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Rolling in the Deep (song)

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"Rolling in the Deep"
Adele-Rolling In The Deep
Single by Adele
from the album 21
"If It Hadn't Been for Love"
November 29, 2010
Eastcote Studios, London
Pop, soul, blues
XL Recordings
Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth
Paul Epworth
Adele singles chronology
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"Water and a Flame" "Someone Like You"
21 track listing
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"Rumour Has It"

"Rolling in the Deep" (registered onto Adele's BMI as "Rollin' in the Deep"[1]) is a song written, recorded, and performed by English singer-songwriter Adele for her second studio album, 21. The song was written by Paul Epworth and Adele, who described it as a "dark blues-y gospel disco tune." It was first released on 29 November 2010 as the lead single off the album. Adele's cover of The SteelDrivers' "If It Hadn't Been for Love" served as the single's B-side.[2] The song was originally going to be placed as the sixth track on the album rather than the first.[3]

The song was critically acclaimed upon its release. The single peaked at number one in some countries in Europe, as well in Canada and the United States. As of November 2013, "Rolling in the Deep" had sold over 8 million copies in the United States, making it her best-selling single outside her home country, topping her previous best-selling "Chasing Pavements."[2] It is also the best selling digital single for a female artist in the US as well as being the second most digitally bought song.

"Rolling in the Deep" has reached number one in eleven countries and top five in several other countries. The song has also become Adele's first number-one song in the United States, reaching the top spot of four Billboard charts. "Rolling in the Deep" spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, the longest-running number-one single of 2011. In July, the video was nominated for seven MTV Video Music Awards nominations, making it the most nominated music video of the year. The video won three awards: Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.[2]

Background and CompositionEdit

Adele wrote the first verse of the song in a Chinese restaurant that she had performed at in 2008 and then didn't finish the song until two years later, when she finished the song with Paul Epworth, seeking inspiration for the remainder of the song in her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. When she wrote the song, she intended to "challenge" herself and not make the song entirely soul and R&B.[4] She further stated that she and Paul Epworth wrote the track in three hours the day after her breakup with her boyfriend. She showed up ready to write a tragic and lovelorn ballad.[5]

In an interview, she expressed her initial reservations prior to meeting with Epworth due to their divergent musical styles, but characterized their collaboration as "a match made in heaven." She also credited Epworth for her increased vocal confidence, stating, "He brought a lot out of me. He brought my voice out as well—there's notes that I hit in that song ["Rolling in the Deep"] that I never even knew I could hit." Adele described the song to Spin Magazine as:

It's me saying, 'Get the fuck out of my house' instead of me begging him to come back. It's my reaction to being told my life was going be boring and lonely and rubbish, and that I was a weak person if I didn't stay in a relationship. I wrote it as a sort of 'Fuck you.'[5]

According to Bill Lamb in his review of the song for, "Rolling in the Deep" features "martial beats, pounding piano keys and chanting backing singers." Adele's vocals have been described as having a "hint of Wanda Jackson's dirty-blues growl." According to Nadine Cheung from AOL Radio Blog, the song is "sung from the perspective of a scorned lover, who is finally able to see the light, but despite regretful sentiments, reconciliation is not an option here."

According to the sheet music published by EMI Music Publishing, "Rolling in the Deep" is written in the key of C minor, in common time with an approximate tempo of 104 beats per minute. The accompaniment uses open fifths instead of chords, in a progression of C5–G5–B5–G5–B5 Adele's voice spans from B3 to D5, the highest note being sung using the head voice.[2]


Critical receptionEdit

The song has received very positive reception for Adele's vocals, its lyrics, and instrumentation. The Sun called the song "an epic, foot-stomper of a pop anthem with thumping piano and a vocal you would expect from a veteran of 20 years on the road." Bill Lamb from gave it a perfect score of 5, saying: "'Rolling In the Deep' [...] wastes no time in presenting the stunning bluesy authority of her voice. Less than five seconds in she begins proclaiming the rise of emotion that results in fantasies of revenge against a lover who has done her wrong. Hers is a voice that can raise chills up the spine, and, when she is in a mood like this, the sense of foreboding will rivet your attention."Jason Lipshutz of Billboard magazine complimented the song's "sweeping chorus" and felt that the song "places a similar emphasis on its refrain but its multilayered instrumentation gives the English singer's wail a previously unheard depth." Lipshutz also praised Adele's vocal performance by writing, "Adele's noticeable leap in vocal confidence highlights the track. She gracefully lingers on the last line of the verses and attacks the sorrowful chorus' first words, 'We could have had it all,' head on." Rolling Stone magazine's Barry Walters gave the song a positive review stating, "'Rolling in the Deep' finds the 22-year-old in bluesy gospel mode, sounding powerful but not particularly pop. Starting with a stroked acoustic guitar, this breakup-mourning track builds to a stomping, hand-clapping climax that affirms the British knack for rejiggering the sound of American roots music."[2]

Commercial performanceEdit

Upon its American release, "Rolling in the Deep" became Adele's second single to chart in the country. The song first debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-eight on 25 December 2010. Later on, it became her first ever single to top a Billboard chart when it reached number one on the Hot Adult Top 40 chart in March 2011, and became her first number one hit in the country when it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May 2011. As a result, Adele became the first British singer to have topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts in the same week since Leona Lewis did the same back in 2008. In its 24th charting week, "Rolling In The Deep" stayed at number-one, making it the latest single at the top since Creed's "With Arms Wide Open" spent its only week on top in its thirty-first charting week in November 2000. It has been certified 7x platinum, making it the #1 most sold song by a female artist in the US with 7.8 million sales as of April 2013. It is #2 for most singles sold, only behind The Black Eyed Peas. As of April 2013, the song sold 12 million copies worldwide.

Music videoEdit

The music video for "Rolling in the Deep" was directed by Sam Brown and was premiered on Channel 4 on 3 December 2010. The video begins with an abandoned house, where Adele is sitting in a chair singing. During the video, the scenes shows hundreds of glasses filled with water that vibrate to the beat of a drum, a mysterious person (played by Jennifer White, who also choreographed the sequence) dancing in a room with white flour and dust, the drummer playing the drums behind the stairs, plates being thrown and breaking on the wall in front of the staircase, and a white model of a city which is set on fire by five bursting light bulbs at the end of the song. On July 20, the video was nominated for 7 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Best Direction, and won three for Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.[2] It also won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 2012.


Adele performed the song several times. On November 24, 2010, the singer appeared on Dutch presenter Paul de Leeuw's Madiwodovrij Show to perform the song for the first time. She also performed it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the United States on December 3, 2010. The song was also performed in front of the Royal Family at the Royal Variety Performance, on December 9, 2010; the performance was broadcast December 16, 2010. She also performed it on Alan Carr: Chatty Man in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2011.

On January 21, 2011, Adele performed "Rolling in the Deep" in the finale of The Voice of Holland where she also performed "Make You Feel My Love" with finalist Kim de Boer. On January 26, 2011, she performed the song in the French television show Le Grand Journal. The song has also been featured in a television spot for the 2011 film I Am Number Four, in which it is also featured. As part of a promotional tour in North America for the album, Adele performed the song on Late Show with David Letterman on February 21, 2011, on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on February 24, on MTV Live on March 1, and on Dancing with the Stars on May 10.

After Adele's vocal surgery recovery, it was confirmed Adele would be making her official comeback at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. She performed "Rolling in the Deep," opening with an acapella version of the chorus before beginning the first verse with the rest of the band. This was her first major performance since the surgery. After the performance, she received a standing ovation from the audience.[6]

Additionally, the song was included in the encore of both her Adele Live and Adele Live 2016 tours.

Cultural impactEdit

Media usageEdit

The song has been used in season 3 episode 14 of 90210, season 8 episode 21 of One Tree Hill and in Gossip Girl season 4 finale. It was also featured in CBC's intro to Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. On FOX's So You Think You Can Dance the song was played during Mitchell Kelly's solo performance in Season 8's Week 3 Results show, and on NBC's The Voice both Angela Wolff and finalist Vicci Martinez sang their own renditions of "Rolling in the Deep" as their audition songs. "Rolling in the Deep" was featured as the theme song in the sci-fi thriller I Am Number Four and is also used as the theme tune for E4 reality series Made in Chelsea. It was played heavily in promos during the 2011 NBA Draft. Linkin Park performed a piano cover of the song during the iTunes Festival on 4 July 2011. The song appears twice in the Secret Life of the American Teenager episode "Hole in the Wall" on 11 July 2011 once during Adrian's walk at the beginning of the episode and in final minutes after Adrian has punched holes with her fist in several portions of the walls in her empty nursery. The song recently appeared in the trailer for the 2011 Australian crime drama Underbelly: Razor, and in the American comedy series Enlightened. The song has also appeared in various commercials, such as for a women's clothing store in Chile. It was performed on the FOX television show Glee as well.

The song became popular and has been covered by various artists included David Cook, Haley Reinhart, Nicole Scherzinger and Celine Dion. Dion stated while she was covering it on a concert that Adele "is amazing". [7] John Legend uploaded a R&B A capella version of the song in April 2011 on SoundCloud. The song was then covered by Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff of Glee for the second season episode "Prom Queen". The single charted at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and at forty-nine on the UK Singles Chart and was later released on the album Glee: The Music, Volume 6. At the 2011 iTunes Festival, Linkin Park performed an acoustic version of "Rolling in the Deep" as part of their set, with Chester Bennington as the vocalist. This recording was released to the iTunes Store as a single, debuting at number forty-two on the UK Singles Chart. On 14 July 2011, Patti Smith included a cover of "Rolling in the Deep" at her performance at the Castle Clinton.

"Rolling in the Deep" has been covered over 350,000 times worldwide. In 2012, a mashup video was made and posted on YouTube that featured 71 different cover versions of the song.[8]

Single artworkEdit

CD single Edit

Track listingEdit

Digital download
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Rolling in the Deep" Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth Paul Epworth 3:46
Digital EP
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Rolling in the Deep" Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth Paul Epworth 3:46

"Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)"

Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth Jamie xx 4:17

"Rolling in the Deep (Acapella)"

Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth N/A 3:56
CD Single
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Rolling in the Deep" Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth Paul Epworth 3:46
2. "If It Hadn't Been for Love" Michael Henderson, Christopher Stapleton Rodaidh McDonald 3:08
Record Store Day Exclusive 10" Vinyl
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)" Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth Jamie xx 4:17
2. "Rolling in the Deep (Live at World Café)" Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth N/A 4:15


"Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)"
Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)
Song by Adele
"Rolling in the Deep"
January 16, 2011
XL Recordings
Jamie xx

"Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)", sometimes listed as "Rolling in the Deep Remix", is the song's official remix. It was remixed by Jamie xx. An official audio video was released by XL Recordings to YouTube; it featured the remix's official cover and the audio of the song. The remix was made available for purchase on iTunes Sunday, January 16th, 2011.

In 2011, in honor of Record Store Day, Adele released a rare 10" vinyl record featuring the Jamie xx Shuffle Remix of the song, as well as a rare version of "Rolling in the Deep" performed live at NPR's World Café session that was previously unreleased.[9]

Charts and certificationsEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2010–14) Peak


Australia (ARIA) 3
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia) 1
Brazil (Billboard Hot 100 Airplay) 3
Brazil (Billboard Hot Pop) 1
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 1
Czech Republic (IFPI) 38
Denmark (Tracklisten) 3
Europe (Euro Digital Songs) 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 1
France (SNEP) 3
Germany (Media Control AG) 1
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard) 4
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40) 2
Iceland (Tónlist) 1
Ireland (IRMA) 2
Israel (Media Forest) 2
Italy (FIMI) 1
Japan (Japan Hot 100) 6
Luxemburg Digital Songs (Billboard) 1
Mexico Airplay (Billboard) 25
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 3
Norway (VG-lista) 8
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 20) 5
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard) 2
Scotland (Official Charts Company 2
Slovakia (IFPI) 10
South Korea International Chart (GAON) 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 11
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard) 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard) 1
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard) 14
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard) 61
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard) 15
US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard) 16
US Rhythmic Airplay 12

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2010) Position
Dutch Top 40 36
Chart (2011) Position
Australian Singles Chart 5
Austrian Singles Chart 16
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 2
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 1
Canadian Hot 100 1
Danish Singles Chart 10
French Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 4
Greek Airplay Chart 19
Hungarian Airplay Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 11
Israeli Airplay Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 5
Dutch Top 40 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 6
Spanish Singles Chart 18
Swiss Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 9
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Pop Songs (Billboard) 5
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 3
US Adult Pop Songs (Billboard) 1
Chart (2012) Position
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 51
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 32
Hungarian Airplay Chart 41
Israeli Airplay Chart (ACUM) 6
Spanish Singles Chart 25
Swiss Singles Chart 34
US Billboard 71

All-time chartsEdit

Chart Position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 25
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 15
France ( SNEP) 1
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100) 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 3
US Billboard Hot 100 31


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA) 7× Platinum 490,000^
Belgium (BEA) 2× Platinum 60,000*
Brazil (ABPD) Platinum 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada) 9× Platinum 720,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) Platinum 30,000^
Germany (BVMI) Platinum 300,000^
Italy (FIMI) 3× Platinum 90,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON) 3× Platinum+Gold 210,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ) 3× Platinum 45,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE Platinum 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland) 3× Platinum 90,000x
United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum 1,000,000
United States (RIAA) 8× Platinum 8,060,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

† Since May 2013 RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.



  • Adele – songwriting, lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Paul Epworth – songwriting, producer, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Neil Cowley – piano
  • Leo Taylor – drums
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixing
  • Dan Parry – mixing assistant
  • Mark Rankin – engineer
  • Tom Coyne – mastering


Download the ringtone and see more at Lyrics wiki!

There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go ahead and sell me out and I'll lay your shit bare

See how I'll leave with every piece of you
Don't underestimate the things that I will do
There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch and its bringing me out the dark

The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling...

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hands
And you played it to the beat

Baby, I have no story to be told
But I've heard one on you, now I'm gonna make your head burn
Think of me in the depths of your despair
Make a home down there as mine sure won't be shared

The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
And you played it to the beat

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
But you played it with the beat

Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow

We could have had it all
We could have had it all
It all, it all it all,

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
And you played it
To the beat

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
But you played it
You played it you played it you played it
To the beat


Throughout the chorus, second pre-chorus, and second half of the bridge, backup singers can be heard singing "You're gonna wish you never had met me, tears are gonna fall rolling in the deep."

Lyrical controversyEdit

In the first verse, it was speculated by many as to whether Adele was saying the word "shit" or "ship" in the line "Go ahead and sell me out and I'll lay your ____ bare." Many radio stations censored the word, believing it to be "shit", although the lyrics from Gracenote state that the word was "ship," arguing that it was a sailing reference. However, according to the original handwritten lyrics (as seen below), the lyrics are "I'll lay your shit bare." Being that Adele changed the song's lyrics to I'll lay your stuff bare" in some live versions of the song, it is plausible to state that the official lyrics are "I'll lay your shit bare", making "Rolling in the Deep" one of only two Adele songs to feature explicit lyrics (along with "Hometown Glory").[11]

Adele - Rolling in the Deep (Handwritten Lyrics)


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