"Never Gonna Give You Up"
Single by Rick Astley
from the album Whenever You Need Somebody
Released27 July 1987[1]
RecordedOctober 1986[2]
Genre
Length
  • 3:35 (album version)
  • 3:32 (7" vocal mix)
  • 3:30 (instrumental version)
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)Stock Aitken Waterman
Producer(s)Stock Aitken Waterman
Rick Astley singles chronology
"When You Gonna"
(1987)
"Never Gonna Give You Up"
(1987)
"Learning to Live (Without Your Love)"
(1987)
Audio sample
"Never Gonna Give You Up"
Music video
"Never Gonna Give You Up" on YouTube

"Never Gonna Give You Up" is the debut single recorded by English singer and songwriter Rick Astley, released on 27 July 1987. It was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, and was released as the first single from Astley's debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody (1987). The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at the top of the chart for five weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. It eventually topped the charts in 25 countries, including the United States and West Germany.[6] The song won Best British Single at the 1988 Brit Awards.

The music video for the song has become the basis for the popular "Rickrolling" Internet meme. In 2008, Astley won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Act Ever with the song, as a result of collective voting from thousands of people on the Internet, due to the Rickrolling meme.[7] The song is considered Astley's signature song and it is often played at the end of his live concerts.

In 2019, Astley recorded and released a 'Pianoforte' version of the song for his album The Best of Me, which features a new piano arrangement.[8]

Production

"Never Gonna Give You Up" was recorded at PWL Studios in South London, England. The song's basslines were produced using a Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer, while a Linn 9000 was used for the drums and sequencing. Other equipment used included a Roland Juno 106 analog synthesizer, and Yamaha Rev5 and Rev7 reverberators.[9]

Mike Stock claimed that the Colonel Abrams hit "Trapped" was a big influence on "Never Gonna Give You Up", saying: "For Rick Astley's song I didn't want it to sound like Kylie or Bananarama so I looked at the Colonel Abrams track 'Trapped' and recreated that syncopated bassline in a way that suited our song."[10]

Original success

On 12 March 1988, "Never Gonna Give You Up" reached number one in the American Billboard Hot 100[11] after having been played by resident DJ, Larry Levan, at the Paradise Garage in 1987.[12] The single topped the charts in 25 countries worldwide.[6]

The single also reached the No. 1 spot on the year-end singles charts in the UK and South Africa.[13][14]

Rickrolling

Main article: Rickrolling

"Never Gonna Give You Up" is the subject of a popular Internet meme known as "rickrolling" involving misleading links (commonly shortened URLs) redirecting to the song's music video.[15] Originally started by users on 4chan, by May 2007, the practice had achieved notoriety on the Internet, and it increased in popularity after its use as a 2008 April Fools' Day joke by various media companies and websites, including YouTube rickrolling all of its featured videos on that day and websites allowing people to rickroll their friends' devices.[16] "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."[17]

Astley also appeared in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, interrupting a song performed by those on a float promoting the Cartoon Network program Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends with a lipsynched performance of "Never Gonna Give You Up".

There were reports that despite the video garnering millions of hits on YouTube, Astley earned almost no money from the online phenomenon, receiving only US$12 in royalties from YouTube for his performance share as of August 2010.[18] Astley denied those reports in 2016.[19]

Impact and legacy

Time Out listed "Never Gonna Give You Up" at number 33 in their The 50 best '80s songs list in 2018, adding: "Those synthesized strings, that thumping boots-and-pants beat, Astley's weirdly robust croon and his romantic-wooing-as-used-car-salesman pitch ('You wouldn't get this from any other guy')… It all adds up to three-and-a-half of the most effervescent minutes in the '80s canon."[20]

The song was reportedly played as part of a psychological campaign to convince Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to surrender during the United States invasion of Panama in 1989, along with other songs such as "I Fought the Law" by the Clash.[21]

In April 2020, The Guardian ranked it at number 44 in their list of The 100 greatest UK No 1s.[22]

Cover versions

Music video

The 1987 music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" was directed by Simon West. It was filmed in London, largely around the London Borough of Harrow.[26] Since being uploaded to YouTube on 24 October 2009, the video has received over one billion views; it surpassed that milestone on 28 July 2021.[27][28]

Track listings

7" single
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (7" Vocal Mix) – 3:32
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Instrumental) – 3:30
12" maxi
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Cake mix) – 5:46
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Instrumental) – 6:19
  3. "Never Gonna Give You Up" – 3:32
  4. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape to New York mix) – 7:01
  5. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape from Newton mix) – 6:23
12" maxi
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Cake mix) – 5:48
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Instrumental) – 6:21
  3. "Never Gonna Give You Up" – 3:32
12" single
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape from Newton mix) – 6:30
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape to New York mix) – 7:00

On July 29, 2021. To celebrate 1 billion views on YouTube, Rick Astley released a limited and numbered 7" blue vinyl. Only 2500 are signed and sold.[29][30]

  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (7" Vocal Mix) – 3:32
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Pianoforte) – 3:30

Charts

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[31] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[70] Gold 50,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[71] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[73] Silver 267,000[72]
Germany (BVMI)[74] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[75] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[76] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[78] Platinum 1,000,000[77]
United States (RIAA)[79] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also

References

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