Chasing Pavements

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Chasing Pavements"
Adele - Chasing Pavements.png
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 recorded by English singer-songwriter Adele for her debut studio album, 19 (2008). Written by Adele with its producer Eg White, the song was released as the second single from the album on 14 January 2008. Its lyrics describe questioning whether or not to keep searching for love after a relationship has suddenly ended. Adele was inspired to write the song after discovering her boyfriend's infidelity, and the subsequent altercation with him in a pub.

"Chasing Pavements" received critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its lyrics, production and Adele's vocal performance, with many citing it amongst the singer's best songs. Commercially, the song proved to be her record charts debut worldwide. It topped the charts in Norway, and reached the top 10 in eight countries, including the UK, where it debuted at its peak of number two on the UK Singles Chart and is certified double Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The accompanying music video was directed by Mathew Cullen of the production company Motion Theory.[3] At the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, "Chasing Pavements", received three nominations, winning Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and being nominated for Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

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] 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.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

"Chasing Pavements" is considered one of Adele's best songs by several music critics. Chuck Arnold of Billboard listed the song second in a ranking of her discography, comparing Adele's songwriting ability to Carole King and noting that its sophistication was way beyond her years.[7] In a readers' poll by Rolling Stone where it placed at number four, Brittany Spanos commented that it was not as "viscerally emotional" as Adele's later work on her second studio album, 21, but a "fantastic" early glimpse of her abilities.[8] Similarly, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis ranked "Chasing Pavements" at number five, and praised its sophistication and its chorus's emphasis on Adele's vocals.[9] Jazz Monroe of NME listed the song as Adele's eighth best, and said that it was great despite its big chorus, and described its hook as grandiose.[10] Parade and American Songwriter both ranked the song number nine on their lists of Adele's greatest songs.[11][12]


"Chasing Pavements" received three nominations at the 51st Grammy Awards. The single received nominations in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year and for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[13] It won the Grammy award for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance but lost 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. Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" with Sugarland at the ceremony.

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2008 MTV Video Music Awards Best Choreography Nominated [14]
MTVU Woodie Awards Best Video Woodie (Best Video of the Year) Nominated [15]
2009 BMI London Awards Award Winning song Won [16]
Brit Awards British Single Nominated [17]
Grammy Awards Record of the Year Nominated [18]
Song of the Year Nominated
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Won

Chart performance[edit]

"Chasing Pavements" debuted at its peak of number two on the UK Singles Chart issued for 20 January 2008.[19] The song remained at this position for three consecutive weeks and stayed on the chart for 25 weeks, earning a double Platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[20][21] The song reached number 28 on the Canadian Hot 100.[22] Music Canada certified it double Platinum.[23] "Chasing Pavements" also peaked within the top 10 of national record charts, at number one in Norway,[24] number two in Scotland,[25] number four in Israel,[26] Japan,[27] number seven in Ireland,[28] Italy,[29] number eight in Denmark,[30] number nine in the Netherlands,[31] and number 10 in Belgium.[32] The song received a Gold certification in Denmark,[33] Italy,[34] and Norway.[35] On the US Billboard Hot 100, the song charted at number 21.[36] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified "Chasing Pavements" Platinum, which denotes one million copies sold, while Billboard reported it had sold 1.2 million units as of October 2011.[37][38]

Music video[edit]


Hyde Park, London where the incident happened.

The song's music video focuses on a car crash (a white Peugeot 505 saloon) occurring in Hyde Park, London. While set in London, the video was actually shot in Los Angeles.[39]

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 accident scene. Then, she stands beside a tree continuing to sing until it ends with the victims 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 a bird's-eye 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 the couple appears happy together, though 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 once 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 number 26 on VH1's Top 40 of 2008.[citation needed]

Live performances[edit]

Adele premiered the song on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 7 December 2007.[40] She also performed "Chasing Pavements", along with "Cold Shoulder", on Saturday Night Live on 18 October 2008.

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



Certifications for "Chasing Pavements"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[62] Gold 30,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[23] 2× Platinum 160,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[33] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[34] Gold 10,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[35] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] 2× Platinum 1,000,000[21]
United States (RIAA)[37] Platinum 1,000,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release dates for "Chasing Pavements"
Region Date
Europe 11 January 2008
United Kingdom 14 January 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 Machine Gun Kelly also covered the song and it has over 9.5 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 instance was during the beginning scene of Charlie Dean's custody battle. The third was in a scene showing Dominic Reilly reflecting on Tina McQueen talking to him. The song was also featured in the film Wild Child, and the TV show 90210.


  1. ^ "ADELE: Music". n.d. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  2. ^ Maher, Natalie (2 June 2022). "50 of the Best Songs from the 2000s". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 4 November 2022. "Chasing Pavements" was Adele's first major entrance into pop culture's continuum...
  3. ^ a b "Coldplay and Adele snag VMA nods Virgin Media 28 August 2008". n.d. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Frehsée, Nicole (22 January 2009), "Meet Adele, the U.K.'s Newest Soul Star". Rolling Stone. (1070):26
  5. ^ "Interview: Adele – Singer and Songwriter BlogCriticsMagazine 16 July 2008". n.d. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  6. ^ "CHASING PAVEMENTS Chords – Adele". n.d. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  7. ^ Arnold, Chuck (5 May 2020). "Every Adele Song Ranked: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  8. ^ Spanos, Brittany (12 November 2015). "Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Adele Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  9. ^ Petridis, Alexis (22 October 2020). "Adele – every song ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  10. ^ Monroe, Jazz (1 May 2015). "Adele: Her 10 best songs". NME. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  11. ^ Sager, Jessica (19 November 2021). "Rolling in the Deep Cuts! These Are the 25 Best Adele Songs Ever (Including 5 New Tracks From 30!)". Parade. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  12. ^ Benitez-Eves, Tina (22 October 2022). "Top 10 Adele Songs". American Songwriter. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  13. ^ The 51st Annual Grammy Awards Nominations List 3 December 2008 Archived 4 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "2008 MTV Video Music Awards". MTV. Archived from the original on 14 December 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  15. ^ "mtvU Woodie Awards 2008". MTV. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  16. ^ "2009 BMI London Awards". Broadcast Music, Inc. 6 October 2009. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Full list of awards and nominees for 2009 Brit Awards". Independent. 20 January 2009. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Grammy 2009 Winners List". MTV. 8 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Adele: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  21. ^ a b Griffiths, George (14 October 2021). "Adele's Official Top 20 biggest songs revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  22. ^ a b "Adele Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  23. ^ a b "Canadian single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements". Music Canada. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  24. ^ a b "Adele – Chasing Pavements". VG-lista.
  25. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Media Forest: Airplay chart". 16 October 2008.
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ a b "Discography Adele". n.d. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Adele – Chasing Pavements". n.d. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  30. ^ a b "Adele – Chasing Pavements". Tracklisten.
  31. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – Adele" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  32. ^ a b "Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  33. ^ a b "Danish single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  34. ^ a b "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" under "Sezione".
  35. ^ a b "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  36. ^ a b "Adele Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  37. ^ a b "American single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements". Recording Industry Association of America.
  38. ^ Trust, Gary (12 October 2011). "Adele's 'Someone Like You' Atop Hot 100, Passes 2 Million Downloads". Billboard. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  39. ^ Wells, Meg (3 June 2008). "Anatomy of a Music Video: Chasing Pavements". Flux. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  40. ^ "Jonathan Ross welcomes Lucas, Walliams, Seinfeld and Zellweger". 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008.
  41. ^ "Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  42. ^ "Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  43. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – RADIO – TOP 100 and insert 200818 into search. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  44. ^ "Hits of the World: Eurocharts". Billboard. Vol. 120, no. 5. 2 February 2008. p. 55.
  45. ^ "Adele: Chasing Pavements" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  46. ^ "Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in French). Les classement single.
  47. ^ "Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  48. ^ "Adele Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  49. ^ "Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  50. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200822 into search.
  51. ^ "Adele – Chasing Pavements". Singles Top 100.
  52. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  53. ^ "Adele Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  54. ^ "Adele Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  55. ^ "Adele Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  56. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2008". Ultratop. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  57. ^ "Year End Charts: European Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  58. ^ "Japan Hot 100 – Year-End 2008" (in Japanese). Billboard Japan. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  59. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 2008". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  60. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 2008" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  61. ^ "Official Singles Chart : 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  62. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  63. ^ "British single certifications – Adele – Chasing Pavements". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 July 2022.