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'Never Gonna Give You Up': The 1987 Smash Hit by Rick Astley
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19 days ago
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"Never Gonna Give You Up" is a 1987 hit song by English singer Rick Astley, written and produced by the trio Stock Aitken Waterman. The track, which became a global sensation, topped charts in 25 countries and later gained renewed fame as the centerpiece of the "Rickrolling" internet meme.

Song's Creative Origins

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
"Never Gonna Give You Up" was crafted by the British production team Stock Aitken Waterman, who were renowned for their string of 1980s hits. The song's creation was inspired by a syncopated bassline from Colonel Abrams' 1985 track "Trapped" and a conversation about a woman Pete Waterman was dating. Astley, who initially worked behind the scenes at their studio, was chosen to record the song after impressing Waterman with his vocal talent. The songwriting process involved transforming a casual remark Astley made—"You're never gonna give her up"—into the song's central theme, portraying Astley as a devoted and sincere narrator.
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Rick Astley's Iconic Hit

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The Origin of Rickrolling: How 'Never Gonna Give You Up' Became an Internet Sensation

The Story of the Best Meme EVER: "Never Gonna Give ... - YouTube
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The Rickrolling phenomenon began in 2007 as a bait-and-switch prank where unsuspecting internet users were tricked into clicking a hyperlink that redirected them to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video. This meme originated on the imageboard 4chan, inspired by an earlier prank called "duckrolling," which involved redirecting users to an edited image of a duck on wheels. The first notable instance of Rickrolling occurred when a user posted a supposed trailer link for the highly anticipated game "Grand Theft Auto IV," which instead led to Astley's video. The meme quickly gained traction, spreading across various online platforms and becoming a staple of internet culture. Its popularity surged during April Fools' Day in 2008 when YouTube featured every video on its homepage as a Rickroll. The phenomenon not only revived interest in Astley's song but also introduced it to a new generation, leading to a significant increase in views and streams. As of May 2024, the music video has amassed over 1.5 billion views on YouTube. Rickrolling's cultural impact extends beyond the internet. It has been referenced in television shows, political events, and even public performances. Rick Astley himself embraced the meme, famously Rickrolling the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with a surprise performance of "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme's enduring appeal lies in its blend of nostalgia, humor, and the universal appeal of Astley's catchy tune, solidifying its place as one of the most iconic internet memes of all time.
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Iconic Rickrolling Memes: Creative Highlights Over the Years

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liugeaux.com
Rickrolling has inspired numerous creative and memorable memes over the years. Here are some of the top Rickrolling memes that have stood out:
  1. YouTube's April Fools' Day Prank (2008): YouTube redirected all featured videos on its homepage to the "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video, effectively Rickrolling millions of users.
  2. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2008): Rick Astley himself surprised the audience by performing "Never Gonna Give You Up" during the parade, turning the event into a live Rickroll
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  3. Reddit's Most Upvoted Post (2020): A Reddit user claimed to have met Rick Astley backstage and posted a link supposedly to a picture, which turned out to be the music video, becoming the most upvoted post of the year.
  4. Rickrolling the Church of Scientology (2008): Anonymous, a hacktivist group, used Rickrolling as part of their protests against the Church of Scientology, adding a layer of irony and humor to their activism
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  5. Rick Astley's Own Rickrolls: Astley has been Rickrolled multiple times, including by friends and fans, showing his good-natured acceptance of the meme
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These instances highlight the widespread and enduring appeal of Rickrolling, showcasing its ability to surprise, entertain, and connect people across various platforms and contexts.
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The Financial Success of Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up

express.co.uk
express.co.uk
Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" has generated significant revenue through various channels over the years. Here are some key points regarding its financial impact:
  • The music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" has over 1 billion views on YouTube, potentially earning around $2 million after Google's 45% cut, although Astley only receives a performer's share of the royalties due to not owning the song's copyright.
  • Despite the viral success of the Rickrolling meme, Astley mentioned in 2010 that he had only made $12 from it, highlighting the limited financial benefit he initially received from the meme.
  • Astley's overall net worth is estimated at $16 million, with his income primarily stemming from his music career, including album sales, concert tours, and royalties from his hits.
  • The resurgence of "Never Gonna Give You Up" through the Rickrolling meme has contributed to Astley's continued relevance and popularity, indirectly boosting his career and financial standing.
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The Remarkable Chart Success of Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up

Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" achieved remarkable chart-topping success upon its release. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and topped the charts in 25 countries, including the United Kingdom, where it became the best-selling single of 1987. Its infectious melody and Astley's distinctive baritone voice resonated with audiences worldwide, contributing to its widespread acclaim and commercial success. The song's enduring popularity is further evidenced by its inclusion in various best '80s songs lists and its resurgence through the Rickrolling meme, which has introduced the track to new generations and solidified its place in pop culture history. The music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" has amassed over 1 billion views on YouTube, highlighting its lasting appeal and the significant impact of the Rickrolling phenomenon.
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Global Sales Certifications

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"Never Gonna Give You Up" has achieved numerous certifications and impressive sales figures across various regions. The following table summarizes the certifications and sales for the song:
RegionCertificationCertified Units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)Gold35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)Gold50,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)Platinum90,000^
France (SNEP)Silver250,000^
Germany (BVMI)Gold500,000^
Italy (FIMI)Gold35,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)Platinum100,000^
Sweden (GLF)Gold25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) Physical releaseGold766,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) Digital release2× Platinum1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)5× Platinum5,000,000^
These certifications reflect the song's widespread popularity and enduring appeal across different markets.
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Astley's Reflections on Fame

nypost.com
nypost.com
Rick Astley has expressed a mix of surprise and gratitude regarding the enduring popularity of "Never Gonna Give You Up" and its transformation into the Rickrolling meme. Initially, Astley found the phenomenon "weird" and likened it to living a double life, as the song's viral fame brought him back into the spotlight decades after its original release. Despite retiring from music to escape the pressures of fame, Astley has embraced the resurgence of his hit single, viewing it positively and even participating in various Rickrolling events. Astley acknowledges the humor and nostalgia that the meme brings, often joining in on the fun himself. He has been paid to participate in Rickrolling-related projects and has expressed no shame in admitting it. The singer appreciates the song's newfound place in internet culture, stating, "All that’s really happened is I think that song has just found its spot in the universe, and the universe is the internet now". This acceptance and participation have endeared him to both old fans and new generations who discovered his music through the meme. Astley's reflections on the song's second life highlight his gratitude for the continued relevance and popularity of "Never Gonna Give You Up." He has embraced the meme's impact on his career, recognizing it as a unique and unexpected way to stay connected with audiences worldwide.
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Closing Thoughts on Rickrolling

independent.co.uk
independent.co.uk
The official music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley, released on YouTube in 2009, has played a pivotal role in the song's enduring popularity and the viral Rickrolling phenomenon
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The video features Astley performing the song with characteristic '80s dance moves and fashion, which has become iconic in its own right. As of 2021, the video has amassed over 1 billion views, a testament to its lasting appeal and the widespread impact of the Rickrolling meme. Rickrolling, which involves tricking people into watching the "Never Gonna Give You Up" video, has significantly contributed to the song's resurgence. This internet prank has not only kept the song relevant but also introduced it to new generations, making it a staple of internet culture. The meme's popularity has led to numerous parodies, remixes, and references in various media, further cementing the song's place in pop culture. Rick Astley has embraced this unexpected second wave of fame, often participating in Rickrolling events and acknowledging the humor and nostalgia that the meme brings. The official music video remains a central element of this phenomenon, continually drawing in viewers and keeping the spirit of the '80s alive in the digital age.
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