Promise (Sade album)

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Promise
Studio album by Sade
Released 4 November 1985 (1985-11-04)
Recorded
Genre
Length 54:10
Label Epic
Producer
Sade chronology
Diamond Life
(1984)
Promise
(1985)
Stronger Than Pride
(1988)
Singles from Promise
  1. "The Sweetest Taboo"
    Released: 12 October 1985
  2. "Never as Good as the First Time"
    Released: 1986

Promise is the second studio album by English band Sade, first released in the United Kingdom on 4 November 1985 by Epic Records and in the United States on 15 November 1985 by Portrait Records. In 1984 the band released their debut album "Diamond Life", the album became highly successful selling six million copies, and became the best-selling debut by a British female vocalist. Following the release of the album the band began planning its follow up, recording for "Promise" began in February and lasted until August 1985, the band enlisted the same team of producers they worked with on their debut, including Robin Millar, Mike Pela, Ben Rogan and Sade herself.

The album's title comes from a letter from Sade Adu's father where he refers to the "promise of hope" to recover from cancer.

Upon release Promise was met with acclaim from music critics. Commercially the album was a success peaking at number one on both the UK Album Chart and the US Billboard 200, the album was later certified multi platinum in both regions. Promise became the band's first album to top the album charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States. The album also reached number one in Switzerland and Italy and the top five in numerous countries including Canada, Germany and New Zealand. The album spawned four singles including the highly charting singles "The Sweetest Taboo", which became a success worldwide.

Background[edit]

After studying fashion design, and later modeling briefly, Sade backup singing with British band Pride, during this time she formed a writing partnership with Pride's guitarist/saxophonist Stewart Matthewman; together, backed by Pride's rhythm section, they began doing their own sets at Pride gigs.[1] In 1983 Sade and Matthewman split from Pride along with keyboardist Andrew Hale, bassist Paul Demna, and drummer Paul Cooke and formed Sade; later that year they got a record deal.[1] Following this Sade released their debut album "Diamond Life" (1984) which became a success in the United Kingdom and later became a success in the United States following the release of its single "Smooth Operator".[1] Diamond Life had international sales of over 6 million copies, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the '80s and the best-selling debut ever by a British female vocalist.[1]

Recording[edit]

Between February and August 1985, the band enlisted the same team of producers they worked with on their debut, "Promise" was co-produced by Robin Millar, Mike Pela, Sade and Ben Rogan who played a less central role in the production. [2] Some of the albums sessions took place during a two-week sojourn in Provence, utilising an SSL E-series console housed at the barn-shaped, concrete-built Studio Miraval, however the majority of the album was recorded at the Power Plant where the project commenced in February 1985 and ended seven months later, with the mix being done in the Gallery (Studio Three) located on the top floor, with its 44-channel Harrison MR3.[2] Studio One is where the production team initially listened to several of the songs in demo form, although Mike Pela was at the Royal Albert Hall when he first heard one of the new tracks.[2]

Like their debut album "Promise" was recorded live, however "Promise" featured the use of technology, sampling drums by way of an AMS with a lock-in feature.[2] Sade Adu served as the albums arranger, with Nick Ingman. The albums live instruments were performed by a variety of people including Terry Bailey who played the trombone and trumpet Pete Beachill who also played the trombone, Carlos Bonnell who played the guitar, Paul S. Denman who provided the bass and bass guitar, Martin Ditcham provided the albums percussion along with Dave Early who provided percussion and drums and Andrew Hale who added the albums keyboards. Stuart Matthewman handled the albums guitar and saxophones and Tom Coyne remastered "Promise".[3]

The albums lead single was created in Power Plant's Studio One, where a 30 x 25 x 18-foot live area was complemented by a 36-channel Harrison Series 24 console, Urei 813B main monitors and a 24-track Studer A820 recorder running Ampex tape at 30ips.[2] Mike Pela explained the process saying "We had Urei monitors in all of the rooms so that there was some continuity, and we also had Acoustic Research AR18Ss, which we discovered at that studio and which I've still got a pair of.[2] They were like hi-fi speakers, they only cost about 80 quid, and once we'd started using them the company stopped making them. They were really nice and natural-sounding, not designed to carry super-low heavy frequencies, but absolutely fine."[2]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album spawned two singles "Never as Good as the First Time" and "The Sweetest Taboo," the latter of which was released as the albums lead single and stayed on the US Hot 100 for six months.[4] "The Sweetest Tabbo" peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100, one on the US adult Contemporary chart and number three on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.[5] The second single "Never as Good as the First Time" was released in 1986 peaking at number six on Adult Contemporary, number eighteen on the US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales, number eight on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number twenty on the US Billboard Hot 100.[6] Sade was so popular that some radio stations reinstated the '70s practice of playing album tracks, adding "Is It a Crime" and "Tar Baby" to their playlists.[7] Following radio play "Is It A Crime" peaked at number fifty five on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Promise" became the bands first album to reach number one on the US Billboard 200, the album reached the summit in 1986 and spent two weeks at the peak position.[9] By September 1988, "Promise" had sold one million copies in the United States,[10] and went on to sell four million copies in the region and was certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[11] In 2010 the band released their sixth studio album Soldier of Love, the album became the bands second number on the US Billboard 200, in doing so the band became the act with the longest hiatus between number one albums, the band's “Promise” (1986) and “Soldier of Love” (2010) were separated by 23 years, 10 months and 2 weeks.[12] The album has sold 983,000 copies in the United States since the introduction of Soundscan albums.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[14]
Robert Christgau B[15]
Rolling Stone mixed[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[17]

Ron Wynn of AllMusic gave the album a positive review, Wynn described the album as the "personification of cool, laid-back singing," accompanied by "seldom extending or embellishing lyrics, registering emotion, or projecting her voice."[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Is It a Crime"   6:20
2. "The Sweetest Taboo"  
  • Adu
  • Martin Ditcham
4:37
3. "War of the Hearts"  
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
6:47
4. "You're Not the Man" (not included on LP)
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
5:10
5. "Jezebel"  
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
5:30
6. "Mr Wrong"  
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
  • Hale
  • Paul S. Denman
2:52
7. "Punch Drunk" (not included on LP) Hale 5:25
8. "Never as Good as the First Time"  
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
5:00
9. "Fear"  
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
4:10
10. "Tar Baby"  
  • Adu
  • Matthewman
3:59
11. "Maureen"  
  • Adu
  • Hale
  • Denman
4:20

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Promise.[19]

Sade
  • Sade – production ("You're Not the Man", "Never as Good as the First Time", "Maureen"); arrangement (all tracks)
  • Sade Adu – vocals
  • Stuart Matthewman – guitar, saxophone
  • Paul S. Denman – bass guitar
  • Andrew Hale – keyboards
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[42] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[43] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[44] Platinum 58,935[44]
France (SNEP)[45] Platinum 300,000*
Germany (BVMI)[46] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[47] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[48] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


Release history[edit]

Format Label Date Ref
CD Universal Music 1985 [49]
Cassette Portrait
CD Sony Music Distribution 1990
CD BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 2000
LP Epic
Mini-Disc Epic

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Background". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Promise Recording". Sound On Sound. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Promise credits". Last FM. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ http://www.mtv.com/artists/sade/biography/
  5. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/promise-mw0000195597/awards
  6. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/promise-mw0000195597/awards
  7. ^ http://www.mtv.com/artists/sade/biography/
  8. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/promise-mw0000195597/awards
  9. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/959357/sades-soldier-sizzles-at-no-1-on-billboard-200
  10. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-09-09/entertainment/8801290002_1_sade-diamond-life-nina-simone
  11. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - February 17, 2010: Sade certified album". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  12. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5908250/toni-braxton-babyfaces-triumphant-no-1-return-to-top-rbhip-hop-albums
  13. ^ Caulfield, Keith (22 February 2006). "Ask Billboard – Class Acts". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 9 February 2009. 
  14. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Promise – Sade". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Sade". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  16. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (30 January 1986). "Sade: Promise". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 712. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Promise – Sade". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Promise (CD liner notes). Sade. Epic Records. 1985. CDEPC 86318. 
  20. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 98 (6): 66. 8 February 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Sade – Promise" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "RPM100 Albums". RPM 43 (21). 15 February 1986. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Sade – Promise" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Europarade". Hitkrant (in Dutch) (Amsterdam) 9 (49). 7 December 1985. ISSN 0165-4942. 
  25. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1985 par InfoDisc" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "Sade, Promise" (in German). charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard 97 (50): 59. 14 December 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "Sade – Promise". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "Sade – Promise". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  30. ^ "Sade – Promise". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  31. ^ "Sade – Promise". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  32. ^ "1985 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. 16 November 1985. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c "Promise – Sade | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  34. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1985" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  35. ^ "Jahreshitparade Alben 1986" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  36. ^ "Top 100 Albums of '86". RPM 45 (14). 27 December 1986. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  37. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1986" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1986". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  39. ^ "1986 The Year in Music & Video – Top Pop Albums". Billboard 98 (52): Y-19. 27 December 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  40. ^ "1986 The Year in Music & Video – Top Black Albums". Billboard 98 (52): Y-24. 27 December 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  41. ^ "1986 The Year in Music & Video – Top Jazz Albums". Billboard 98 (52): Y-27. 27 December 1986. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  42. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  43. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Sade – Promise". Music Canada. 27 June 1986. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  44. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  45. ^ "French album certifications – Sade – Promise" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 20 April 1995. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  46. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Sade; 'Promise')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 31 May 2008. 
  47. ^ "British album certifications – Sade – Promise". British Phonographic Industry. 17 January 1986. Retrieved 30 March 2014.  Enter Promise in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  48. ^ "American album certifications – Sade – Promise". Recording Industry Association of America. 23 July 1997. Retrieved 30 March 2014.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  49. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/promise-mw0000195597/releases

External links[edit]