Adele Defies the “Sophomore Jinx”

Many incredible musicians have entered our eardrums with amazing debut albums that have set the bar so high that they struggle to ever be able to reach that status again. But super singer supreme – Adele – surely defeated the music industry hex known as “the sophomore jinx” with her second album called 21. Considering that Adele’s astounding entrance into stardom and worldwide concert stages was the groundbreaking 19, success for Adele’s follow-up collection of tunes had some pretty huge shoes to fill.

Adele released 19 in 2008, and this blockbuster release sold 4 million copies in her side of the world – the UK, another 2 million in the United States, and an overall amazing total of 7 million worldwide. Critical accolades were also surrounding the juggernaut success of 19, with Adele winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her smash single “Chasing Pavements” during the 51st Grammy Awards presentation. All of these top level triumphs and financial increases are a whole lot to live up to, but Adele proved to be no one-hit wonder.

The explosion of Adele’s second album release 21 was bolstered by the strength of five huge hit songs – “Rolling in the Deep”, “Someone Like You”, “Set Fire to the Rain”, “Rumour Has It” and “Turning Tables” that were spread out during the course of November 2010 and November 2011. Being that 21 was originally released on January 19th 2011, it is pretty astounding that it continued to have legs to stand on throughout the duration of 2011. The two Grammy Awards Adele won for her first album 19 would be tripled when referring to the amount of statues awarded to 21, further burying any talk of a “sophomore jinx.” Adele’s six Grammy Awards included the coveted Album of the Year award, Record of the Year award and Song of the Year award.

On the record sales side of things, 21 also ironically became the 21st album to ever go “diamond”, or 10 times platinum, by selling 10 million copies in the Unites States according to Nielsen SoundScan, who has been tracking music sales data since 1991. As far as albums that have accomplished this diamond status in two years or less, Adele’s 21 is the 8th one to do it. The other seven of these diamond selling over-achievers include: N Sync’s No Strings Attached, Backstreet Boys’ Millennium, Santana’s Supernatural, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, Creed’s Human Clay, Shania Twain’s Come on Over and The Bodyguard soundtrack.

The famed Guinness Book of World Records also acknowledged the record-breaking record sales that Adele’s sophomore album amassed. Adele’s lucky number continued to be “21”, with 21 becoming the top selling album of the 21st century in the United Kingdom, with help from it having the longest run at the top of the UK Album Chart by a female solo artist – thanks to its 23-week stint. Also, in the United States, 21 maintained the top chart position for 24 weeks, which had not been achieved since 1985. With over 25 million copies sold worldwide, Adele’s second album 21 not only outsold her debut by an incredible 18 million copies, but it destroyed any chance of a sophomore jinx – and raised the bar even higher for Adele’s third album.

Films Based on Classical Music and their Composers

For lovers of classical music, nothing can bring more excitement than to see their favorite songs brought to life. The stories behind the music, or just films based on classical pieces, help bring a new awareness of the songs themselves.

Over the years a number of great classical songs have been turned into feature films, and peeks into the lives of the composers behind the music have made classical pieces more relevant to audiences.

Black Swan

In 2010, the movie Black Swan opened in theaters with great success. Based on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the film was quickly embraced by audiences that were unfamiliar with the composer’s original opera.

The film featured a reproduction of Tchaikovsky’s original ballet and brought a new interest to the original production. Although Swan Lake has always been one of the most beloved and well known ballets ever performed, the release of the film helped to bring about a new awareness of the opera’s beauty.

The Immortal Beethoven

In terms of film popularity, no composer is more portrayed than Beethoven. A large number of films have been done based on his life and classical compositions. The film Copying Beethoven from 2006, gave a fictitious portrayal of the last three years of Beethoven’s life, including the composition of his Ninth Symphony piece. There is no way to fully know if the movies portrayal of Beethoven’s final years are even remotely accurate, but the movie is entertaining none the less and features many of the composer’s most popular compositions. Taking a different view of the composer’s life is the film Immortal Beloved from 1994. While most films about the composer show him as a musical genius, this film portrayed him as an ordinary man. The audience is drawn to Beethoven even more because he’s finally shown in a way that his fans can relate to. His music wasn’t featured heavily in this film, but the movie did give fans a possible view of why his music moves us so much.

Finally, one of the best films based on the true story of Beethoven’s life is Beethoven Lives Upstairs from 1992. This film balances both the life and music of the composer very well, unlike most other films about his life. The film was received so well, that a CD of Beethoven’s most noted works was created to accompany it, so fans are truly treated to a bonus. It has even gone on to be used in music lessons throughout both Canada and the United States, as a popular way to introduce elementary students to classical music.


There are literally thousands of films based on classical music all over the world, but no list could be complete without including Disney’s 1940 masterpiece Fantasia. Technically speaking this is an animated film, but the music is set for adults as well as children. The whole movie revolves around the use of different classical pieces to set different moods and help move the story along. The film features no dialogue at all, so it relies completely on the music to set the stage. Made up of many short film segments, each portion of the movie features a different classical piece to tell the story. The classical music for this film include many great works by well known composers. The list includes:
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Nutcracker Suite by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas
Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
The Pastoral Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven
Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli
Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Ave Maria by Franz Schubert

Although the film almost sent Disney into bankruptcy after it’s release, it later rose to greater popularity in the 60s and again in 2000 with the release of Fantasia 2000. Today it is considered to be a Disney classic, and is beloved by both children and adults.