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Million Years Ago (song)

"Million Years Ago"
Song by Adele
from the album 25
StudioMetropolis Studios, London
Producer(s)Greg Kurstin

"Million Years Ago" is a song recorded by English singer-songwriter Adele for her third studio album, 25 (2015). The song was written by Adele and Greg Kurstin, with production of the song provided by the latter. Lyrically, the track is about how fame has personally affected her and everyone around her. On Adele at the BBC in 2015, she stated that the song was, "kind of a story about ... I drove past Brockwell Park, which is a park in South London I used to live by. It's where I spent a lot of my youth".[2] Musically, the song is an acoustic tune accompanied only by guitar.

"Million Years Ago" charted in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Adele performed the song during Adele at the BBC, Adele Live in New York City, and on Today.


"Million Years Ago" is an acoustic tune accompanied only by guitar, finds Adele pining "for the normality of her not-so-distant childhood. Entwined with Middle Eastern twists of background hums that suggest Madonna's 'Frozen'".[3] The song's lyrics touch upon themes of fame, and how it "frightens", the song's lyrics talk about how fame has personally affected her and everyone around her, singing about how she misses the air, her mother, and her friends, but her "life is flashing by and all I can do is watch and cry."[4] Jon Pareles of The New York Times described the song as a "delicate guitar ballad with a hint of Edith Piaf [that] mourns lost youth".[5] Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt compared the song to "a Nineties Madonna ballad mixed with 'The Girl From Ipanema'".[6]

Plagiarism accusation

In December 2015, Adele was accused of plagiarizing the melody of "Million Years Ago" from singer Ahmet Kaya's 1985 song "Acilara Tutunmak".[7][8][9]

In September 2021, she was accused by Toninho Geraes of plagiarizing his song,[10] Mulheres, with an expert analysis showing that 88% of the melody is similar. After the lack of responses from Adele's representatives, the song's author said he will take the case to court.[11]

Live performances

She performed the song on Adele at the BBC, which was recorded at The London Studios on 2 November 2015 and broadcast on BBC One on 20 November 2015. She also performed the song on Today on 25 November 2015.[12][13][14] Adele also performed the song on Adele Live in New York City, which was recorded at a one-night-only show at Radio City Music Hall on 17 November 2015 and broadcast on NBC on 14 December 2015.

Adele received a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program nomination for performing "Million Years Ago" live on Today.


Chart (2015–2017) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[15] 84
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[16] 48
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[17] 46
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[18] 97
Finland Download (Latauslista)[19] 8
France (SNEP)[20] 42
Germany (Official German Charts)[21] 74
Hungary (Single Top 40)[22] 36
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 94
Israel (Media Forest)[24] 3
Netherlands Digital Songs (Billboard)[25] 7
Scotland (OCC)[26] 24
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[27] 25
South Korea International Chart (Gaon)[28] 22
UK Singles (OCC)[29] 64
UK Indie (OCC)[30] 10
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[31] 19
US Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[32] 28


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[33] Platinum 80,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ The following sources refer to the song as folk:
    • Sperounes, Sandra (19 November 2015). "Album review: Adele soars on new release 25". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
    • McKee, Hannah (19 November 2015). "Review of Adele's album 25". Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  2. ^ Iasimone, Ashley (23 November 2015). "Adele Performs 'Million Years Ago' and 'Hometown Glory' on BBC Special: Watch". Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  3. ^ Walters, Barry (23 November 2015). "Review: Adele, '25'". NPR. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  4. ^ mtv (2015-11-20). "A Track-By-Track Breakdown Of Adele's 25". MTV. Archived from the original on 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  5. ^ Pareles, Jon (12 November 2015). "Adele Cries to Her Music, Too". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  6. ^ Hiatt, Brian (2015-11-03). "Adele: Inside Her Private Life and Triumphant Return". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2015-12-04. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  7. ^ "Adele Accused Of Plagiarism On 'Million Years Ago': YouTube Video Compares The Songs (Video) : PERSONAL TECH". Tech Times. 18 December 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  8. ^ Tristram Fane Saunders (2015-12-08). "Did Adele really copy Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya with Million Years Ago?". Archived from the original on 2016-01-24. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  9. ^ "Did Adele Plagiarize on New Song "Million Years Ago"? Some Kurdish Listeners Believe It". 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  10. ^ "Quem é Toninho Geraes, o compositor mineiro que processa Adele por suposto plágio do samba 'Mulheres'". 12 September 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2021-09-27.
  11. ^ "«l'É meu legado', diz compositor que acusa Adele de plagiar música gravada por Martinho da Vila". BBC. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  12. ^ Ree Hines (2015-11-25). "Adele performs 'Million Years Ago' on TODAY Show, talks motherhood and more". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  13. ^ "Adele Performs "Million Years Ago" on "Today" | News". Pitchfork. 2015-11-25. Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  14. ^ Rachel McRady (2015-11-25). "Adele Belts New Song "Million Years Ago" on Today Show: Watch Now! - Us Weekly". Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  15. ^ "ARIA Report: Issue 1344 (Week Commencing 30 November 2015)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-01. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Adele – Million Years Ago" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ "Adele – Million Years Ago" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ "Adele Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Adele: Million Years Ago" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat.
  20. ^ "Adele – Million Years Ago" (in French). Les classement single.
  21. ^ "Adele – Million Years Ago" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége.
  23. ^ "Chart Track: Week 48, 2015". Irish Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "Media Forest Week 8, 2017". Israeli Airplay Chart. Media Forest. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Chart Search: Netherlands Digital Songs for Adele". Billboard. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  26. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  27. ^ "Adele – Million Years Ago" Canciones Top 50.
  28. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart". Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  30. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Adele Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  32. ^ "Adele Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  33. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Adele – Million Years Ago". Music Canada. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  34. ^ "British single certifications – Adele – Million Years Ago". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
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Million Years Ago (song)
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