Who would have thought, back in 1987, that two-hit wonder Rick Astley would still be a part of the pop culture landscape decades later? And all because someone had a silly idea on the internet back in the mid-2000s. Because of the “Rickrolling” phenomenon, Astley’s signature hit song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ has now exceeded a staggering one billion views on YouTube. Yes, that’s billion with a B. That’s more than even ‘Thriller,’ arguably the greatest music video ever made.
We first saw the news over at Engadget. And what did Mr. Astley have to say about reaching this milestone? “I am kind of a big deal.” You most certainly are, sir. Do you want to start the ball rolling on getting Rick to two billion views? Then we suggest watching ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ one more time right here. It really never gets old.
Getting “Rickrolled” was one of the earliest memes of the internet age, beginning around 2007 (one of the least offensive things 4Chan did). Getting someone to open this video thinking it’s something else is, I’m gonna say it, still funny. Rick plans to commemorate this achievement with two releases. First is a new ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ limited edition. It’s a signed, numbered, and colored 7” vinyl single, which you can already pre-order.
Also coming soon is a new mini-documentary about the video. It features new interviews with Rick, songwriter/producers Pete Waterman and director Simon West. The latter went on to make blockbusters such as Con Air and The Expendables 2. Meanwhile, Rick has fully embraced the internet age. He even launched a TikTok channel during lockdown. And it is now his biggest social media account with 1.9 million followers. He also achieved the most upvoted post in the history of Reddit, when he shared a photo of himself riding a bike in Las Vegas in 1989. There’s even a “Never Gonna Give You Up” emote for Fortnite. Rick Astley, conquering the world one Rickroll at a time.