"Never Gonna Give You Up" is a 1987 song performed by British singer Rick Astley. It was written and produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman. The song was released as the first single from Astley's multi-million selling debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody. The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the singer's native United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at no. 1 for five weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. It eventually topped the charts in 25 countries, including the US and West Germany.
The song won Best British Single at the 1988 Brit Awards. In 2004, it was voted no. 28 in 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs... Ever by VH1.
The music video for the song has become the basis for the "Rickrolling" Internet meme. In 2008, Rick Astley won the MTV EMA awards for "Best Act Ever" with the song "Never Gonna Give You Up," as a result of collective voting from thousands of people on the internet, due to the popular phenomenon of Rickrolling. It was also featured as a downloadable track for the Rock Band series.
In the "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video, directed by Simon West, produced by Andy Picheta and edited by Robert Bannochie, a smiling Astley sings and dances to the song in various outfits and venues in west London, sometimes accompanied by backup dancers. A bartender, played by Clive Clarke (who appeared prolifically in 1980s music videos, and was a member of Top of the Pops dance troupe Zoo) gradually shifts from casually noticing Astley's singing to being fully engrossed in the song with energetic acrobatic moves. The athletic exertion of many of the other dancers also becomes more intense over the course of Astley's performance.
A group of London dance producers, called The Rickrollerz made a house music cover version of "Never Gonna Give You Up" The song was remixed on the same day and in the same studio where the original recording took place 20 years earlier. In May 2008, the track entered the UK Club Charts at no. 22.
"Never Gonna Give You Up" is the subject of a popular Internet prank known as "rickrolling" involving misleading links (commonly shortened URLs) redirecting to the song's music video. 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 a website allowing people to rickroll their friends' phones.
In "a couple of weeks," about 13 million people had been rickrolled into watching Astley's video, the BBC reported on 1 April 2008. "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."
Despite the video garnering millions of hits on YouTube, Astley has earned almost no money from the meme, receiving only US$12 in royalties from YouTube for his performance share, as of August 2010.