'21,' By The Numbers: Billboard Breaks Down Adele's Breakout Sophomore Release
'21,' By The Numbers: Billboard Breaks Down Adele's Breakout Sophomore Release



On March 12, Adele storms in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with sophomore album 21 (XL/Columbia), selling 352,000 first-week copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's her best sales week-and highest-charting album-to date, and also the highest frame for any album since the week ending Nov. 28, 2010.


On Dec. 3, 21 spent its 39th straight week in the top five of the Billboard 200, setting a record for most weeks in the top five since its debut (No. 1, March 12) in the chart's 55-year history. It surpassed Michael Jackson's Bad, which racked up 38 consecutive frames in the top five following its bow at No. 1 on Sept. 27, 1987.


On Sept. 17, "Someone Like You" jumps 19-1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming 21's second chart-topper following "Rolling in the Deep." The 18-position vault of "Someone" is the biggest jump to No. 1 in the chart's 53-year history that wasn't spurred by the release of a single.


The number of weeks that 21 single "Someone Like You" spent at No. 1 on the Triple A chart-the list's longest reign for a female artist.


The number of weeks 21 has spent at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 to date. That's the most since the soundtrack to "Titanic" set sail in 1998 and spent 16 (nonconsecutive) weeks at the top.


No other act claimed as many weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011 as Adele. Her two No. 1 Hot 100 singles-"Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You"-spent a combined 12 weeks atop the tally: seven for "Rolling," five for "Someone."


Lead single "Rolling in the Deep" appeared on 12 Nielsen BDS-based Billboard airplay charts, making it the most widely crossed-over song of the past 25 years. "Deep" has dotted a dozen radio charts, ranking on such genre charts as rock, pop/adult, R&B/hip-hop, dance and Latin.


The "Glee" cast's mashup of Adele's "Rumour Has It"/"Someone Like You" debuted at No. 11 on the Dec. 3 Billboard Hot 100. It tied for the fourth-highest-charting "Glee" single and is the show's biggest mashup to date.


With 5.6 million downloads sold (as of the week ending Nov. 27), "Rolling in the Deep" ranks as the ninth-best-selling digital song of all time, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Only four female artists have had an album spend at least 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200: Adele (21, 13 weeks), Judy Garland (Judy at Carnegie Hall, 13, 1961), Carole King (Tapestry, 15, 1971) and Whitney Houston (Whitney Houston, 14, 1986; "The Bodyguard" soundtrack, 20, 1992-93).


When "Someone Like You" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Sept. 17, it was the first ballad to hit the top in three years, three months and three weeks. The last to do so was Rihanna's "Take a Bow," which spent one week in the penthouse on May 24, 2008.


"Someone Like You" is the first piano-and-vocal-only ballad to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.



'21' And Up: Adele's Billboard Cover Story

This year, pop music was dominated by pop art. But then there was Adele, who represented something like austerity. She's raw in every way, whether regaling fans from the stage or channeling emotion through her unforgettable alto on wax. Still, how did a hyper-real, refreshingly thick, British singer manage to captivate-and subvert-a notoriously difficult American pop audience?

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