Never Gonna Give You Up

Last updated on 28 May 2017

"Never Gonna Give You Up" is a single by Rick Astley, released in 1987, written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. The song was released as the first single from his debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody (1987). The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the singer's native United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at the top of the chart for five weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. It eventually topped the charts in 25 countries, including the United States and West Germany.

The song won Best British Single at the 1988 Brit Awards. In 2004, it was voted number 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 Europe Music Award for Best Act Ever with the song, 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.

The song is considered Astley's signature song and it is often played at the end of Astley's live concerts. During a live performance, usually on the last verse, Rick sometimes shouts out to the audience that he is feeling "bloody marvellous" or in other countries that he is feeling "fantastic" after the line "And if you ask me how I'm feeling" to have some banter with the audience.

RickAstleyNeverGonnaGiveYouUp7InchSingleCover.jpg
RickAstleyNeverGonnaGiveYouUp7InchSingleCover.jpg

Production

The song was recorded at the PWL Studios in South London, England. The song's basslines were produced using a Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer, while the drums and sequencing were handled by a Linn 9000. Other equipment used include a Roland Juno 106 analog synthesizer, and Yamaha Rev5 and Rev7 reverberators.

Original success

The song hit number one in the US in March 1988 after it was played by resident DJ, Larry Levan, at the Paradise Garage in 1987. The single topped the charts in 25 countries worldwide.

On March 12, 1988, "Never Gonna Give You Up" reached number one in the American Billboard Hot 100.

Rickrolling

"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. Originally started by 4chan, 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 tricked 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."

Astley also appeared in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade interrupting a song performed by those on a float promoting the Cartoon Network program Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends with a lipsynched performance of "Never Gonna Give You Up."

There were reports that despite the video garnering millions of hits on YouTube, Astley earned almost no money from the online phenomenon, receiving only $12 USD in royalties from YouTube for his performance share, as of August 2010, but Astley denied those reports in 2016.

Cover versions

Track listings

7" single
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (7" Vocal Mix) – 3:32
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Instrumental) – 3:30
12" maxi
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Cake mix) – 5:46
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Instrumental) – 6:19
  3. "Never Gonna Give You Up" – 3:32
  4. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape to New York mix) – 7:01
  5. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape from Newton mix) – 6:23
12" maxi
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Cake mix) – 5:48
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Instrumental) – 3:30
  3. "Never Gonna Give You Up" – 3:32
12" single
  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape from Newton mix) – 6:30
  2. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Escape to New York mix) – 7:00

Personnel

  • Written and produced by: Stock, Aitken & Waterman
  • Engineer: Mark McGuire, Mike Duffy
  • Tape Operator: Burni Adams
  • Mixed by:
    • Escape from Newton mix: Mixmaster Pete Hammond
    • Escape to New York mix: The Extra Beat Boys

Charts and certifications

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Too Much Ain't Enough Love" by Jimmy Barnes
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
30 November 1987 – 11 January 1988 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Faith" by George Michael
Preceded by
"Bad" by Michael Jackson
Single Top 100 number-one single
10 October 1987 – 7 November 1987 (5 weeks)
Belgian Ultratop 50 Flanders number-one single
24 October 1987 – 14 November 1988 (4 weeks)
Belgian VRT Top 30 Flanders number-one single
31 October 1987 – 14 November 1988 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Pump Up the Volume" by M|A|R|R|S
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
10 October 1987 – 31 October 1987 (4 weeks)
Preceded by
"I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany
New Zealand number-one single
7 February 1988 (1 week)
Preceded by
"I Just Can't Stop Loving You" by Michael Jackson featuring Siedah Garrett
UK Singles Chart number-one single
23 August 1987 – 26 September 1987 (5 weeks)
Preceded by
"Seasons Change" by Exposé
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary number-one single
2 April 1988 – 9 April 1988 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Father Figure" by George Michael
Preceded by
"Pump Up the Volume" by M|A|R|R|S
Canadian RPM number-one single
19 March 1988 – 2 April 1988 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car" by Billy Ocean
Preceded by
"Voyage, voyage" by Desireless
German number-one single
5 October 1987 – 19 October 1987 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"You Win Again" by the Bee Gees
Preceded by
"Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen
Norwegian number-one single
43/1987 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Voyage, voyage" by Desireless
Preceded by
"La Bamba" by Los Lobos
South African number-one single
26 December 1987 – 23 January 1988 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Preceded by
"It's a Sin" by Pet Shop Boys
Swedish number-one single
30 September 1987 – 11 November 1987 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Oh Mama" by Lili & Sussie
Preceded by
"Bad" by Michael Jackson
"Soul Survivor" by C. C. Catch
"Never Can Say Goodbye" by The Communards
Spanish number-one single
3 December 1987 – 10 December 1987 (2 weeks)
24 December 1987 – 7 January 1988 (3 weeks)
4 February 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Soul Survivor" by C. C. Catch
"Never Can Say Goodbye" by The Communards
"Always on My Mind by Pet Shop Boys
Preceded by
"She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze
US Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
12 March 1988 – 26 March 1988 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Where Do Broken Hearts Go" by Whitney Houston
Preceded by
"Father Figure" by George Michael
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
12 March 1988 – 19 March 1988 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
US Cash Box number-one single
19 March 1988 (1 week)
Preceded by
"I'm Beggin' You" by Supertramp
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
16 January 1988 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"What Have I Done to Deserve This?" by Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
Preceded by
"Don't Leave Me This Way" by The Communards with Sarah Jane Morris
1986
UK Singles Chart best-selling single of the year
1987
Succeeded by
"Mistletoe & Wine" by Cliff Richard
1988

Notable appearances in other media

According to IMDB the song was featured in numerous films and television programs. Notable appearances include:

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