6. After reaching 24 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Adele broke Whitney Houston‘s record for longest-running No. 1 album by a female solo artist in U.S. history (The Bodyguard soundtrack tapped out after 21 weeks). The run at the top made 21 the longest-running No. 1 in the modern Nielsen SoundScan era, which began 30 years ago.
7. 21 was the best-selling album in both the U.S. and Canada in 2011 and 2012, making it the first album to pull off that particular feat since Michael Jackson‘s Thriller in 1983 and 1984.
8. In December 2011, Billboard named Adele Artist of the Year, awarded 21 the Billboard 200 Album of the Year and revealed “Rolling in the Deep” as the Billboard Hot 100 Song of the Year, making her the first woman to ever top all three categories at once. Thanks to the enduring sales of the album, she was awarded Artist of the Year and Album of the Year in 2012 as well, making her the first artist to ever win both back-to-back.
9. At the 2012 Grammys, she won all six categories she was nominated in, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year, making her only the second female artist in history (behind Beyoncé) to win that many awards in one night. Coupled with her earlier win for Best New Artist, she became the first female and second artist ever to win all four general field awards throughout her career, following Christopher Cross, who won them all at once in 1980. (Billie Eilish would, of course, become the first woman to sweep all four at once in 2020.)
10. When the Recording Industry Association of America awarded 21 with Diamond certification for more than 10 million copies sold in November 2012, Adele became the only artist or band in a decade to earn it with just a single-disc album in that short of time. She would, of course, go on to break her own record when 25, released in 2015, did it in less than a year.