Adele has made history and it’s summed up with one simple word: “Hello.”
On Monday, Billboard announced that the British singer’s first single in years, “Hello,” debuted as the number one song in the U.S. and simultaneously set a single-week sales record.
In the lead single off her forthcoming album ”25,” Adele croons “I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done.” It turns out she didn’t need to dial up fans to apologize. Despite a three-year hiatus — a lifetime in the entertainment industry — audiences couldn’t get enough of Adele’s mega-ballad. The single sold a record-shattering 1.11 million downloads for the week ending Oct. 29, ensuring it a spot atop Billboard’s coveted Hot 100 chart. “Hello” is the first to move more than 1 million units in a week, nearly doubling Flo Rida’s previous record of 636,000 downloads for “Right Round” in 2009.
“Hello” also debuted atop UK charts, where it obliterated the record for single streams in a week — Justin Bieber’s 3.8 million plays for “What Do You Mean” — by about double – 7.32 million, according to Billboard. Bieber also took second-fiddle to Adele stateside. “Sorry,” the second single from his comeback record “Purpose,” took the sophomore slot this week with 277,000 downloads purchased.
Only one other time in Billboard’s Hot 100’s 57-year history have two singles debuted in the top two positions. The first was in 2003, when American Idol winners Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard released their first career singles “This is the Night” and “Flying Without Wings.”
“Hello” tells the story of someone who, despite ending her relationship with a former lover, realizes several years later she made a mistake. The one-time heart-breaker tries to reach out to her ex but, despite calling “a thousand times,” it seems the two have seemingly traded places.
An accompanying six-minute music video directed by Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has already also made history, according to Entertainment Weekly. Co-starring Tristan Wilds of “The Wire” fame, it’s the first music video to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras. Adele is seen throughout retracing the key memories of her failed relationship through a sepia lens.
Adele’s last commercial single was the 2012 theme to the James Bond movie “Skyfall,” which won both a Grammy and an Oscar. In an open letter to fans published on social media, the singer apologized for her slow return to publishing music. “I’m sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened,” she said.
Her album 25 is due to hit store shelves on Friday, Nov. 20.