This erotic, romantic and haunting cut is the first single and title track from R&B outfit Sade's first studio album since Lovers Rock in 2000. The song was written by frontwoman Sade along with the other band members Andrew Hale (keyboards>, Stuart Matthew man (guitar) and Paul Spencer Denman (bass). Sade co-produced the track with Mike Pela, who has worked with the vocalist and her band from their second album Promise onwards.
When the call went out in 2008 for the group to re-convene at Peter Gabriel's Real World studio near Sade Adu's home in the countryside of south west England, it was the first time the four band members had met up since the Lovers Rock tour wrapped in 2001. Denman de-camped from Los Angeles, where he had been managing his teenage son's punk band, Orange, Matthewman interrupted his film soundtrack work in New York, and Hale gave up his A&R consultancy.
In this song Sade Adu sings of coping with a broken heart. It was the first #1 on the Billboard Jazz Songs chart to include vocals, since the chart's Oct. 22, 2005 launch four years previously. Each of the tally's 45 previous leaders had been instrumentals.
The album cover features Sade Adu, back turned to the camera, facing a set of ancient ruins. She explained to Canada's National Post: "I thought it would be nice that the person looking at me almost became me, in the sense that I want the music to become someone else's. I want it to have some significance and role in someone else's life if possible and so that was the idea: That I am whoever, looking over the future and looking at the history and the battles of the past, and looking forward - looking for the light."
Soldier of Love is the eighth release by Sade (if you include their greatest hits collection and a live album), and all eight reached the Top 10 in the US. They were the first group since Led Zeppelin to achieve this milestone.
The opening week sales figure of 502,000 in the US for Soldier of Love were the best sales week for a group since the AC/DC's album Black Ice debuted in October 2008 with 784,000 copies. It was also a new sales record for Sade.
Soldier of Love debuted at #1 on the album chart in 14 countries worldwide.
Sade took home the Grammy for Best R&B Performance for this song at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Sade's longtime director Sophie Muller ("No Ordinary Love
") returned to direct the music video, which features Sade Adu riding a white stallion alongside soldiers marching and dancing through the desert amid explosions. The singer told She Knows
that the soldiers represent her emotions in the "battleground of life."
"'Soldier' was one of those songs we really had to fight with and even abandon for a while," Sade Adu explained to She Knows. "But I think that that strengthened the rest of the album, because it was always there inside my head and somehow made its way into the other songs, that sort of feeling of being in the world which is a sort of wasteland or a place where there's a struggle but somehow you have a purpose. At the end of that struggle, there's light. And that's the source thread, I think, that runs through the songs."