How did Rick Astley go from teaboy to famous pop star in the 1980s?


  • Music
  • Wednesday, 21 Mar 2018

Photo: Filepic

In 1985, Rick Astley was a drummer in a band called FBI. When FBI disbanded, the then 19-year-old Astley got a job as a teaboy at producer Pete Waterman’s studio in London.

Then in 1987, Astley recorded Never Gonna Give You Up, a dance pop number produced by the famed Stock, Aitken Waterman trio.

The catchy song became a No. 1 hit in 25 countries, including the US where it scored the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in March 1988.

An equally (in)famous music video was released showing Astley in a long white trenchcoat dancing awkwardly.

Never Gonna Give You Up was included in Astley’s debut album Whenever You Need Somebody, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide.

Did you know that Astley stepped away from the spotlight at the age of 27 in 1993? He gave up on fame to focus on his family.

Then in 2007, Astley’s name was in the news again thanks to the idea of “Rickrolling” someone.

It’s an Internet prank where you lead someone into watching an unrelated video but instead ends up getting surprised by Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up.

How does the singer feel about being associated with an Internet prank? The good-humoured Astley has no problems with it. He has even done some Rickrolling himself.

“It’s done me a lot of good, probably. The thing is it’s not personal to me, even though I know it is me and it’s my name in the title of Rickrolling. It’s that video that I’m in, it’s that song that’s mine, but it could have been anybody,” he said to Rolling Stone in 2016.

30 years later, does Astley still have the white trenchcoat from the music video?

“No. Somebody stole it off me in Northern Ireland. We (played) a radio broadcast outside and it got swamped. There were a couple of policemen, but it all went just a bit mad. Everyone was grabbing hold of me and before I knew it, it just went off of me,” he explained in the same Rolling Stone interview.

Rick Astley
Rick Astley at a concert in Kuala Lumpur back in 2013. Photo: Filepic


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