How 1987 Hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” Became The Most Viral Song In Modern History

via VICE / Youtube

You should count yourself fortunate if you have never been rickrolled. The most well-known bait-and-switch online hoax has accomplished a significant milestone. The classic ’80s song by Rick Astley reached one billion views on YouTube last year, making history.

The song was a bait-and-switch meme that circulated between 2000 and 2004. It was first used by the 4chan community on April 1 and was based on the “duckrolling” bait-and-switch meme, which involved giving links that were supposed to send to something but instead sent to a duck. In the “rickrolling” meme, the duck is replaced with Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which was probably chosen for its unexpectedness. When YouTube rickrolled millions of users by replacing every link on its site with a song, rickrolling gained even more traction. Rick Astley has even given performances and welcomed rickrolling.

Almost everyone has experienced a RickRoll. Fewer yet are aware of the true identity of the musician who created the 1987 smash song “Never Gonna Give You Up” or the enigmatic beginnings of the mid-2000s RickRoll video phenomenon. Rick Astley and the songwriters of the song are introduced to VICE in order to discover more about Rick’s rapid climb to popularity, abrupt retirement, and unexpected reappearance. We also get to know the person behind the viral RickRoll meme, which made this hit endure for future generations.

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