It is not hard to realize that most of the themes addressed on Adele’s 21 album revolve around heartbreak and failed relationships. But what is not that well known is the fact that Rolling in the Deep, the album’s lead single, was written no more than a day after the British singer broke up with her boyfriend. Adele described the state she was in as “ready to murder” and recalls going into the studio crying. She explained how the overwhelming emotions translated into Rolling in the Deep: “When I’m about to get angry in my heart, I can really feel my blood flowing around my body. And the beat of the song was my heartbeat…it just built and built.”
Paul Epworth is the musician she was with in the studio at the time, whose credentials include writing and producing for artists such as Coldplay, U2, John Legend and Paul McCartney. Epworth ended up co-writing the song with Adele and was the person who encouraged her to go outside the ballad territory. Adele recalled the exchange that led to the shifting in direction: “I went in crying and stuff, and said: ‘Let’s write a ballad.'” And he was like: ‘Absolutely not! I want to write a fierce tune. Be a bitch about it.’”
Rolling in the Deep not only made Adele the worldwide star that she is today, but also became the biggest crossover US hit of the last 25 years. It was titled the best song of 2011 by both MTV and Rolling Stone. At the Q Awards, it won the prizes for Best Female Artist and Best Track. On top of it all, Rolling in the Deep won no less than 3 Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video.
Rolling in the Deep spent 7 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100 before being dethroned by Pitbull’s Give Me Everything (featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer).