"Never Gonna Give You Up" is a pop song originally performed by Rick Astley. It was released as a single from Astley's multi-million selling debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody, which was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the singer's native United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at number one for five weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. It was knocked off the UK number-one spot by M/A/R/R/S "Pump Up the Volume" who were sued by Stock Aitken Waterman using a distorted sample from their hit single "Roadblock".
It became number one throughout Europe and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States on March 12, 1988. It reached number one in Australia in December 1987. Soon after, the song was specifically mentioned in The Manual by hit-makers The KLF as a positive example of 'genius' chart pop lyrics. "Never Gonna Give You Up" is listed as the best charting single of the 1980s in Australia, by the Kent Music Report, due to its longevity in the charts. The song reached number 2 in the United World Chart, knocked-off the top spot by George Michael's "Father Figure".
The music video for the song has become the basis for the "Rickrolling" Internet meme.
In the "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video, directed by Simon West, a smiling Astley sings and dances to the song in various outfits and venues in West London, sometimes accompanied by backup dancers. A bartender played by Clive Clarke gradually shifts from casually noticing Astley's singing to being fully engrossed in the song with energetic acrobatic moves. The athletic exertion of many of the other dancers also becomes more intense over the course of Astley's performance.
"Never Gonna Give You Up" is the subject of a popular Internet prank known as "rickrolling" involving misleading links redirecting to the song's music video. By May 2007 the practice had achieved notoriety on the Internet, and it increased in popularity after its use as a 2008 April Fool's Day joke by various media companies and websites, including YouTube rickrolling all of its featured videos on that day and a website allowing people to Rickroll their friends' phones.
In 'a couple of weeks', about 13 million people had been 'rickrolled' into watching Astley's video, the BBC reported on 1 April 2008. "I think it's just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it," Astley told the Los Angeles Times in late March 2008, adding: "That's what's brilliant about the Internet."
In 1997, the French band 2Be3 covered the song under the name "Toujours là pour toi", which had a great success in France (#4) and Belgium (Wallonia) (#12). * Eurobeat artist Kevin Johnson also covered the song for the album Super Eurobeat 149. In 1999, an Italian cover titled "Non ti lascerò" was made by Fiorello. In 2008, it has been covered by Ashley Tisdale for the Degree Girl website.
In April 2008 a house music remix of the track was produced by a group of London dance producers working under the pseudonym "The Rickrollerz" on the day of, and in honor of, the London Liverpool Street Station "Rickmob" on 11th April. UK Producer Simple Sigh also produced a remix in April 2008, entitled "Never Gonna Give You Up (Simple Sigh's RickRoll Remix)".
* In the "Charlie Has Cancer" episode of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" Dennis is seen singing along to the song while listening to it on his car radio.
* The Boondocks has a parody of "Never Gonna Give You Up" in the background during the Lionel Richie segment of "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf Bitch" in season 2 of the TV series. However, it is not performed by Rick Astley, and is somewhat muddled.
* The song plays briefly on a car radio during the Doctor Who episode "Father's Day", which is set in late 1987.
* Mike Peters, host of the radio program Prerecorded Comedy Live on 91.7 FM WSUM in Madison, Wisconsin, devoted an entire hour to the song on March 29th, 2008 as an April Fools' joke. Starting with the original, each subsequent song was then a cover version of some kind usually followed by the original song and then another cover. The covers consisted of amateur covers lifted off YouTube, a MIDI-version, a sped-up version of the original and a distorted version of the original.
* The Web comic xkcd featured Rick Astley getting Rickrolled in Comic 351: Trolling, and later featured sheet music to an excerpt from 'Never Gonna Give You Up' in Comic 389: Keeping Time.
* In May 2008, the Web comic Looking For Group featured the character Richard singing the first verse of 'Never Gonna Give You Up' on page 144. Later on, Dave Mitchell, who will provide Richard's voice for the upcoming LFG animated film, posted his own in-character cover ("Dick Roll'd") on his Myspace page.
*The song is mentioned in Weezer's song "Heart Songs" off their eponymous 2008 album.
*Nick Lowe's song "All Men are Liars" references the song with the lyrics, "Do you remember Rick Astley?/ He had a big fat hit that was ghastly / He said I’m never gonna give you up or let you down / Well I’m here to tell ya that Dick’s a clown."
*The popular Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, which is known for naming each episode after an 80s hit song, named an episode after this song.
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