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Rick Astley

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Richard Paul Astley (born February 6, 1966) is an English dance-pop singer, songwriter and musician. He was born in Newton-le-Willows, St Helens, Lancashire, England. Astley currently resides in Richmond, Surrey with his Danish girlfriend, Lene Bausager, and their daughter, Emilie.

In 1985, Astley was playing the club circuit as a singer with a soul band named FBI, when he was seen by the record producer Pete Waterman and persuaded to come to London to work at the PWL recording studio. Under the tutelage of production trio Stock Aitken Waterman, Astley was taught about the recording process and groomed for his future career, supposedly starting off as the recording studio ‘tea boy’. During much of his career prior to the proliferation of music videos, many listeners assumed he was black. In one instance, the comedic entertainer, Sinbad, discussed him with a talk-show host, expressing his surprise that Astley was not “one of the brothers.” Even after his visual appearance, it was still popular belief that he was miming for a black American singer. His brother Mark Astley helped to refute this assertion.

His first single was the little-known “When You Gonna” credited to Rick & Lisa, but his first solo outing was “Never Gonna Give You Up,” released in 1987. It became an immediate success, spending five weeks at the top of the British charts and becoming the year’s highest-selling single. It was the first of no fewer than 13 (world-wide) Top 30 hit singles for him.

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