Balearic Mike’s Musical Diets / Sade / Stronger Than Pride

Super Selections and Wonderful words by Balearic Mike.

Released May 3rd, 1988, so 35 years old today…

Sade – Stronger Than Pride – Epic 1988

Balearic Mike Sade Stronger Than Pride

Like most right thinking music lovers, I’m quite a fan of Sade, and this album, Stronger Than Pride, is possibly my favourite – well, it is today anyway. It’s certainly Sade’s most ‘Balearic’ sounding. After releasing two wonderful jazz-influenced LPs, Sade took a bit of a break. It was 2 ½ years between Promise, the band’s second album (I’m not saying sophomore, sorry (you just have – Rob : )), to Stronger Than Pride hitting shops. The group spent over a year writing in London and Spain, before recording in first France, and then deciding to fly off to record at one of the most important and iconic recording studios of the 1980s, Chris Blackwell’s Compass Point Studios in Nassau. The results … well, you can guess, can’t you.

The songs still have a jazzy sophistication about them, but they’re much less formal, traditional, composed sounding. The album is much looser, spacious, free. These songs are less ‘smoky jazz club’, and more ‘open air Mediterranean nightclub’. That Compass Point sound seems to soak into the grooves of this record. Something in the air perhaps? Opener, the (nearly) title track, Love Is Stronger Than Pride, sets the tone beautifully. The band creating an almost ambient soundscape of rolling, ocean-wave-effect drums and percussion, with minimal instrumentation and the warm background vocals of Leroy Osbourne the perfect audio life raft for Sade Adu’s lead to float on.

Then we’re off clubbing in Ibiza with Balearic classic, Paradise, as near perfect a fit for the open-air dance floors of Amnesia or Ku as Linda di Franco’s TV Scene. Paradise could only, possibly, be improved by an Idjut Boys re-edit – which they did actually make, but sadly, never released.

Third track, Nothing Can Come Between Us, is yet another of the 5 of the album’s tracks to be released as singles, and although also a great, solid groove of a track, the 12 might be more famous for its B-side, the jaw dropping, 303-drenched, slo-mo acid-house adjacent Make Some Room – again, this is a Balearic classic.

Next is the gorgeous, Spanish guitar laden ballad, Haunt Me, before the first side closes with the superb, and slightly heavier, dub influenced Turn My Back On You (a Danny Rampling, stone cold Shoom favourite – Rob).

Over on the flip things kick off with another highlight, the excellent, dancefloor honed Keep Looking, while the later stages of the album bring us to the tracks Give It Up and I Never Thought I’d See the Day, both of which started an interesting trend that began in the mid-1990s. While Stronger Than Pride is undeniably an amazing record it has also been a rich source of inspiration for a phenomenon that has become something of a cottage industry in the world of dance music – the Sade remix bootleg!

Although this practice really began in 1994, with a strange red vinyl US bootleg of the track, Pearls – from the Love Deluxe album – things really began to hot up 1995 with the arrival of a US import purporting to be by Musk Men. This was actually a quality house remix of I Never Thought I’d See The Day by Kuwaiti-American DJ Hani – who used not just the vocal, but substantial musical components as well. It’s incredibly well done, and was a huge record, eventually being bootlegged itself.

Next up it was Detroit’s turn to get on the Sade bandwagon, and a month or so later a US white label arrived with nothing but, ‘Illegal Detroit’ stamped on it, containing 2 superb dancefloor versions of Give It Up remixed by Kenny Larkin on the A-side, and Stacey Pullen on the other, and renamed as Surrender Your Love. The Kenny Larkin remix is 11 minutes of disco-techno perfection and was universally lauded and is still played to this day. 

Then it was back to New York, and DJ Duke got stuck onto 2 Sade classics, having another stab at Pearls, but renaming it Somalia and giving it a nice mid-tempo funk treatment. On the B-side was a stunning deep house reworking of Love Is Stronger Than Pride – this is the bollocks!

… And that was it, the floodgates were open. I couldn’t possibly recount the endless stream of Sade remixes now in circulation, but this album has contributed to the cult more than any other… and it’s a masterpiece, so happy birthday!

For more from Balearic Mike you can find him on both Facebook and Instagram – @balearicmike. 

Mike has a Mixcloud page packed with magnificent, magical, music, and you can catch him live on 1BTN, from 12 noon until 2 (UK time) every 1st and 3rd Friday.

Balearic Mike 1BTN blue

You can also check out the super silk screen prints of “Balearic Wife” over at @jo_lambert_print


Footnote: Rob’s Bonus “Stronger Than Pride” Bootleg Re-Rubs

1991 Eternity / Paradise

This was a Paul Byrne tip – Paul’s good friends with Sade’s keyboard player Andrew Hale.

2002 / Surrender Your Love (MKL In Havana)

2014 / Love Is Stronger Than Pride (Matrixxman & Vin Sol Edit)

I also have this Japanese bootleg which puts Stronger Than Pride over Soul II Soul’s tried and tested Keep On Moving break. Looking at its autumn 2006 release date it must have been one of the first records that I bought after relocating to Tokyo. 

Sade Japanese Bootleg

In 2020 there was a nice Ambient mix of Pearls, and very recently there`s also been the “mysterious” Discotecas extended edit of Paradise.

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