Marshall Blonstein, president of Audio Fidelity, has announced February 14 as the release date for the audiophile label's 180-gram virgin-vinyl reissue of Sade's DIAMOND LIFE album. Originally issued 27 years ago this month, DIAMOND LIFE launched the career of one of the most distinctive and enduring vocalists in contemporary pop. The LP will be issued in a numbered, deluxe gate-fold limited edition that will be available through online and brick-and-mortar retailers alike.
The Nigerian-born, British writer-singer (born Helen Folasade Abu) struck more than gold with her debut. DIAMOND LIFE was certified four-times-Platinum in both America and the U.K. and has sold more than six million copies to date internationally. It reached No. 5 on Billboard's album chart, where it resided for 81 weeks, and gave Sade her first hit in the Top-10 single "Smooth Operator." The album was also a Top-5 entry on Billboard's Jazz and R&B charts.
Sade composed eight of the album's nine songs (mostly with trumpeter Gordon Matthewman), including "Your Love Is King," which also charted as a single (54 pop, 35 R&B). The sole non-original was a cover of Timmy Thomas' 1972 hit "Why Can't We Live Together." Among other standout cuts are the lightly funky "Hang Onto Your Love," the midtempo ballad "I Will Be Your Friend" and the more pop-ish "When Am I Gonna Make a Living" (a U.K. hit).
On DIAMOND LIFE, Sade pioneered an alluring style that effortlessly blended ballads, soft soul music and jazz-and impressed audiences and critics the world over. Saluting the album for its sophistication and restraint, the Village Voice noted that Sade "and her associates put their project over with a fashion model's virtues: taste, concept sound. No superfluity, not even an excessive tempo." Sade's warm vocals and clever lyrics, and the band's sleek, unrushed support, rendered DIAMOND LIFE an instant classic, the first of four consecutive Top-10 albums for Sade and her group. She would subsequently score with the hit singles "The Sweetest Taboo," "Paradise" and "No Ordinary Love," and, in 1986, win a Grammy® for Best New Artist.
Founded in 2002 by Marshall Blonstein, Audio Fidelity specializes in deluxe reissues of classic popular-music recordings for the audiophile and collector markets. The Camarillo, California-based label, which also issues DVD titles, is best known for its 24-Karat Gold CDs and 180-gram virgin-vinyl album editions of classic product that are issued in limited runs of 5000 units that are retired after the 5000 units have been sold. Audio Fidelity emerged out of the pioneering DCC Compact Classics label that Blonstein started in 1986, following stints as president of Island Records and principal of Ode Records (where he helped make Carole King's Tapestry one of the best-selling albums of all time and helped build the cult-film franchises The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke).