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It’s Sade’s birthday! How would you configure a Diamond Life reissue?

Happy birthday to Sade Adu who is 59 today!

It got me thinking about the debut of Sade‘s (the band) debut album Diamond Life which was released in July 1984 (although it wasn’t issued until early 1985 in America). The album was a massive hit, going multi-platinum on both sides of the Atlantic and reaching number one in many countries. It won the Best British Album gong at the 1985 Brit Awards.

Remarkably, Diamond Life has never been expanded and issued as a deluxe edition/box set and thus many tracks from this era remain unreleased on CD. These include early B-sides like Spirit and two extended versions of Smooth Operator which segue with Snakebite and Redeye, respectively. Curiously, the Snakebite extended version was on the B-side to the 12-inch of Sade’s first single Your Love Is King. That didn’t stop the song becoming the third single and reaching number five in the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 1985.

Adu appears to take the Madonna approach to album reissues – ‘not interested’ – which is a real shame given that Diamond Life is such an iconic and successful album of that era.

So the question is, what are your favourite tracks on the album and what would you like to see on a reissue? Consider live material and video footage in addition to rare audio. Leave a comment with your thoughts and suggestions. Next year will be the 35th anniversary, so we live in hope!

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62 responses to It’s Sade’s birthday! How would you configure a Diamond Life reissue?

  1. Edu says:

    Killer blow, from Absolute Begginers soundtrack should be included as bonus too as it was recorded at the same time as the album…

  2. DuncanS says:

    A Hi-Res 5.1 mix on Blu-ray would make it worth buying, as it adds something new to what you are purchasing (again) otherwise its really just a repackaging exercise.

  3. RJStevene says:

    All these suggestions sound great. I think the suggestion that this hasn’t been reissued as a deluxe because of the original drummer being dropped can’t be the main reason, as none of Sade’s albums have been reissued as deluxe sets, including the ones Paul Cooke wasn’t on. If it’s a lack of interest on Sade Adu’s part I’m pretty sure either Stuart Matthewman or Andrew Hale would be very willing as they both seem to keep finding things to keep musically active while Sade Adu takes her long breaks.
    All the extra tracks mentioned would be great. My favourite track is Love Affair With Life, which is the real song that hooked me onto Sade. I have a bootleg cd of a live show of the era that has this as the encore. It’s very good quality so assume it’s from the soundboard, so this could be included too.

  4. Marc says:

    Not really directly relevant but seeing this brought back memories. In the 80’s I won a framed gold disc for this album in a Radio 1 competition. I received a package that was basically wrapped in paper & not surprisingly it was wrecked. After speaking with the Radio 1 controller it was remade and I still have it. Susannah Hoffs was a guest on a show on the day I called & I cheekily asked the controller for her autograph which I got & also still have. Those were the days!!

  5. poptones says:

    Yep. If Paul was involved in the project of a Diamond Life Super Deluxe Edition (if there’s even one to begin with), he would have access to all the material recorded at the time circa 1983-1984 (including demos, live versions, unreleased mixes, etc.) and wouldn’t need us for it.

    From what I read, Sade recorded demos at BBC Studios and EMI before signing to Epic. Sade dated BBC radio presenter Robert Elms in the early 80s. In an interview with the Guardian a few years back, producer Robin Millar said Sade gave him homemade four-track demos of Your Love Is King and Smooth Operator that sounded like a funk band playing free jazz. For the album, Millar recorded 15 tracks in six weeks and Sade insisted on cutting the album down to the nine tracks in which she most believed. I’d love to hear all those demos.

  6. Enrico G. says:

    Hey, Paul, any chance you are collaborating for the deluxe edition of DL and want our opinion to help for the tracklist???

  7. Chris2 says:

    Sorry, double post because I thought comments are added at the bottom :)

  8. Chris2 says:

    I would love to see a high res 5.1 and stereo mix on blu ray. Like the wonderful xtc reissues.

  9. Poptones says:

    I love Sade. I really like R.E.M. Automatic For The People SDE. Ovrrpriced but the content is superb so a similar package (remastered album + demos + a live cd + bluray) for Sade’s first album would be great.

    The live at Hammersmith Odeon december 1984, recorded and pressed (only 100 copies) by BBC Transcription Service, has never seen a commercial release so they could include this live set in a Deluxe Version of Diamond Life.

  10. voxstarstream says:

    Hope a new tour is in the works!

  11. bob says:

    I can remember seeing Sade at the Royalty nightclub in Southgate North London with her first band Pride. This was peak early 80’s dressing up clubbing era.
    The band split, most members went on to form the band Animal Nightlife, and Sade went solo.
    I have always thought that Sade has had the perfect career. Releases an album every decade or so which goes top 5 everywhere, maybe does a tour on the back of it, but has managed to remain totally anonymous with none of the crap that mega success can bring.
    I have never seen her on a chat show, she rarely gives an interview, but has managed to maintain a long and successful career.
    And of course we shouldnt forget that Sade is a band.

  12. It’s also Ethel Merman’s birthday. And mine. I say it’s my birthday—happy birthday to me!

  13. Chris2 says:

    I would love to see a high res 5.1 and stereo issue on blu ray.

  14. Murray says:

    I’d be happy to consider a re-issue if it didn’t have that awful American “pronounced SHAR-day” suggestion printed on it. Dang, but that’s harsh on the ears and, if I’m correct, plain incorrect.

  15. Patrick says:

    One thing I would say is that this is a rare example to my ear where a remaster job would be able to achieve very little. Reason is that the original mastering job is so air tight and flawless that it wouldn’t need much at all. I have an original issue CD and I have to say in my opinion it is the gold standard of how a CD should sound (at least for its time) I’m sure others may disagree with this point and this is not to say it wouldn’t be worth doing.
    Certainly be nice to hear any extra tracks but I cannot see Sade digging up her four track demos for our perusal. Still, if she or the band is not interested in reissue projects I am sure that there are people who are passionate enough about this music and who have the skills who could be trusted to take the helm. Prefab Sprouts catalogue has also suffered in this way though with only ‘Steve Mcqueen’ ever being properly reissued.

  16. SimonP says:

    Too many similar tracks on these suggested listings. Who needs five different edits of one track? Especially one after the other. A single CD with a few bonus tracks is all that is required here and a deluxe version with a DVD for those who’d want such a thing.

    As for me, I picked up a two disc best of for 2 quid in Age UK the other day. That will suffice.

    PS, for those that like this type of jazz pop, Thomas Lang’s debut was rereleased a couple of months back. A good mix of edits, b sides and live tracks.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      John’s 2CD+DVD wasn’t as you described. I don’t think most Sade fans have waited almost 35 years for a single CD with a few bonus tracks bunged on the end!

    • John says:

      If my CD2 ever saw the light of day you could say it’s “a good mix of edits, b sides and 12″s”. If it’s good enough for Thomas Lang, it’s good enough for Sade… :)

      • SimonP says:

        Fair enough, it was another post I had just read when I posted that. To be fair, the title does ask what the readers think, so I gave my opinion, but I’m happy for others to disagree with mine.

  17. Jon J says:

    It’s been sneered at by many a superior music critic ever since its release, but Diamond Life still sounds terrific today. Almost uniformally excellent, although I could never get into their cover of ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ (I much preferred their take on ‘Be Thankful for What You’ve Got’ that they played live around this time). ‘Your Love is King’ has to be the top of the tree though – just an outstanding song.

    There would definitely be interest in a decent expanded reissue of this album – there are all of those great B-sides like ‘Should I Love You?’ and ‘Spirit’ that have still yet to appear on CD – but I’m not sure if it’ll ever come to pass. It might be down to record company/artist disinterest, but there’s also some long-running friction with former drummer Paul Cooke, who was sacked just as they were hitting the big time, but who features on some of the album tracks and B-sides. He’s spent the last 20 years trying to sue the band and Sony Music as he claims he is owed royalties from the album. He’s never gotten anywhere with this and if you read any of his online messages about it, he doesn’t sound like the most rational of people, but presumably this might explain why there’s a reluctance to put out any reissue containing material to which he might have some claim.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Obviously it’s a cover, but I’ve always really liked Why Can’t We Live Together. There’s a 3.47 edit of this track from “Nite Flights 2” that I would include in a Diamond Life deluxe.

  18. elliott buckingham says:

    I wouldn’t could never get into her but years ago when I was a soap watcher someone was playing a sade cd and it sounded quite good poss late 90s-2000s

  19. Martyn Alner says:

    Never mind Sade, Paul Hardcastle’s debut album from 1985 needs a ‘proper’ reissue. :)

  20. Livio says:

    A deluxe edition with pre-SADE music too (played by the music group called PRIDE where Helen Sade Adu sang) would be a great discover. There are some unreleased interesting 1982 live tracks as “Manhandled by Pride”, “Ecstasy”, “Snake Bite”, “Cry Me A River” and “When You Can’t Back Down” which could be published for the joy of everyone.

  21. Tim-Meh says:

    Didn’t the BBC broadcast a concert from the Montreux Jazz Festival in 84/85? That could be a good inclusion.

  22. John says:

    A 2CD/DVD package:

    CD1 (original album):

    Smooth Operator (4:15)
    Your Love Is King (3:41)
    Hang On To Your Love (5:55)
    Frankie’s First Affair (4:39)
    When Am I Going To Make A Living (3:27)
    Cherry Pie (6:20)
    Sally (5:23)
    I Will Be Your Friend (4:45)
    Why Can’t We Live Together (5:28)
    Love Affair With Life (4:35) (from original cassette edition)

    CD2 (12″, edits and b-sides):

    Smooth Operator/Snake Bite (7:28)
    Your Love Is King (12″ Version) (3:58)
    Hang On To Your Love (7″ Radio Edit) (3:58)
    Cherry Pie (US 7″ Edit) (4:25)
    Should I Love You (3:50)
    Spirit (5:28)
    Red Eye (3:18)
    Hang On To Your Love (US 7″ Version) (4:21)
    Smooth Operator (12″ Version) (5:25)
    Hang On To Your Love (US Remix) (5:13)

    DVD:

    Your Love Is King (Video)
    When Am I Going To Make A Living (Video)
    Smooth Operator (Video)
    Hang On To Your Love (Video)
    Montreux Jazz Festival 1984 (Smooth Operator, Hang On To Your Love, Your Love Is King)
    Live Aid (Why Can’t We Live Together, Your Love Is King, Is It A Crime)
    The Tonight Show (Smooth Operator, Sweetest Taboo)

    • Tom Richardson says:

      Perfect!

    • Michael says:

      Looks great to me and I’d like to see an insert booklet with a detailed interview about the recording session. A real landmark album, very worthy of an update, and preferably packaged like those great Blancmage reissues from last year.

    • Charlie Shine says:

      Great Tracks list. Agree!

    • cdmaniac says:

      Great choices!
      I always love the B-side Spirit!!!
      Weren’t there 2 different edits of the Smooth Operator video?
      I’d like both Plus TOTP performances

  23. Chris Squires says:

    As Mike the Fish says a single disc re-issue of this would be a total waste of time. Given it’ll be 180g and new it’s like the Oxfam Gold Standards of Stars, No Parlez, Alf and No Jacket Required.

    You can pick up a copy that’ll clean up nicely for a few quid. Do it once and do it properly with a 2, 3 or 4 slab of vinyl set like Pure McCartney or Misplaced childhood or a 2 or 3 CD / DVD set with a nice slice of well made vinyl included. For £40 to £50 each Fleetwood Mac style would be an instant seller. Do they not want our money?

  24. Auntie Sabrina says:

    The cassette version had Smooth Operator segued into Snakebite as the first track with Love Affair With Life as the track 10. Best track for me is Hang On To Your Love. One of those 80s albums that seemed to be played in every clothes store you went in.

    • Kauwgompie says:

      Haha, so true! I remember not being that much into Sade in the 80’s (I was a New Wave fan), and walking into a clothing store and they were blasting Diamond Life from these huge speakers and it sounded so good! I thought I’m going to get this album!

      I like a nice SDE box with all the 12″ mixes and b-sides, the BBC concert, and of course a blu-ray 5.1 mix. Sounds like there is plenty of material.

      I remember that at the press conference for “Lotusflow3r”, Prince said he couldn’t wait that long for the next Sade album so he made one himself. That was the Bria Valente album that was included with the “Lotusflow3r” album. It didn’t sound like Sade at all and wasn’t very good I though. Ma be I should give it another listen.

  25. Tom Richardson says:

    There are these – any more??

    Your Love Is King (Longer Version) 3:58
    Love Affair with Life (recorded live) (Your Love Is King b side)
    Should I Love You (When Am I Going to Make a Living b side)

    Smooth Operator 5:25
    Spirit (Smooth Operator b side)
    Red Eye (Smooth Operator b side)
    Smooth Operator/ Snake Bite 7:28
    Smooth Operator / Red Eye 8:53
    Smooth Operator (Long Version) 4:56
    Smooth Operator (Short Version) 3:52

    Hang On To Your Love (12″ Long Version) 6:00
    Hang On To Your Love (Short Version) 4:19 or 4:21
    Hang On to Your Love (Radio Edit) 3:58
    Hang On to Your Love (US Remix) 5:13
    Cherry Pie (shorter version) 4:25

  26. John says:

    1. Smooth Operator
    2. Your Love Is King
    3. Hang On to Your Love
    4. Frankie’s First Affair
    5. When Am I Going to Make a Living
    6. Cherry Pie
    7. Sally
    8. I Will Be Your Friend
    9. Why Can’t We Live Together
    10. Red Eye
    11. Snake Bite
    12. Spirit
    13. Should I Love You
    14. Love Affair With Life

    15. Smooth Operator (Original Mix)
    14. Hang On To Your Love (12″ Extended Mix)
    15. Cherry Pie (7″ Edit)
    16. Love Affair With Life (Demo Version)
    17. Hang On To Your Love (US Remix)
    18. Smooth Operator (EMI Demo)
    19. Should I Love You (EMI Demo)
    20. Hang On To Your Love (RCA Instrumental Demo)

  27. DaveM says:

    Another vote from me for ‘When am I Going to Make a Living’ as the best track. The fact there isn’t a deluxe already is a travesty, not only to get the missing B sides on CD but to hear some live versions of the stuff on DL. A DVD of compiling TV appearances from that time would also be welcome.
    I always sort of mentally bracket Sade with Kate Bush in the that they are people who always do what they want and seem to have called the shots from day-one. This of course over their careers has starved the fans (like me) of reissues with additional material, but I do respect them for their integrity.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Agree in terms of the Kate Bush comparisons…

      • Kevin M says:

        Neneh Cherry too. Her post pop fame stuff and guest activities are well worth investigating, she’s a fantastic ongoing talent.

    • Martin Power says:

      I can see where you are coming from with the Kate Bush comparison right up until you reconcile the fact that she is in terms of quality of output the classic one album wonder followed by average follow up

  28. Foxee says:

    Oh – and favourite track on the album for me is ‘When Am I Going to Make a Living’, closely followed by ‘Hang On to Your Love’.

  29. Jim says:

    When Am I Going to Make A Living is sublime, as is Hang on To Your Love. I have a remastered copy but a deluxe is way overdue. Happy B’Day Sade!

  30. Foxee says:

    Would absolutely love a deluxe edition of this classic debut (as well as deluxe editions of her other albums too).

    Surely there are demos, remixes, live tracks, etc. for a great 2 CD, plus enough material for a DVD too – the video for Smooth Operator was a glaring omission from the Ultimate Collection deluxe edition. A super deluxe with remastered heavy weight vinyl would also be very very welcome. I still have my original vinyl copy from 1984 and would love a new one.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      I’m growing cynical of new vinyl editions of old albums. Rather than sounding better some sound worse, but with heavier plastic and obviously scanned artwork. Some are excellent too, but sourcing and mastering issues are still trying their ugly heads.

      • Mike the Fish says:

        *rearing their ugly heads

      • Mark Carroll says:

        Scanned artwork ?? I bought Blondie’s Parallel Lines & the cover was… well, Hmmm ???shame really…..

      • Kevin M says:

        If you get a chance, look at the recent vinyl reissue for Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby that came out in the last week or so. The cover is horrendous. The blurriest piece of crap I’ve ever seen on one of these piss-taking reissues. This kind of laziness for £2o+ records had to stop. Don’t buy them!

        • Mike the Fish says:

          The latest issue of Talk Talk’s “The Party’s Over” has pretty nice packaging, but the audio sounds recessed and dull compared to the original. Maybe the original was goosed up a bit to give it more impact and I’ll get used to the new cut, but it’s quite different. Kraftwerk’s Computer Love on vinyl had great packaging – especially if you’re okay with revised sleevework – but some of the audio sounded wierd with a gated NR sound.

        • Kevin M says:

          ..I should add that Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby always had a soft focus photo (I have a US original LP), but the new reissue is IMO unacceptably poor on top of the intended soft focus. The new Street Hassle Lou Reed LP reissue looks pretty grim too.

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