 beat drives the song, accompagnied by guitar solo and bass that follows the piano pattern. The studio version features a heavy load of synthesizers, giving the song a more 'updated' feel than the original demo, which was more piano-driven. The song is more than five minutes long, which got panned by critics as it is very similar throughout the whole song.

Lyrical meaning

The song is almost political. At the time of its release, it was the height of the Cold War, and the lyrics describe that the people are "Searching for something that just ain't there". There are also mentions of that the "Walls have ears" and "Big Brother's watching". This links to the novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which both lines actually exists, curiously in the same year as the song was released. It could also be a pun on the German Democratic Republic, which at the time had surveillance similar to that of the novel. Taupin also writes that they're "Breaking down doors in foreign countries", which was the fall of communism. It had begun to take place shortly after the song's release.

Performances

The song was performed for the first time in the spring of 1984. It was a live staple up and until 1986. On stage John would often introduce the song as a "rock and roll number", and the live versions are much faster and piano-based than the studio version. One of the live versions were eventually released as the B-side to "Wrap Her Up", and now appears as one of the bonus tracks on his next album, 1985's Ice on Fire.

The song appeared in the episode "To Hull and Back" of Only Fools and Horses in a scene set in the Nag's Head at the beginning. The song starts playing while Uncle Albert is talking to his female friend and can still be heard when Boycie and Dell are in the back room.

Personnel

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