Song Lyric Sunday #41

This week’s prompt is Elevator Music, but what is it? It’s a more general term indicating music that is played in rooms where many people come together (that is, with no intention whatsoever to listen to music), and during telephone calls when placed on hold. So what do I have in my musical archives in response to Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday Challenge? Frankly, I have very little but if I dig into my beloved husband’s archives, I’ll find plenty!!!!

If you put me on hold, I’ll probably hang up; plus I don’t see the point of playing music that no one’s going to listen to! I’m going to interpret this prompt as being easy listening, background music. So how about Smooth Operator by Sade?

Sade‘s a Nigerian-born British singer, songwriter, and actress. One of the more successful British female artists in history, she is often recognised as an influence on contemporary music.Her services to music were recognised in the UK with an award of the OBE in 2002, and a CBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours List.

She studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London and gained modest recognition as a fashion designer and part-time model, prior to gaining attention as a performer. She formed a band and secured a recording contract with Epic Records in 1983. A year later the band released the album Diamond Life, which was also a hit internationally, reaching number one in several countries and the top ten in the US, where it has sold in excess of four million copies. Diamond Life had international sales of over six million copies, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the ’80s, and the best-selling debut ever by a British female vocalist.

The album’s third single, Smooth Operator, was released on 15 September 1984 and became the most successful song in the US from Diamond Life. The track peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard Hot Black Singles, as well as peaking at number one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. In Europe the song fared well, peaking at number 19 in the UK, and reaching the top 20 in Austria, Switzerland, France, and Germany.

In July 1985, Sade was among the performers at the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium, and the following year she appeared in the film Absolute Beginners. Following the band’s third and fourth albums, Stronger Than Pride (1988) and Love Deluxe (1992), they went on hiatus after the birth of Sade’s child.

After a spell of eight years without an album, the band reunited in 1999, and released Lovers Rock in 2000. The album departed from the jazz-inspired inflections of their previous work, featuring mellower sounds and pop compositions. The band then underwent another hiatus, not producing music for another ten years until the release of Soldier of Love. Following that album’s release, the band entered a third period of extended hiatus, and have only released two film soundtracks to date.

Smooth Operator is about a fashionable con-man who moves within high social circles. He is popular with women and breaks many hearts. The lyrics:

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

imply that he also uses women to obtain his income. It is also clear that he does not hold sincere affection for these women, as Adu sings near the end, “his heart is cold”.

The video to this song reinforces the message and the operator, played by actor Michael Feast, appears to be a professional criminal. In one scene, he displays a gun to an interested customer, and in others, he appears to be a pimp. Apparently, he succeeds in evading law enforcement, who have him under surveillance. In the video is revealed that the operator cheats Sade with a waitress of the nightclub. However, as revealed in the extended version of the video, which contains the composition “Red Eye” (played after the song in 12-inch single release), Sade, cooperating with the police, hides behind the nightclub equipment and sees the criminal return to the club. Then she bumps into a box, causing the noise and the criminal to chase after her. When the police arrive outside, he tries to escape from them from rooftop to rooftop until he is shot and then falls from a rooftop to his death.

This song is noted for Adu’s spoken recitation in the song’s introduction. Some radio edits have omitted the spoken introduction and proceeded with the opening sung line of the title of the album, “Diamond Life”. Some radio edits have shortened the instrumental saxophone solo, as well as the first repeat of the lines that come after the chorus portions.

Lyrics: Smooth Operator

He’s laughing with another girl
And playing with another heart
Placing high stakes making hearts ache
He’s loved in seven languages
Diamond nights and ruby lights high in the sky
Heaven help him when he falls
Diamond life, lover boy
We 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
Smooth operator
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Sade Adu / Ray St. John
Smooth Operator lyrics © Peermusic (uk) Ltd.

Challenge Rules

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to Jim’s post or place your link in his comments section.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy the music.

13 Comments on “Song Lyric Sunday #41

  1. I can totally relate to not liking elevator music. I mean, what’s the point of music if no-one’s listening? As for the song, good choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A smooth operator is a player, a manipulative scoundrel and a con artist, who tells each woman exactly what she wants to hear. He is described as smooth because he can easily entice a girl while toying with the heart of another. Nice pick Sheree.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Sheree – this post is right on time for me – I have been enjoying Sade songs all spring of 2021
    My top songs this spring have been Bulletproof soul and Cherish the Day
    but Smooth Operator scrolls through the list and I had not idea of all this background info – I did know some of Sade’s album history – but the extras you gave us here made for a wonderful song lyric sunday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Musical Monday: Sade – View from the Back

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