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| Single by Adele|
from the album 19
|Adele singles chronology|
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|19 track listing|
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"Chasing Pavements" is the second single from soul singer Adele, featured on her debut album, 19. Adele performed the song on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on December 7, 2007. It was released digitally in Ireland on January 13, 2008 and entered the Irish singles chart at number 26 through download sales alone. Having received a physical release, the single then leaped nineteen places to number seven, where it peaked. On January 20, the single entered at number two in the UK singles chart on downloads alone. "Chasing Pavements" was the 27th best selling single of 2008 in the UK, with over 280,000 sales.
Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" along with "Cold Shoulder" on Saturday Night Live on October 18, 2008. The B-side to the single, "That’s It, I Quit, I’m Movin’ On," is an acoustic cover of a Sam Cooke song. "Chasing Pavements" was Adele's first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold over 986,000 digital copies as of April 2011.
"Chasing Pavements" won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
Background and compositionEdit
The song was inspired by an incident Adele had with a former boyfriend of six months. At 6:00 AM one morning, after learning he had cheated on her, she went to the bar he was at and punched him in the face. After being thrown out, Adele walked down the street alone and thought to herself, "What you're chasing an empty pavement." She sang into it and recorded it on her mobile phone and arranged three chords when she got home. In May 2008, she expanded on this statement, revealing to Q magazine that the argument culminated in her running down Oxford Street after storming out of the bar in which the dispute took place: "He didn't chase after me! So I was running, just looking at these big wide pavements stretching in front of me."
Lyrically, Adele said, "It doesn't really make sense, does it? 'Chasing Pavements' is about chasing a boy—even if you know something's gonna go wrong, you really want it to go right, so you just don't give up. I can't write other people's drama, and I can't glamorize a microwave or anything like that, so I end up writing songs about things I've experienced." She added that, although the song is about heartbreak, it is also very much a song of hope: "It's me being hopeful for a relationship that's very much over. The sort of relationship you hate when you're in it, but miss when you're not."
Adele reiterated to The Sun in January 2008 that "Chasing Pavements" is about splitting up with her ex and having her heart broken for the first time:
|“||That song is about should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there's nothing there? I was only with him for four months but when I signed my record deal I had to write an album, as I hardly had any songs, so I wrote about him. ||”|
She also revealed:
|“||I couldn't write songs for ages because I found it really hard writing songs for fun or writing them because someone had invested a lot of money and time in me. I just couldn't do it. And then I met my ex-boyfriend and it was great to begin with and then it was really shitty. And then I wrote about ten songs in about five weeks. I love him still and I got an album out of him. I used him more than he used me. And he loves it. It's not bitter. He loves it when the song comes on the radio. He says: 'It's about me.' And I'm like, 'It's a song about heartbreak, you fool!'||”|
In an interview with Blues & Soul, Adele discussed the songwriting process and collaboration with Eg White more in-depth:
|“||I wanted to work with (the producer) Eg White when I heard what stuff he'd done, because I wanted that radio song. I wanted that big kind of commercial tune to get me noticed by people. Because, while personally I'd happily still sing to 10 people in a pub like I used to, I do want as many people as possible to hear my music. Not so they'd buy my album, but because I do wanna be known as a musician. So, in that way, 'Chasing Pavements' was quite intentional, though the way the song itself came about definitely wasn't! The night before I wrote it was the same night I actually met the boy the album's written about! We actually had this fight the first night we met. And I went to Eg's studio the next morning with these couple of shitty chords I'd figured out earlier that same day—and then he took those two chords and a chorus and made it into 'Chasing Pavements'! And, while I thought I`d be best known for more acoustic songs like 'Hometown Glory' and 'Daydreamer,' the fact I'm famous instead for this big Burt Bacharach-tinged, almost middle-of-the-road song is a bit surprising! But, having said that, I think 'Chasing Pavements' was a great set-up. I`m very proud of that song, and I think the way people have connected with it is amazing.||”|
According to the Daily Mail, the single was banned by several U.S. radio stations because of the perceived meaning of the words "chasing pavements" referring to the singer chasing gay men. The source of the perceived meaning is said to come from an entry submitted to Urban Dictionary.
The phrase "Chasing Pavements" is not common, and Adele used it to indicate a hopeless endeavor. At the Mercury Music Awards in London, Adele addressed the speculation indicating it was about chasing gay men, saying, "Some weirdo on the Net wrote that 'Chasing Pavements' was about being gay, which isn't true at all. The guy wrote it on Urban Dictionary, which I've used for years, and 'chasing pavements' was never on there before."
The song's music video, which earned a 2008 MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Choreography, centres around a car crash (a white Peugeot 505 sedan) occurring in Hyde Park, London. It was directed by Matthew Cullen of production company Motion Theory.
It features two views: one of the real-world in which the occupants of the car are lying motionless on the pavement following the accident, and the other (during the choruses) in which the camera shows them from above. Adele is seen in the first view, inside a car with a man. She sings before getting out of the car and walking past a group of people who are running towards the crash victims. Then, she stands beside a tree continuing to sing until it ends and the victims being shown on stretchers, being wheeled away in different directions by ambulance crews tending to them. Adele is not one of the car crash victims.
In the second view, the couple "comes to life" and move as if standing up. The couple appear to reenact their relationship, starting from their first meeting when the woman dropped her scarf and the man handed it back to her. For a while they appear happy together, but it is short-lived; the man discovers that the woman had another lover. She writes something on a piece of paper and when the man reads it, he is angered, but he forgives her and they begin rekindling the passion they had before the crash. When Adele sings the chorus for the final time, the couple dance on the pavement surrounded by the onlookers, who are now also dancing. The man and the woman dance gracefully and intimately, but in spite of all the joy, they are still just two bodies lying motionless on the pavement, and are then wheeled away by ambulance crews in different directions.
On December 20, 2008, the video was ranked #26 on VH1's Top 40 of 2008.
In 2009, "Chasing Pavements" was nominated for three Grammy Awards. The track had received nominations in the categories of Record of The Year, Song of the Year and for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It won the award for the Best Female Vocal Performance, beating established singers such as P!nk and Leona Lewis, but lost out to Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" in the Song of the Year category and to Robert Plant's and Alison Krauss' collaboration, "Please Read the Letter," in the Record of the Year category. Later on in the awards show, she performed "Chasing Pavements" with Sugarland.
In popular culture Edit
The song was performed by Melissa Benoist on the 2012 episode "The New Rachel" of Glee. In 2013, American R&B singer, Candice Glover performed the song on the singing competition series, American Idol, during her time as a contestant on the show. American rapper MGK also covered the song and it has over 8 million views on YouTube.
Soundtrack appearances Edit
Single artwork Edit
7" vinyl Edit
CD single Edit
|UK CD single / 7-inch vinyl|
|1.||"Chasing Pavements"||Adele Adkins, Eg White||Eg White||3:31|
|2.||"That’s It, I Quit, I’m Movin’ On" (live)||Sam Cooke||2:12|
|Europe||11 January 2008|
|United Kingdom||14 January 2008|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||56|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||10|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||21|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||21|
|Czech Republic (IFPI)||27|
|European Hot 100 Singles||8|
|Germany (Media Control AG)||46|
|Israel (Media Forest)||4|
|Japan (Billboard Hot 100)||43|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||9|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||2|
|US Billboard Hot 100||21|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||23|
|US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)||16|
|Dutch Singles Chart||36|
|UK Singles Chart||27|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Gold|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||Gold|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum|
- Adele – songwriting, vocals
- Eg White – songwriting, producer, music, string arrangement
- The London Studio Orchestra, Perry Montague-Mason – strings
- Steve Price – recording (strings)
- Tom Elmhirst – mixer
- Dan Parry – mixing assistant