Say It's Your Birthday: Sade

The coolest of the cool.

Though she turned out not to be the African princess an

over zealous early press agent tried to portray her as, Sade (born Helen Adu in

Ibadan, Nigeria on this day in 1959) is still royalty in our book. She's

released only four albums in ten years (not counting a 1994 Best Of) with

little or no stylistic change, and that's exactly why we love her. Most artists

who've enjoyed the massive success Miss Adu achieved with her first her album

1985's Diamond Life, would have seized the opportunity to inflict all

sorts of ego-ridden musical horrors on us. Not our Sade, who knows what she

does best and keeps on doing it, the perfect musical illustration of the old

jock expression, "playing within yourself." A related kind of selflessness is

what made En Vogue records so good but now that the Oakland vocal quartet is

kaput (without ever giving us a proper follow-up to Funky Divas we might

add), each member of the collective--including today's other birthday Diva,

Maxine Jones (born 1966 in Paterson, NJ)--will have to address that question

individually. We wouldn't bet against any of them. Today's other birthdays are

a bunch of dumb guys: Paul Webb (Talk Talk), Ronnie Milsap, William Francis

(Dr. Hook), and Bob Bogle

(Ventures).