Smooth Operator
by Sade

Album: Diamond Life (1984)
Charted: 19 5
Play Video


  • This was written by lead singer Sade Adu and Ray Saint John, who was a member of Sade's previous band Pride. The song is about a fashionable man who lives a jet-set lifestyle. He's very popular with the ladies, and breaks a lot of hearts in his travels. With the lyrics, "Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale," it's implied that the women he uses also supply his wealth. It's also clear that he does not return the affections of these women, as Sade sings near the end, "His heart is cold."
  • Julien Temple directed the video, which finds Sade singing in a nightclub as a shady deal goes down. Most viewers saw the 4:15 version, but an extended version was also made. Running 8:30, that one has dialogue, a chase scene, and a man falling to his death.
  • "Smooth Operator" was the breakout hit in America for Sade, who were based in England. Their debut album, Diamond Life, was first issued in 1984 in the UK, where "Smooth Operator" was the third charting single. In the US, the album was released in 1985, with "Hang On To Your Love" as the first single. It went nowhere, but the next single, "Smooth Operator," rose to #5 and earned the group a reputation as an exotic soulful act with a captivating frontwoman.
  • Despite the cold-hearted lyric, this song is often used to imply a romantic encounter. It played a big part in the Season 12 Big Bang Theory episode, "The Procreation Calculation," where the lovelorn character Stuart plays it during his seductions after he finally lands a girlfriend.
  • This was a #1 Adult Contemporary hit for Sade, who topped that chart again with "The Sweetest Taboo." In America, but songs benefited from airplay on VH1, the adult-leaning music video channel launched in 1985.

Comments: 11

  • James from UtahThe man is an arms dealer. There's an 8 minute music video. It shows Sade and him in bed together. At the end of the song he blows her a goodbye kiss, she finds his guns, he strangles her, and ends with a rooftop chase.
  • Tshe could also be a agent thats collecting information
  • Allison Marie Thompson from PhoenixI think the whole song is verses in double and triple entendres, which many if not most, well written lyrics are... it's also talking about the business itself... the "women" represent the assets or shares, or investments. "A license to love, insurance to hold...." you need a license to operate a financial business for lending and maintain accounts that have interest rates (love is appreciation, a liscence to have the assets appreciate) and investment options. He will take all your money and does not care, all you savings and hard work and precious belingings will just melt into common currency for him...." sentiment left to chance"... what will happen is a gamble...THANK YOU Rec from Texas!!!
  • Kel from Australia Is the guy sitting with the Smooth Operator , Mr Michael Richards , Because it sure looks like him ?
  • Rec from TexasThis song is NOT about a giggalo, or a pimp, or a drug dealer, or player/womanizer. Listen to the lyrics. It's about a CON MAN!!!
  • James from AustraliaSade is georgeous.
    " Smooth Operator " is a song about a cold , calculating giggolo , praying on women who provide the money for his indulgent lifestyle.
  • Steven from Bayside NyWho was the Actor who played the Smooth Operator ?
  • David from Lawren, Ma---I LoVe HER, she is Mysteriously Beautiful!
  • Constance from Dallas, TxJoel this song is not about drugs. It is about a womanizer and possible giggolo. I love the jazzy smooth music to this song. Sade's voice is great and distinctive. Great song and very true. Men like this in the song do exist.
  • Ani from Yerevan, Armeniasade is gorgeous!!! i like her VERY VERY MUCH!!! and 'smooth operator' is one of the best songs of her:*)
  • Joel from Austin, TxThis song is about a drug dealer and pimp.
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