It was 1987 when Rick Astley first “rolled” into the music scene. Out of nowhere, the song, “Never Gonna Give You Up” rode its way to the top positions in both the US and UK charts.
The song became so popular, that it managed to hit number one in more than 25 countries worldwide. It took Rick Astley mere weeks to rise from an unknown artist to one of the most popular musicians of the late 1980s.
Never Gonna Give You Up
Prior to recording his hit song, Rick Astley worked in a studio managing the tape machine and providing backup vocals. With the help of Stock, Aitken, and Waterman’s studio, he quickly learned the ins and outs of the recording industry.
Eventually, after hearing a story about Pete Waterman’s relationship, he was inspired to write the song, “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
The Real Story Behind “Never Gonna Give You Up”
While Rick Astley was working at the recording studio, he had heard numerous stories about Pete Waterman’s relationship. At the time, since Astley needed a place to stay he had moved in with Waterman.
On one occasion, after Waterman had ended a call that had lasted more than 3 hours, he told Astley that he was never going to give her up. Inspired by the romantic relationship, Astley set out to rewrite the storyline to make it unique and interesting.
The popularity of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” did not end in the 1980s. Although it saw a dip in the mid-90s, it eventually grew in popularity again as a result of a popular 2007 Internet meme.
Aptly named “Rickrolling”, the song saw a huge comeback as a result of bait and switch linking across the Internet. As a prank, people would disguise the link to the “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video, in order to see how many people would actually click on it. Even Rick Astley himself admits to having fallen for the prank.
The popularity of the meme introduced the song to a whole new generation, and we can see here in a live performance at the “Isle Of Wight Festival” in 2019 the song is still as popular as ever.
The “Never Gonna Give You Up” Music Video
As Rick Astley grew up and lived in the United Kingdom, the music video was filmed at various locations throughout West London.
One of the most popular destinations in the video was an empty nightclub. There, behind the bar, the bartender starts busting a move to the beat of the song. Eventually, the music overtakes him and he flips over the bar counter and begins to dance. In multiple scenes throughout the video, the bartender reappears as he bounces off a fence and performs a backflip in the distance.
The sounds and the beats of “Never Gonna Give You Up” resulted in one of the most popular dance song of the late 1980s. It was the biggest single in the UK in 1987, and managed to stay at the top of the charts for more than 5 weeks.
Across the pond, the song hit number 8 on the American Billboard Charts. Today the song has received more than 1.3 billion views on the official YouTube channel, and in celebration of the 1 billionth view, 2500 signed vinyl copies of the record were released to the public.