Smooth Operator (4:59)

Cover of The Best Of Sade

From The Best Of Sade and 114 other releases

“Smooth Operator” is a song by the English group Sade released as the fourth and final single from their debut album, Diamond Life (1984). It was released (in both the U.S. and the UK) as a 7” single with “Spirit” as its B-side and as a 12” maxi single with “Smooth Operator” and “Red Eye” on side A and “Spirit” on side B. In the U.S. it was the follow-up to “Hang on to Your Love”.

This was Sade’s first top ten hit in the U.S., peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks in May 1985. The song spent thirteen weeks in the top forty and also topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart for two weeks. Although “Your Love Is King” remains Sade’s biggest hit in the UK to date, “Smooth Operator” is the band’s breakthrough hit on the U.S. charts, and their most successful single internationally.

Ray St. John, who co-wrote “Smooth Operator” with Sade Adu, was previously a member of Adu’s former band Pride, although he was not a member of the band Sade. The pair had co-written the song in 1982 while still members of Pride, but did not get around to recording it because St. John left Pride shortly after Sade joined. St. John later went on to play guitar with the band Halo James, which scored a UK top ten hit with “Could Have Told You So” in February 1990.

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