According to Rick Astley’s song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up,’ he is never going to give you up and he is never going to let you down, but who is the eponymous ‘you’ that he is singing about?
‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ is about a woman named Gaynor who was dating Pete Waterman, the song’s co-producer. After Waterman got off an extra-long phone call with her, Rick Astley joked, “You’re never going to give her up.”
With that one line, they made music history. Since its inception, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ has evolved into a cultural phenomenon and an iconic piece of internet history.
How It Began
Rick Astley had never had a number one hit before ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ He started his career singing in a band called ‘FBI’ in Lancashire bars.
According to an interview with The Guardian, Pete Waterman saw Rick Astley’s band one night and told his manager, “Don’t like the band. Don’t like the song. I’ll sign the singer.”
Rick Astley signed the deal and began a training program that involved living with Pete Waterman in London to learn the ins and outs of the music industry. He was in close proximity to popular artists of the time, such as Bananarama and Dead or Alive, and often made them tea while they produced their albums.
The two struggled to create songs that were the right fit for Rick Astley’s rich and resonant voice, but when Astley made the famous joke about Pete Waterman’s phone conversation, an idea began to form.
The next thing they knew, they had a number one hit on their hands. People couldn’t get enough of the young Rick Astley’s surprisingly deep voice; one radio station even called Rick Astley at his hotel and made him sing it to them to prove that it really was his voice.
Rick Astley went on to release five more albums (in addition to his debut album, ‘Whenever You Need Somebody’), before taking a break from music at 27.
Rick Astley took a hiatus from singing when he turned 27 but made a comeback in 2016 when he released his album ‘50.’ He said that he took the hiatus because he wanted to enjoy his success, but returned for the love of music.
His more recent albums, which also include ‘Beautiful Life’ and ‘Best of Me,’ are more emotional, personal, and vocally rich. Astley credits this to age, experience, and the fact that he has more creative control over the production process than when he was 21.
When asked about the future, Rick Astley told Rolling Stone that he and his wife dream about “a little restaurant in Italy on the beach and I’m going to croon at night and drink really good red wine and she’s going to be the maitre d’.”
How romantic! It seems as if he has stuck to his promise from his first hit song.
Never Gonna Give (Rickrolling) Up
Rick Astley’s song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ became an internet anthem due to a trend called rickrolling, where people would post trick links that had interesting titles but instead sent you to the song’s music video.
In a 2008 interview with The Graham Norton Show, Rick Astley said that he first heard of rickrolling when his daughter explained it to him. You can watch the clip below:
Now the real question is, has Rick Astley ever been rickrolled? Inquiring minds need to know.
Rick Astley told Rolling Stone that he has nothing against this trend, as it helped introduce his music to a younger generation, and it is all in good fun.
“I don’t see it as negative. If someone had messed around with it and cut it all up and made me look stupid – I mean I look pretty stupid anyway in that video – if it was nasty, then I’d be probably a bit pissed off, but it’s not. It’s like, ‘We’re choosing that video because it’s a full-on Eighties, cheesy video.’”
The song has over 800 million views on YouTube and has inspired countless tributes, including a Fortnite emote. It seems as if the world is just never gonna give up ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’
If you want to learn more about the process of creating ‘Never Gonna Give You Up,’ you can do so here.