Chasing Pavements

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"Chasing Pavements"
Adele - Chasing Pavements.jpg
Single by Adele
from the album 19
B-side"That's It, I Quit, I'm Movin' On" (live)
Released14 January 2008[1]
StudioCompass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas
Producer(s)Eg White
Adele singles chronology
"Hometown Glory"
"Chasing Pavements"
"Cold Shoulder"
Music video
"Chasing Pavements" on YouTube

"Chasing Pavements" is a song by English singer-songwriter Adele, from her debut album 19. It was the second single from the album, after "Hometown Glory". It was released digitally in Ireland on 13 January 2008 and entered the Irish singles chart at number 26 through download sales alone. Having received a physical release, the single then leaped 19 places to number seven, where it peaked. On 20 January, 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. It was Adele's first Billboard Hot 100 entry, and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide of October 2011.[2]

The accompanying music video was directed by Mathew Cullen of production company Motion Theory.[3] "Chasing Pavements" received three nominations at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards; Record of the Year, Song of the Year and won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Background and composition[edit]

The song was inspired by an incident Adele had with a former boyfriend of six months.[4] After learning he had cheated on her, she went to the bar he was at and punched him in the face.[4] After being thrown out, Adele walked down the street alone and thought to herself, "What is it you're chasing? You're chasing an empty pavement."[5][6] She sang and recorded it on her mobile phone and arranged the chords when she got home.[4] "Chasing Pavements" is written in the key of C minor.[7]


"Chasing Pavements" received three nominations at the 51st Grammy Awards. The track received nominations in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year and for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[8] It won the award for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance 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. She performed "Chasing Pavements" with Sugarland at the ceremony.

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2008 MTV Video Music Awards Best Choreography Nominated [9]
MTVU Woodie Awards Best Video Woodie (Best Video of the Year) Nominated [10]
2009 BMI London Awards Award Winning song Won [11]
Brit Awards British Single of the Year Nominated [12]
Grammy Awards Record of the Year Nominated [13]
Song of the Year Nominated
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Won

Music video[edit]


Hyde Park, London where the incident happened.

The song's music video centres on a car crash (a white Peugeot 505 saloon) occurring in Hyde Park, London. While set in London, the video was shot in Los Angeles.[14]

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 is shown from an overhead view but as if they are shot side-on and they 'come 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.


The song's music video earned a 2008 MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Choreography.[3]

On 20 December 2008, the video was ranked No. 26 on VH1's Top 40 of 2008.[citation needed]

As "Chasing Pavements" was gaining popularity and had entered the American Billboard Top 40 singles chart, a rumor started about the "true" meaning of the song. 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. With airplay decreasing due to the rumor, the single missed the Top 20 charts, peaking at #21.

Live performances[edit]

Daniel premiered the song on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 7 December 2007.[15] She performed "Chasing Pavements", along with "Cold Shoulder", on Saturday Night Live on 18 October 2008.

In popular culture[edit]

Melissa Benoist performed a cover of "Chasing Pavements"in a Glee episode


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]

"Chasing Pavements" was featured in three episodes of Hollyoaks. The first was in a concluding scene of Hannah Ashworth's anorexia. The second was in a beginning scene of Charlie Dean's custody battle. The third was in a scene showing Dominic Reilly reflecting on Tina McQueen talking to him, which was aired on 15 October. The song was also featured in the film Wild Child, and the TV show 90210.

Track listing[edit]

UK – CD and 7-inch vinyl

  1. "Chasing Pavements" (Adele, Eg White) – 3:31
  2. "That's It, I Quit, I'm Movin' On" (live) (Sam Cooke) – 2:12



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[46] Platinum 10,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[47] Gold 7,500^
Italy (FIMI)[48] Gold 10,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[49] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[50] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[51] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date
Europe 11 January 2008
United Kingdom 14 January 2008


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  48. ^ "Italian single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "2008" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Chasing Pavements" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
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  51. ^ "American single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]