This bluesy stomp is part of Adele's second album, titled 21. She penned the song with Beyonce/Leona Lewis songwriter Ryan Tedder.
The song sounds like it could be about the famous folks who show up in the tabloids, but it's not. Adele says the inspiration was a lot closer to home.
After being away from home for about 18 months, she returned to the UK and reconnected with her old friends, meeting up for lunch and going out at night. She was shocked when her friends asked her about rumors that they had heard about Adele. "My own friends were gossiping about me and believing stuff that they'd hear," she said. "I was mortified, really. I had to set the record straight with my own girlfriends who know and love me."
Ryan Tedder was in the middle of touring his band OneRepublic's second album Waking Up when the opportunity came up to write with the British songstress. He recalled to Billboard magazine: "I blocked off a week and said, 'I have to work with Adele.' Our management was like, 'She's good, but what's the big deal?' I thought she was the best singer in the world, so I wanted to halt everything to make sure there was time to work with her."
Tedder (from Billboard magazine): "This was written on the first day, sang on the second and she knocked it out in one pass. And much like everything else on 21, she walked in with a very clear idea of what she wanted to say and write about, so the writing was superfast."
"The music I came up with was initially inspired by a Radiohead song," Tedder added. "I loved that had a dirty blues feel to it."
Ryan Tedder believes his catholic taste in music helps with his songwriting. "The music that I listen to and the music that I write and produce inform each other in the strangest of ways," he told The London Sunday Times. Tedder added that when Adele and him came up with this raw, bluesy tune he was listening to a lot of Muddy Waters.
Rumor, a German shepherd that won Best In Show at the 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, was named after this song.
Ryan Tedder told the US breakfast show Today that this song was inspired by Adele's frustration at false speculation about her love life. He recalled how an angry Adele stormed into one of their recording sessions exclaiming: "People in London, my friends are saying, 'Rumour has it that Adele has gone off and done this with this guy and she's done this with another guy,' and I didn't do any of it, it's a rumour!'"
Tedder responded: "There it is. We're gonna write a song called Rumour Has It."