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Music / Sade

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The core band members.note 
Diamond life, lover boy
He move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy
City lights and business nights
When you require streetcar desire for higher heights
— "Smooth Operator"

Sade (pronounce "shah-DAY") is an English band formed in 1982 and named after their lead singer, Sade Adu. The band's music features elements of soul, jazz, R&B, quiet storm, new wave, soft rock, funk, easy listening and adult contemporary music. They achieved success from the 1980s onward, ultimately selling more than 75 million units worldwidenote , and all of their albums (including compilations and a live album) have charted in the US Top 10.

The band was created from the ashes of the funk band Pride by four members of that band: Sade Adu, saxophonist/guitarist Stuart Mathewman, bassist Paul Denman and drummer Paul Anthony Cooke. Keyboard player Andrew Hale joined in mid-1983, and Dave Early replaced Cooke on drums after he left midway through the recording of the band's 1984 debut album Diamond Life; following Early's departure in 1985, they have since hired session drummers or used drum machines. Sade herself is the only woman in the band and the only person to appear on the band's album and single covers (the full band appear in their videos, though they are often Demoted to Extra).

Sade made such an impression during their first live shows that A&R agents lined the front row seats of their concerts in order to sign them to their label; they eventually signed with Epic, who gave Sade an unusually large percentage of royalties in their contract.

The band have won four Grammy Awards: Best New Artist in 1986, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1994 for "No Ordinary Love", Best Pop Vocal Album in 2002 for Lovers Rock, and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2011 for "Soldier of Love".

Mathewman, Denman and Hale continue to work in the music industry during Sade's downtime, and even formed their own similar band titled Sweetback, which has released two albums during the breaks between Sade's last three albums.

Not to be confused with the Marquis de Sade.


  • Diamond Life (1984)
  • Promise (1985)
  • Stronger than Pride (1988)
  • Love Deluxe (1992)
  • Lovers Rock (2000)
  • Soldier of Love (2010)

Notable Songs:

  • "Your Love Is King"
  • "Hang on to Your Love"
  • "Smooth Operator"
  • "The Sweetest Taboo"
  • "Is It a Crime"
  • "King of Sorrow"
  • "Never as Good as the First Time"
  • "Paradise"
  • "No Ordinary Love"
  • "Nothing Can Come Between Us"
  • "Cherish the Day"
  • "Bullet Proof Soul"
  • "Kiss of Life"
  • "Feel No Pain"
  • "Keep Looking"
  • "I Never Thought I'd See the Day" — Some probably remember this song from the beginning part of the strip tease Jamie Lee Curtis gave in True Lies.

The Sweetest Tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: Diamond Life on "Smooth Operator." (See the page quote).
  • Epic Rocking: Has a few of these, most notably "No Ordinary Love" at seven minutes.
  • Face on the Cover: All of their albums.
  • Genre Roulette: Though Sade falls squarely under Quiet Storm-inspired contemporary R&B, there are elements of soft rock, jazz, dub reggae and soul blended into every other song or so.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "Siempre Hay Esperanza," which means "there's always hope" in Spanish.
  • I Am the Band: Given the band is named after her and that she's the sole member to appear on most promotional material and album covers, it's not uncommon to meet people who think she's a solo act.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The same members (Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale, and Paul Denman) since 1984, when founding member Paul Anthony Cooke left.
  • Male Band, Female Singer: The band members are all men, and the frontwoman is Sade.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Love Deluxe, Diamond Life, and Promise.
  • Only One Name: Sade, after the lead singer.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sade herself, who's full name is Helen Folasade Adu.
  • One-Woman Song: "Sally," "Maureen," and "Jezebel."
  • Runaway Bride: The video for "No Ordinary Love," which shows Sade running through the city streets in a wedding dress.
  • Sexy Packaging: The Love Deluxe cover shows Sade sensually embracing herself while topless.
  • The Something Song: "Slave Song."
  • Twofer Token Minority: Not really a "token," but the rest of the band members are white Englishmen while Sade herself is a black Nigerian-English woman.