"Journey to the Past" is a song written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty for the 1997 animated film Anastasia. The song was originally recorded by actress Liz Callaway to be included in the film and was later re-recorded by singer Aaliyah as an pop-R&B single to promote the soundtrack.The pop single version samples Michael Jackson's "Human Nature". It became a moderately successful pop hit in the UK. "Journey to the Past" was also nominated for an award for Best Original Song at the ceremony that year. The song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released it only received minor Hot Adult Contemporary airplay in the U.S. It stayed on the chart for only 4 weeks. The song was released to U.S. radio on April 1, 1998 as the soundtracks second single.
Aaliyah performed "Journey to the Past" at the 1998 Academy Awards, becoming the youngest African-American woman to perform in the awards show's history.
The music video begins in a modern-day American neighborhood on a seemingly warm day. Aaliyah is seen singing in the windows of a small grocery store and on the street where children are playing. Tying in to the theme of going back to the past, Aaliyah goes back and forth from the real modern-day world to the animated world of Russia in the 1920s, the time in which Anastasia is set. She is then seen in several of the movie's iconic scenes such as balancing on a log with Anastasia behind her, out in the snow where the "Journey to the Past" song is featured in the film, in the ballroom in the "Once Upon a December" sequence, ascending the lift in the Eiffel Tower (the "Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)" scene) and on stage in the Russian ballet scene. The fountains of Jardins du Trocadéro can be seen briefly. The music video ends with her sitting on the rooftop seemingly overlooking the final scene in which Dimitri and Anya kiss and finally on the clouds above St. Petersburg with the children.