One of the biggest and most elusive British music acts of all time, but how much do you really know about Sade?
Part two – the 1990’s and beyond
by Mark Keen
“No Ordinary Love” heralded the return of Sade in 1992, with the video again directed by Sophie Muller, and featuring Sade as a mermaid.
Although a bit of a flop when first released in 1992 and going largely unnoticed, it did finally reach number 14 in the UK in 1993 after featuring on the soundtrack of ‘Indecent Proposal’ and won Sade a Grammy Award. Another bit of trivia here – Lisa Stansfield auditioned for the main role but lost out to Demi Moore!
The album “Love Deluxe” would hit the top 10 in the UK and the USA, and again selling 4 million copies there. It seemed like single success hardly mattered anymore, with the follow up singles not making much impact, but served by great videos directed by Albert Watson a renowned Scottish photographer.
Then would follow an eight year hiatus until the next studio album in 2000, although there was a successful greatest hits in 1994 “The Best of Sade”, a hit across the world. The only new track would be the sublime cover of “Please Send Me Someone To Love” which featured on the ‘Philadelphia’ film soundtrack.
Sade would make a great comeback in 2000 with the excellent “By Your Side” from “Lovers Rock” reaching the top 20 in the UK for the first time in seven years and only the fourth time ever for Sade. This would be her last single to reach the top 40 in the UK, and Sade would hardly trouble the USA single charts again. However, album success continued. “By Your Side” would be another collaboration with Sophie Muller who has directed all subsequent videos.
“Lovers Rock” hit the top 20 in the UK in 2000, but would go top 10 in the USA. Not bad after an eight year hiatus, during which Sade’s band worked with Maxwell (who would later do a great cover of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”). “Lovers Rock” would continue the multi platinum success and again selling close to four million copies in the USA.
Another single from the album would follow in 2001 with the release of “King Of Sorrow” which is well worth a spin. Again, a great video by Sophie Muller with those muted colours used so well in the Kylie videos of late. Filming it in Puerto Rico obviously helps with the atmosphere and the similarities with Kylie’s videos filmed a hop and a skip away in Havana!
Sade would manage another great return in 2010 with the Grammy winning sixth album “Soldier Of Love” returning her to the number one album slot in the USA and the top five in the UK. It was a triumphant return in many ways and really proved Sade’s staying power and finally getting critical approval, and gain selling nearly four million copies in the USA. The cover art was also by Sophie Muller – Sade and Kylie share excellent taste!
The single “Soldier Of Love” starts with the powerful “I’ve lost the use of my heart, but I’m still alive” and has an epic video giving Sade her biggest single hit in the USA for nearly twenty years. Again, the follow up singles “Babyfather” and “The Moon And The Sky” made little impact, not that it mattered. “Babyfather” had a great Sophie Muller video:
So what have we heard from Sade since 2010? Not a lot to be fair. Are we preparing for a record breaking hiatus to compete with Kate Bush? Another successful greatest hits appeared in 2011 entitled “The Ultimate Collection” reaching the top 10 in the UK and the USA. This included some previously unreleased tracks, such as “Still In Love With You” (a Thin Lizzy cover!), “Love Is Found” and some remixes. I can largely cope without the appearance of Jay-Z if I’m honest.
However, just as we were giving up hope some new music has appeared in 2018. “Flower Of The Universe” was featured in the movie ‘A Wrinkle In Time’. There’s a lyric video available:
Let’s hope this is a precursor to a new album. Sade has stood the test of time for over 35 years and their charms do pass many by (as my friend said today in the car “what is that racket”?!), but the multi-million selling albums suggest I am not alone. How many other artists can we name who have had such enduring success?