"Rumour Has It" is a song by the English singer-songwriter Adele and last single from her second studio album, 21. The song was written by Adele and Ryan Tedder while the production was handled by Tedder. Adele has said the song was not inspired by the media but it was aimed at her friends who believed things they heard about her. Musically, "Rumour Has It" contains soul, jazz, pop and blues elements accompanied by a stomp beat and piano. It was the fourth single from 21 in the United States.
"Rumour Has It" was written by Adele and Ryan Tedder and produced by Tedder. Talking about the collaboration with Tedder on "Rumour Has It", Adele revealed: "You can really tell when you hear a Ryan Tedder song, which I liked, but I wanted to come out with something that would surprise everyone when it was us two put together, so we came out with this sort of bluesy-pop stomping song really." Adele explained that the song was not inspired by the media, but was aimed at her own friends, who frequently spread rumours about her break-up with her boyfriend: "People might think it's about blogs and magazines and papers, but it's not. It's about my own friends believing stuff that they hear about me, which is pretty mortifying really." Adele said that "Rumour Has It" and "Rolling in the Deep" were lyrically opposite of "Someone Like You". She said that she wrote "Someone Like You" after she was tired of "being such a bitch" with "Rolling in the Deep" or "Rumour Has It."
On 28 October 2011, during an interview with Billboard, Columbia Records revealed that "Rumour Has It" would be released as the third US single from the album and serviced to pop and adult contemporary radio. However, the release of the song was scrapped and "Set Fire to the Rain" was released instead on 21 November 2011. Columbia explained: "Our research found more programmer preference for 'Set Fire to the Rain'. [...] Both 'Rumour' and 'Fire' came back strong, but 'Fire' was a bit stronger. [...] It's a better plan to go with 'Fire' over 'Rumour' at pop and adult radio." After the 2012 Grammy Awards "Rumour Has It" was then released as the fourth single.
"Rumour Has It" is a percussion-driven soul and jazz number which contains pop and blues elements while Adele described as a "bluesy pop stomping song". Ian Walker of AbsolutePunk wrote that the song "details the complexity that would obviously come with being a part of multiple love triangles." In the stripped-down piano bridge Adele's vocals carry a "twinge of sweetness" before "being rushed away by the infectious chorus once more" as stated by Walker. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club found a "persuasive backbeat" and soul comparing the song to Adele's earlier material during her first studio album 19 (2008) due to their similar instrumentation consisting of piano and guitars. Ian Wade of BBC Online wrote that the song "channels the avenging rock'n'roll soul of Wanda Jackson." Tom Townshend of MSN Music found a "similar primal stomp" to "Rolling in the Deep" (2010) which made a "pacey, hypnotic, funk, interrupted by sublime symphonic blues." According to the sheet music published by Universal Music Publishing Group at the website Musicnotes.com, "Rumour Has It" is written in the key of D Minor. It is set in a time signature of common time with an up-tempo beat of 126 beats per minute. It incorporates pop, adult alternative, pop rock and neo soul elements while Adele's vocal ranges from the note of D3 to the note of B4.
"Rumour Has It" received generally positive reviews. Ian Walker of AbsolutePunk commented that in "Rumour Has It", Adele is "equal parts demeaning and seductive, flitting between emotional poles with an impressive elegance that's all too rare in today's music scene." While reviewing 21, Allmusic's Matt Collar concluded that "Rumour Has It" and "He Won't Go" are "terrifically catchy, booty-shaking numbers, and exactly the kind of songs you want and expect from Adele." Noel Murray of The A.V. Club wrote that the song was "overpowering", while Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly praised Adele's voice comparing it with The Shangri-Las. Chris Parkin of NME called it "a swamp song so perfectly shadowy David Lynch might be fond of it." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times found "hollow counterpoint vocals, and a daringly morbid bridge that jerks away from the song’s rhythm, before once again acceding to it." Matthew Cole of Slant Magazine concluded that when Adele sings an adventurous arrangement like the "spooky Tin Pan Alley blues" on "Rumour Has It", she "sounds every bit the phenomenon the press has made her out to be." Joanne Dorken of MTV UK said that the song is a "bluesy/soul anthem [which] shows a more sassy side to Adele. With its banging drums, infectious beats and cheeky lyrics, you can't help but tap your feet to this up-tempo number from Miss. Adkin."PopMatters' Jer Fairall called "Rumour Has It" a "booming John Barry homage."
A writer of URB compared Adele's voice with a "'40s, piano-vixen lounge singer." John Murphy of musicOMH wrote that "Rumour Has It has more sass, a brilliant blues/soul anthem with more fantastic drumming and a cute lyrical twist at the end." While reviewing 21, Gary McGinley of No Ripcord called the song a "potential single" from the album, while Ian Wade of BBC Online called it a "literally banging" song. Jim Farber of Daily News wrote that Adele "mined a bayou stomp" the catchy "Rumour Has It." Allison Stewart of The Washington Post wrote that "'Rumour Has It' is set in a fictional universe where Dusty Springfield fronts the Ronettes."Sputnikmusic's Joseph Viney chose the song as the best on the album, praising its "pounding drums, sweet vocal harmonies and a tale of love both won and lost with some alacrity."
"Rumour Has It" has charted on various formats, including the Rock Songs chart peaking at number 28 and the Triple A chart, where it reached the top position for one week in August 2011. It has also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 96 for the week ending 3 August 2011. As of March 2012, "Rumour Has It" sold over 1,000,000 copies in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan, and should be noted that the song sold 500,000 copies before its single release. The track already has a history on the singles chart. "Rumour" reached No. 16 on the Hot 100 in December, fueled largely by the "Glee" cast's exposure of the song. The same week, the TV troupe bowed at No. 11 with its mash-up of the song and Adele's "Someone Like You". To date, "Rumour Has It" is the only single from 21 to not reach the summit of the Billboard Hot 100.
Adele added the song to the set list on her second worldwide tour Adele Live. She also performed the song during the 2011 iTunes Festival in London. American singer Jeremih covered the song during Billboard's Mashup Mondays. During an interview he said: "I know you probably haven't heard this type of sound from my voice, so I just wanted to touch it. And see what I could do with it. [...] The bridge is my favorite part. It showcased my vocals entirely, being so bare, just the keys and guitar. At first I was going to switch from keys to strings, but that was just too much." Jessica Letkemann of Billboard praised Jeremih's tenor and his "dusky-yet-feminine voice" saying that he was "centered on stripping the song's instrumentation down." During the cover, Jeremih made references to Vanilla Ice, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.
Amber Riley, Naya Rivera and Heather Morris sang a mash-up of "Someone Like You" and "Rumour Has It" during Glee's episode "Mash Off" which aired on 15 November 2011. However, the cover was posted online on 10 November. Jenna Mullins of E! Online praised the cover saying that it will "knock your socks right off" and a writer for OK! described it as "AMAZE-ing". Erica Futterman of Rolling Stone noted that the cover was "one of the greatest things the show has done [so far]." Similarly, Billboard's Raye Votta commented that the cover was "arguably the best performance 'Glee' has done since "Don't Stop Believin'"." Their version of the song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 while selling 160,000 digital downloads in its first week and became the fifth highest digital sales week by a Glee Cast single. In Canada, the song debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number 12, selling 14,000 downloads. The mash-up also peaked at number 35 on the UK Singles Chart, number 28 in Australia and number 19 on the Irish Singles Chart.