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Adele wrote this with American songwriters Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Dixie Chicks) and Greg Wells (Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson). It was produced by Rick Rubin whose credits include Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Adele told The Sun: "That one's just about someone I've known for years who I've always loved and I think he's always loved me but we're too scared to be with each other in case that's it."
Part of the song was inspired by the 1999 high school-themed romantic comedy Never Been Kissed. "When I wrote the middle eight—it's really cheesy," Adele laughed in a song-by-song preview video. "The night before I wrote the middle eight I watched Never Been Kissed, with Drew Barrymore in it… You know at the end when she describes being kissed as the whole world slows down and goes in slow motion, everything else goes blurry? I kind of see it like that. Whenever I hear the bridge it really is sort of like that, and it's quite epic. I mean, I don't think Never Been Kissed is a particularly epic movie."
After the break-up which inspired much of 21, Adele had a rebound romance with the guy she sings about on this track. It didn't work out and Adele commented during her performance, which was captured on the Live at the Royal Albert Hall CD/DVD: "When I wrote this song, I was really an optimist. I thought the sun shone out of his ass... Not enough time has gone by since he was a f---ing pr--k to me. So I will chat s--t about him until I'm blue in the face."
John Lee Hooker
Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed Bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write The Blues.
Julie Gold - "From A Distance"
Julie was a secretary at HBO when she thawed out her childhood piano (literally) and wrote the hit that changed her life.