Welcome, once again, to TGJ Replay.
Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ features, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s newest retrospective segment – a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits.
As today marks the 36th anniversary of Sade‘s debut album, ‘Diamond Life,’ it’s only fitting we shine a spotlight on the sensational LP.
Join us inside:
Having already made a name for themselves in their native U.K., Sade – fronted by Nigerian-born British beauty Helen Folasade Adu – eyed making a similar splash across the pond in the U.S. Taking tunes from their debut album, ‘Diamond Life’ (which was recorded in just six weeks), the band brought their unique Jazz-Soul-Pop fusion to American shores.
‘Diamond Life’ birthed four singles: ‘Your Love is King,’ ‘When Am I Going to Make a Living,’ ‘Smooth Operator,’ and ‘Hang On to Your Love.’
‘Your Love is King’
Hot 100 Peak: #54
‘When Am I Going to Make a Living’
Hot 100 Peak: n/a
Hot 100 Peak: #5
‘Hang On to Your Love’
Hot 100 Peak: n/a
Released July 16, 1984, the album peaked at #5 in the United States and was certified 4x Platinum in the country and their native U.K. respectively. Yet, for all its commercial acclaim, said success was not mirrored critically at the time.
Sure, R&B lovers gravitated to the sultry, sophisticated sounds of Sade with relative ease and quickness, but industry critics of the day chided their style – some even branding it ‘inauthentic.’
On this side of history, ‘Diamond Life’ is regarded as the project that not only put them on the map by birthing their enduring signature hit, ‘Smooth Operator,’ but also made its lead singer a household name. Helping to lay the foundation for a new R&B sub-genre, affectionately called Quiet Storm, Adu and crew carved their own lane in an industry that was increasingly gliding toward younger listeners.
In an era that was calling more and more to the dancefloor (see: New Wave, Synth-Pop, British Pop Invasion, etc.), Sade dared to defy the domineering radio formats. And, as we celebrate the project nearly 40 years later, we see their pursuit proved triumphant.
While we jam out to ‘Your Love is King,’ tell us: