♫ Smooth Operator ♫

I posted this one in 2019, which is when I learned that Sade is not a person, but is actually a band.  A British band, at that!  Who knew?  I honestly thought it was the female singer of this song!  Well … it is the singer of the song as well as the band.  Too confusing for my mind …

This song was Sade’s first Top Ten hit in the US, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks in May 1985. The song was written by lead singer Sade Adu and Ray Saint John, who was a member of Sade’s previous band Pride. The song is about a fashionable man who lives a jet-set lifestyle. He’s very popular with the ladies, and breaks a lot of hearts in his travels. With the lyrics, “Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale,” it’s implied that the women he uses also supply his wealth. It’s also clear that he does not return the affections of these women, as Sade sings near the end, “His heart is cold.”  Nice guy, huh?

Julien Temple directed the video, which finds Sade singing in a nightclub as a shady deal goes down. Most viewers saw the 4:15 version, but an extended version was also made. Running 8:30, that one has dialogue, a chase scene, and a man falling to his death.

Smooth Operator was the breakout hit in America for Sade, who were based in England. Their debut album, Diamond Life, was first issued in 1984 in the UK, where Smooth Operator was the third charting single. In the US, the album was released in 1985, with Hang On To Your Love as the first single. It went nowhere, but the next single, Smooth Operator, rose to #5 and earned the group a reputation as an exotic soulful act with a captivating frontwoman.  The song made it to #19 in the UK.

Smooth Operator
Sade

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

No place for beginners or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance
No place to be ending but somewhere to start

No need to ask, he’s a smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator

Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale

Face to face, each classic case
We shadow box and double cross
Yet need the chase

A license to love, insurance to hold
Melts all your memories and change into gold
His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold

No need to ask, he’s a smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator

Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale

Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator

Songwriters: Clyde Lovern Otis / Murray Stein
Smooth Operator lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

23 thoughts on “♫ Smooth Operator ♫

  1. This particular song irritates me, but I can’t really say why. Perhaps I caught enough of the lyrics decades ago to feel antagonism towards the individual who is subject of the song, and his values, and that affected my attitude. The song itself isn’t critical of what seems to me to be a rather narcissistic lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being nearly deaf all my life, I didn’t know the lyrics until a few years ago when I first posted it, but always liked the rhythm and tune. I agree that the subject of the song seems to be one of those arrogant, thoroughly despicable people.

      Like

  2. Pingback: SMOOTH OPERATOR. | jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. Pingback: ♫ Smooth Operator ♫ — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  4. Sade formed the band around her and named it after herself. She was clearly looking ahead to the time when she could cause maximum confusion for unwitting American bloggers who hadn’t seen hers and her band’s beginnings. That doesn’t make me like this one any more though: far too smooth and bland for my taste, though I think she has a lovely voice.

    Liked by 2 people

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