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Music / Rick Astley

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He's never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

Richard Paul Astley (born 6 February 1966) is an English singer-songwriter and musician. Astley is married to producer Lene Bausager and has one daughter. Astley has released or appeared on recordings that have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. He is best known for his 1987 hit single in 16 countries, "Never Gonna Give You Up".

After two successful dance-pop studio albums Whenever You Need Somebody (1987) and Hold Me in Your Arms (1988) helmed by Stock, Aitken, and Waterman, Astley changed his sound with his third album Free (1991), preferring to focus on ballads. However, fading into obscurity in the 1990s, Astley made a comeback in 2007 when he became a Memetic Mutation, as his video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" became part of a popular meme known as Rickrolling. Astley was voted by Internet users "Best Act Ever" at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008. He even performed a Rickroll live in person on the Cartoon Network float at the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Astley's astonishingly adroit handling of the Rickroll phenomenon was, years later, explained by him on the Graham Norton show as having been given a crash course in meme culture by his then-teenage daughter, who bluntly informed him that "it's got nothing to do with you". His positive attitude did much to endear him to Millennials and he's found himself a new generation of (mostly) non-ironic fans. (No fool, he always sings "Never Gonna Give You Up" last at concerts. To be fair, it's lyrically quite fitting as a farewell song.)

In 2016 he turned fifty, released the album 50 and saw it go straight to number one on the UK album charts. In July 2021 "Never Gonna Give You Up" topped one billion views on YouTube.



  • Whenever You Need Somebody (1987)
  • Hold Me in Your Arms (1988)
  • Free (1991)
  • Body & Soul (1993)
  • Keep It Turned On (2001)
  • Portrait (2005)
  • 50 (2016)
  • Beautiful Life (2018)

Music videos:

Never Gonna Trope You Out:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Astley's reaction to the whole Rickroll phenomenon, which culminated in him performing the song at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2008.
  • Anaphora: The chorus of "Never Gonna Give You Up":
    Never gonna give you up
    Never gonna let you down
    Never gonna run around and desert you
    Never gonna make you cry
    Never gonna say goodbye
    Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you
  • Ascended Meme: Pretty much cemented when he personally Rickrolled the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2008.
  • Badass Baritone: At the start of his career, he had to go and personally perform for some record company bosses who didn't believe such a deep soulful voice could come from a thin white guy.
  • The Chew Toy: The saxophonist in "Take Me To Your Heart" just wants a bit part in Rick Astley's music video. Instead, he winds up getting shoved around by everyone (Astley himself included) for shoving himself in front of everyone at the most inopportune times.
  • Cool Old Guy: Rick turned fifty in 2016 but has definitely still got it with his concurrent album going straight to the top of the UK album chart on release.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: The leading girl of Whenever You Need Somebody keeps ruining her own vacation.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Cry for Help is all about this.
  • The '80s: Had most of his initial success in the latter half of this decade.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Let his hair grow in The '90s. See his video "Cry for Help".
  • Orbital Shot: His "Lights Out" music video.
  • Precision F-Strike: "It's a focking chicken."
  • Silly Love Songs: In all fairness, "Never Gonna Give You Up" is a great love song.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Played with - Rick's first instrument was the drums and he often takes over drumming for a cover song during his sets while still singing - notably he bashes out a rocking version of "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC in some concerts.
  • Totally Radical: The videos are very Eighties.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The effect of the Macy's Parade Rickroll was weakened somewhat due to the intro stating Rick Astley would be making a guest appearance. However, he did not appear anywhere in the promotional materials, such as the New York Daily News' annual guide to the parade.
  • Vocal Dissonance: His singing voice is so deep and it makes such a contrast with his red hair and pale skin, that he was believed to be the front man for a black singer. In fact, this happened when he sent his first tapes to music executives — he had to sing on-stage to convince Stock, Aitken and Waterman that yes, he was the one singing.
  • Vocal Evolution: As seen in this video, his voice has gotten lower and more soulful over the years. You can tell because the backing track is in a lower key, and he doesn't hit any of the higher notes (e.g. "You know the rules, and so do I").

Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna index this page
And hurt you