35 Years Later Rick Astleys’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” is Stronger Than Ever

Today, July 27, Rick Astley’s signature song “Never Gonna Give You Up” turns 35. And just like its lyrics—Never gonna give you up/ Never gonna let you down/ Never gonna run around and desert you—the song has yet to lose its hold on pop culture.

Videos by American Songwriter

“Never Gonna Give You Up” was released in 1987 as the first single from the English singer/songwriter’s debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody. The song went on to top the charts in 25 countries, including the United States.

Then, starting in 2007, “Never Gonna Give You Up” saw a massive resurgence in popularity. Astley’s song had become the punchline for an internet meme called “rickrolling” or “rickroll,” named after the singer himself. Rickrolling is a comical and relatively harmless prank that occurs when a link to the song’s music video is sent under different pretenses. For example, a friend sends you a link to their famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, but when you click on the link, it’s the video of Astley singing Never gonna give you up.

Check out Astley telling Larry King about the first time that he was rickrolled below.

Since the rickrolling trend surfaced, Astely has been put in the global spotlight once again. (Not unlike the resurgence of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.”) Furthermore, the music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” passed one billion streams on YouTube in July 2021, and it has now been certified five-times platinum in the United States by the RIAA.

In May 2022, Astley released a remastered 35th-anniversary edition of Whenever You Need Somebody after releasing his seventh studio album, 50, in 2016. Check out the former HERE and 50 HERE.

Photo Credit: Austin Hargrave / Shorefire Media

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