By Your Side (Sade song)

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"By Your Side"
Single by Sade
from the album Lovers Rock
  • 13 October 2000 (UK)
  • 12 January 2001 (U.S.)[1]
Recorded 13–17 December 1999
Genre Soul, R&B
Length 4:34
Label Epic
  • Sade
  • Mike Pela
Sade singles chronology
"Cherish the Day"
"By Your Side"
"King of Sorrow"

"Cherish the Day"
"By Your Side"
"King of Sorrow"
Music video
"By Your Side" on YouTube

"By Your Side" is a song by the English group Sade from their fifth studio album, Lovers Rock (2000). It was released as the album's lead single in the UK on 13 October 2000, and in the US on 12 January 2001. The track was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards (2001).[2] The video for this single was directed by Sophie Muller. In 2002,[3] the song was listed as the 48th greatest love song of all time by VH1.[4]

Music video[edit]

Sade in the video for "By Your Side". Wearing an Indian-inspired outfit, she walks through a forest.

The music video for the song was shot in Los Angeles[5] and was directed by Sophie Muller, who revealed that it is a metaphor for Sade Adu's life. In the video, she is depicted as a mystical figure walking through a forest and into the city. As the singer walks through different scenes, she gathers items such as a rose and a burned wood stick, and puts them in a small sack. At the end of the video, she walks into the city and is seen in the median of the road offering/selling the rose like a flower seller. This strange journey represents her life but "made into a beautiful, mysterious dream."[6]

The idea for the video came when Sade and Muller were driving to the studio and saw people standing in the median of the road selling flowers. At that sight, Muller thought "it was so sad to be constantly rejected by these cars " and thought "Well, it’s not such a bad job to be looking at beautiful flowers all day."[6] This gave rise to the video's concept of someone who has been away, and is now standing offering a flower to someone. At the time, eight years had passed since the group last released an album. The flower Sade offers to passersby at the end of the video symbolizes the band's latest album, Lovers Rock, that she is offering to the world.

Regarding her role as a director, Sophie Muller said that "she (Sade) had not done anything in eight years—there had not even been a photograph taken of her. I think I was being protective the day we did it; I did not want to push her to do something incredibly difficult, but wanted to ease her back in."[6]

The video contains very extreme and vivid colors, which were inspired by Chinese and Indian films as well as Japanese masters. Specifically, the pale green light was influenced by Indian over-saturated imagery.[6] This is because the director wanted each bit to be different and "wanted to make it like reality, but more beautiful".[6] For example, the forest was meant to be like a forest, but a bit more peaceful than a real one would be.[6]

Not many special effects were used in the making of the video. Everything was built to look the way it does. The only visual effect is the huge field where she is seen walking. For it, a little field was built and painted all around her. And there was a little green screen, when she walks towards the city.[6]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Official versions[edit]

  • "By Your Side" (Album Version) - 4:34
  • "By Your Side" (Radio Edit) – 4:17
  • "By Your Side" (The Neptunes Remix) – 3:57
  • "By Your Side" (Ben Watt Lazy Dog Remix) – 8:55
  • "By Your Side" (Yard Mix 1) – 4:16
  • "By Your Side" (Reggae Mix 1) – 3:57

Cover Versions[edit]

The song was covered by Beachwood Sparks on their album Once We Were Trees (2001). The video, directed by Chad Misner, was selected for the 2002 South by Southwest Film Festival.[7] The song appeared on the soundtrack for the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010).

The 1975 released a version in February 2017, as a charity single raising funds for War Child, a charity that provides aid to children in war-torn countries.[8]

Billy McCarthy (Formerly of Pela and Augustines) covered the song for his 2017 debut solo album, Shelter.


Chart (2000) Peak
Dutch Mega Single Top 100[9] 66
German Singles Chart[10] 67
Irish Singles Chart[11] 29
Italian Singles Chart[9] 10
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[12] 2
Swedish Singles Chart[9] 29
Swiss Singles Chart[9] 61
UK Singles Chart[13] 17
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[14] 41
Chart (2001) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[14] 75
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[14] 18
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[14] 2


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance - The 44th Annual Grammy Awards (2001)". The Recording Academy. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  3. ^ ""The Greatest" 100 Greatest Love Songs (TV Episode 2002) - IMDb". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Tompkins, Dave. "VH1 - 100 Greatest Love Songs (Music Database :: Dave Tompkins)". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "SADE VIDEOGRAPHY AND HELP". 18 January 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Music Video Director Sophie Muller". 11 February 2002. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Hear the 1975's Atmospheric Cover of Sade's 'By Your Side'". Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Sade – By Your Side –". Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  10. ^ " – Sade – By Your Side". (in German). Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  11. ^ " – Discography Sade". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  12. ^ " – Sade – By Your Side" Canciones Top 50.
  13. ^ "Chart Stats – Sade – By Your Side". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  14. ^ a b c d "By Your Side > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 

External links[edit]