At Britain’s version of the Grammys on Wednesday, Adele did something that hasn’t been done in more than 20 years. The British singer won a third of all the awards handed out during the 2016 Brit Awards, including wins for album of the year, single of the year, and global success.
Unlike the Grammys, which recognize dozens of artists and releases every year across a multitude of genres, the Brits are much smaller, with a total of 12 statues handed out. Still, no artist has won this many awards in a single year since the English rock band Blur, which also won four Brits in 1995. Only three artists during that time — Oasis, Robbie Williams and Duffy — have managed to win three in the space of a single year.
While Wednesday's sweep marks Adele's biggest night at the Brits from a trophy-winning standpoint, the awards have also played a big role in her overall success. In 2011, she performed “Someone Like You” from her album "21," and it arguably gave her the biggest bump an artist has gotten from a TV appearance since the Beatles played "The Ed Sullivan Show." She won awards again in 2012, for Best British Female Solo Artist, and in 2013, when her James Bond theme, “Skyfall,” took the award for Best British Single.
As with the Grammys, success at the Brits normally translates into a bump in sales and streams, though in Adele’s case, it’s hard to imagine this week's boost making much of a difference. Her album “25” is sitting comfortably at the top of the U.K. charts, a spot it’s held for much of the past three months; it’s been the top-selling album in Britain for eight of the 13 weeks it’s been available. It's had an even stronger run of chart success in the U.S., where it has occupied the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for nine weeks over the same period.