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Our favorite rarities from the queen of smooth soul jazz and one of the most iconic singers from the 1980s and 1990s, Sade.
Born in Ibadan, Nigeria to a British mother and a Nigerian father, Sade Adu moved to Essex, England with her mother after their parents divorced when she was four. She studied Art at Saint Martin’s, where she earned recognition as a talented fashion designer and model. While still studying, she eased into the spotight as a backup singer for the band Pride and kindled a musical partnership with the band’s guitarist and saxophonist, Stuart Matthewman. Together they wrote “Smooth Operator.” The rest is history.
“Sade deep cuts” might be a bit of an oxymoron; the British icon’s output is relatively scarce, with only six albums across four decades. All of her releases are well known — she is one of the most successful female artists in history, after all — but what follows is our attempt at highlighting some lesser-known Sade gems: B-sides, remixes and even some edits.
Make Some Room, 1988
“Make Some Room” is a B-side to the 12-inch single “Nothing Can Come Between Us,” the chart hit featured on her 1988 album Stronger Than Pride. A dreamy ambient techno tune with 909 rhythms, a rubbery 303 bassline and some chopped-up vocals, the track offers a sneak peek at the more electronic and downtempo sounds she would explore on her next LP, Love Deluxe.
Cherish the Day (Sade Remix), 1993
The release of “Cherish the Day” was followed shortly thereafter by a remix 12-inch and CD. It opens with this lovely extended remix by Sade herself and also features an even more downtempo remix by Larry Levan protege and house legend Pal Joey.
The B-side to Sade’s most popular tune “Smooth Operator” is one of her most banging party songs. Left off the album and appearing only on the single, “Spirit” features a thick slap bass groove with syncopated guitar licks and anthemic vocals. “Let the spirit move me, keep it coming to me. Feel it running through me, gotta keep the faith!”
Love Is Stronger Than Pride (Mad Professor’s Lovers-Rock Reggae Remix), 1993
An excellent dub rendition by one of its leading figures and the head of the Ariwa label, Mad Professor, this remix was featured on the Deluxe Remix Album, which was issued on CD and a very limited 10-inch in Japan.
By Your Side (Neptunes Remix), 2000
Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo’s production team the Neptunes took a heavy MPC beat stab at the Sade classic. It is one of the very few remixes Sade ever made official by featuring it on a 12-inch single. One YouTube commenter wrote “This sounds even more Sade-like than the original version” and we agree!
Super Bien Total (Extended Mix), 1988
“Super Bien Total” is an instrumental B-side featured on the “Love is Stronger Than Pride” single. The rolling bassline and percussion are locked in perfectly here and build a kind of hypnotic groove that extends across the entire track. We highly recommend getting the 12-inch extended version, a quintessential Balearic groover.