Monday, November 27, 2017

"Smooth Operator" by Sade

Top 10 Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2235
Date:  03/02/1985
Debut:  83
Peak:  5
Weeks:  20
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary, Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  Helen Folasade Adu, aka Sade (pronounced SHAH-day), was born in Nigeria and later moved to England with her mother and brother when she was a young kid. After attending art school where she studied design, Sade began singing background vocals with a band called Pride. Soon she began writing songs with fellow band member Stuart Matthewman and would perform them with a few other Pride members prior to the full band taking the stage. The side band's popularity grew and soon they broke off on their own gaining a large following. By late '83, Sade was signed to Epic Records. The band began working on their debut album, Diamond Life, and released their first single in the UK, "You're Love is King." It hit #6 on the UK chart and got the ball rolling for them there. In the US, a different song titled "Hang On to Your Love" was selected as the band's first single. Although it got to #5 at Dance at #14 R&B, it failed to reach the Pop chart. However, that would change when this second single got issued. It took a little while for the song to catch on, but once it did it ended up hitting #1 AC, #5 R&B, #5 Pop, and #11 Dance. The hit, along with the band's jazzy R&B sound, helped the album reach #3 and over time it would eventually sell over four million copies.

ReduxReview:  Sade and this song just seemed so exotic and sophisticated at the time. Sade was certainly a stunning woman and that combined with the song and the associated video made you feel like you could actually be a part of the jet-set crowd. The band's sound and Sade's voice were certainly unique for Pop radio and the fact that they caught fire was quite something. Because they were unique, I thought for sure they'd be a one-hit wonder. Sometimes artists with different styles or sounds who hit it big disappear quickly because the fickle pop audience moves on to the next shiny thing. However, when Sade's second album came out, I knew they were gonna be sticking around. The band would have other hits, but this is the one that became their signature song.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Prior to becoming a singer, Sade studied fashion design for three years and also had a brief modeling career.  2) The success of Diamond Life earned Sade several awards including the Grammy for Best New Artist. In the UK, the album was chosen as the Best British Album at the Brit Awards (the UK's equivalent of the Grammys).


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