Rick Astley: I never embraced rickrolling because I didn’t want to ruin the joke

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The veteran pop singer spoke at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Rick Astley has said he never embraced the rickrolling phenomenon because he did not want to ruin the joke.

Rickrolling is a popular internet meme which involves tricking someone into clicking a link for something they want to view, only to be confronted with Astley’s 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up.

Speaking at the Isle of Wight Festival, the 53-year-old said it would have been “crass and naff” to use the trend to boost his profile.

He told the Press Association: “I’ve never really embraced it fully to try and monetise it because that would just be crass and naff anyway. And it would have also completely killed it.

“Once the artist who you are having this fun with – or taking the piss out of – gets involved, then it’s just over and it’s boring.

“I embrace it in the sense that I don’t see it as negative. I understand why a lot of artists would. But let’s face it. It’s a pop song from 1987. It’s not the gospel according to…”


In 2016 Astley returned to the charts for the first time in nearly 30 years with the release of his number one album 50.

This prompted a late career resurgence which has seen him tour the UK and appear on festival line-ups.

He said rickrolling had undoubtedly played a part in his comeback.


“It’s certainly done me no harm,” he said.

“Anything that makes its way onto the internet and puts its head above the parapet, for any artist, even if it seems to be a bit negative at times, just puts you in people’s consciousness.

“I’m pretty sure record labels and managers around the world have looked at something like rickrolling and gone: ‘How do we do that?”

Saturday’s festival action included Astley, Bastille and KT Tunstall, and Bastille invited Astley onto stage to join them in a rousing rendition of the band’s 2013 hit Pompeii.

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