Great job, internet! In your attempts to make other people’s lives hell, you have made a man’s life much better.
The man in question is Rick Astley, the singer of Internet users anthem lagging behind “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which hit a billion seen this week. While the song has been used as part of bait-and-switch pranks for nearly two decades, all of those connections made the song one of YouTube’s top performing videos. Turns out we just can’t give up on “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
Originally released on July 27, 1987, “Never Gonna Give You Up” turns 34 this week. Reaching such a height is no easy task, even on a big birthday. The video joins the ranks of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, “Nirvana” Smells like Teen Spirit, “And the Queen” Rhapsodie bohémienne“, But not that of Michael Jackson” Polar”, Which has not yet reached one billion views.
Of course, one of the main reasons the song has had such a life online is because of the rick-rolling. A bait and link change prank, “rick-rolling” is when someone hides a link to the Astely video in a description that doesn’t relate to the song. So when someone thinks they’re going to see an adorable dog that they just can’t believe they get a link to the Rick Astley clip.
YouTuber Erik Helwig, also known as Hot Dad, takes credit for the first known rick-roll. According to Helwig, he pranked on a Michigan radio station in 2006. In less than two years, Astley himself had fun doing a live rick-roll at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2008.
So, we repeat, great job, internet. Your penchant for annoying your friends has helped Rick Astley become an indelible part of being online.