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Diamond Life

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Editors’ Notes

English R&B hasn't often found a toehold in the music's original home, but American fans almost immediately grasped for Sade's billowing, intoxicating sound. The Nigerian transplant's first album, Diamond Life, benefited from the uber-glamorous singles "Smooth Operator" and "Your Love Is King," while also underscoring the singer and her band's roots in funk. "Hang On to Your Love," for instance, is as much at home on the dance floor as in the boudoir, and a cover of Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" is a righteous tribute to one of the early '70s' most memorable singles. Often considered a smooth-jazz artist, and certainly one of the format's rulers, Sade on her debut also feels a lot like an influence on the neo-soul movement that would follow.

Customer Reviews

The queen of soul

Obnoxious iTunes review. Typical idiotic comments from a mainstream “critic” who never understood Sade’s music. I have never thought of Sade as a Jazz singer. That moniker was placed on her by smug critics who didn’t know any better. Fans love her because she is quietly passionate and intense. A complex chanteuse who bares her soul in her music yet somehow maintains a sense of poise and mystery. She has no equivalent anywhere else in the music industry. No grandstanding, stupid antics, or ridiculous vocal gymnastics. Just deeply soulful music about life and love’s little truths.

As if I-Tunes Knew Jazz . . .

As a professional musician working the 'Vegas scene in the '80s, pop music was a quirky pleasure at the time. Even Miles Davis recognized this (covering Lauper's Time After Time). There was a variety of music that didn't yet segregate itself into mutually exclusive genres by race, class, or online snobbery. Sade sang torchy songs that when combined with the visuals in her videos of a woman emboding pathos spurned, you couldn't help but fall in love. As musicians, we never felt as if she were pretending to be a poor man's jazz artist; rather we appreciated the positive influence of our music on the radiowaves. Sade did have her musical problems (singing in tune being one); but cynicism aside, many an 80's night was lit by incense, fed by sushi, and sung into the bedroom by this album. Let I-Tunes sing the praises of Kenny G, the rest of us will simply appreciate the gift of a chanteuse who sang in the right place at the right time.

No skips

I never skip a single song on any of Sade's albums and they never get old. 'Nuf said.


Formed: 1983 in England

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When singer Sade and her band of the same name were establishing themselves, their record company, Epic, made a point of printing "Pronounced Shar-day" on the record labels of their releases. Soon enough, the music had no problem with the correct pronunciation. With the breakthrough Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten single "Smooth Operator" propelling the debut Sade album, Diamond Life, to the same spot on the Billboard 200 chart in 1985, the band fast came to epitomize soulful, adult-oriented, sophisti-pop....
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