Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' Is The Biggest Crossover Song of Past 25 Years

Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' Is The Biggest Crossover Song of Past 25 Years

Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' Is The Biggest Crossover Song of Past 25 Years

"Deep" has depth.

With a title like "Rolling in the Deep," Adele's multi-format smash has, fittingly, found a home at a record number of radio formats, cementing its status as, according to Billboard charts, the most widely crossed over song of the past 25 years.

This week, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" adds Hot Latin Songs to its chart discography, marking the unprecedented and record-extending 12th Nielsen BDS-based Billboard airplay chart on which the song has appeared.

Since it debuted on the Triple A adult alternative chart the week of Dec. 11, 2010, where it would go on to lead for 14 frames - the list's longest reign for a song by a woman - "Deep" has dotted a dozen radio charts ranking such genres as rock, pop/adult, R&B/hip-hop, dance and Latin.

How historic is the cross-format saturation of "Deep"? Dating to the launch of Latin Songs the week of Oct. 4, 1986, just five other artists have even appeared on rock, pop/adult, R&B/hip-hop, dance and Latin song charts: Phil Collins, Eminem, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry and Suzanne Vega. Unlike Adele, however, all five acts have needed multiple songs to make their five-format crossovers.


(It's perhaps surprising to see folk singer/songwriter Vega alongside acts that have more commonly crossed format boundaries. Vega earned her place on the list with two songs: 1987's "Luka" and 1990's "Tom Diner," the latter of which, originally an a capella album cut, found support at R&B/hip-hop and dance circles courtesy of its inventive remix by DNA).

In addition to its airplay ubiquity, "Deep" has sold 4.33 million downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, helping the song spend seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 beginning the week of May 21.

Here's a look at the airplay chart odyssey of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" across the record 12 radio-based surveys on which it has appeared:

Debut Date, Chart, Peak Position
Dec. 11, 2010, Triple A, No. 1 (14 weeks)
Dec. 25, 2010, Adult Top 40, No. 1 (11 weeks*)
Jan. 22, 2011, Rock Songs, No. 15
March 19, 2011, Alternative, No. 21
March 26, 2011, Adult Contemporary, No. 1 (four weeks*)
April 2, 2011, Hot 100 Airplay (all-format), No. 1 (six weeks)
April 2, 2011, Mainstream Top 40, No. 1 (five weeks)
April 2, 2011, Dance Airplay, No. 2
May 28, 2011, Rhythmic, No. 12
July 2, 2011, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, No. 61
July 2, 2011, Latin Pop Airplay, No. 17*
July 23, 2011, Hot Latin Songs, No. 43*

*As of this week

Considering the song's blend of pop, soul and rock, it's understandable that "Deep" has been welcomed at numerous English-language formats.

But, why has Latin radio joined the "Rolling" rally?

Billboard Latin charts manager Rauly Ramirez notes that as Arbitron's electronic Portable People Meter (PPM) has replaced its decades-old diary methodology to tabulate its ratings in 48 of the top 50 markets, stations across all formats, including Latin, have become more selective about their programming.

(PPM measurement allows programmers to track what listeners are tuning to - and away from - on a song-by-song basis).

"It doesn't matter as much what genre music is anymore," Ramirez says. "As Latin pop stations fight to keep their audience numbers up in the PPM era, they'll play what they know will work."

Ramirez notes that "Deep" is one of 20 English-language tracks that have charted on Hot Latin Songs so far this year, joining hits by such acts as Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Rihanna. In comparison, 15 English-language hits crossed to the survey by this time last year and eight did so between January and this week in July 2009.

Of the all-format audience of 149 million for "Deep" in the July 6-12 tracking week, Latin stations accounted for 3 million impressions. Latin Pop Airplay panelist WKAQ/San Juan, P.R., led all Latin reporters with 67 plays for the song in that span.

"If a British pop/rock singer has the hottest song in the general market, so be it," says Ramirez.

"Latin pop stations will play it."