“Never Gonna Give You Up” is a song recorded 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 successful debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody (1987) on 3 August 1987. The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the singer’s native United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at atop 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.
It’s 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.