In a recent interview with Classic Rock, Rick Astley, known for his iconic hit ‘Never Gonna Give You Up,’ delved into his musical preferences, specifically discussing AC/DC’s two distinctive eras led by Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.
Astley, who recently released his first album in six years.
He shared his deep admiration for the band’s ‘Highway To Hell’ era:
“I say this with all respect to Brian Johnson, who has made so many amazing records with AC/DC, but for me, it’s ‘Highway To Hell.’ I fell in love with it when I heard Tommy Vance play it on the radio: ‘What is this?’ Bon had a cheek to him and so much personality in his voice.”
Astley revealed a charming connection with rock legend Dave Grohl, describing how he learned to play the drums by constantly playing along to ‘Highway To Hell.’ When he met Grohl, they bonded over their shared love for the album, with Grohl revealing that his daughter was also learning to play drums to the same tracks.
Astley’s admiration for the ‘Highway To Hell’ album goes beyond mere appreciation; he even performed the title track at the 2023 Glastonbury Festival, showcasing his drumming skills alongside his vocal talents.
During the festival, he also treated the audience to his famous ‘Rickrolling’ anthem, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’
Reflecting on his early fame and the unexpected encounters it brought, Astley shared a delightful anecdote about meeting Ozzy Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, during a promotional visit to the US. Despite initial skepticism from Sharon, Ozzy Osbourne expressed genuine interest in collaborating with Astley:
“He [Osbourne] said, ‘Are you over here playing?’ and I said, ‘No, we’re just doing promo. And then went, ‘If you want to put a band together, let me know. I’ve worked with all the greats.’ And I knew he had – he’d worked with some of the best guitar players on that planet.”
Astley was both surprised and touched by the encounter, appreciating the recognition from Osbourne and his offer to assemble a band for him. Despite the unexpected turn of events, Astley regarded Osbourne’s gesture as a testament to his kindness.
Currently, Rick Astley is gearing up for an upcoming tour in support of his latest album, starting in Sheffield, UK, on October 29.
The tour will take him to various destinations, including Ireland, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, continuing into March 2024 after the UK shows conclude. As he continues his musical journey, Astley’s admiration for the legendary ‘Highway To Hell’ era of AC/DC serves as a testament to the enduring impact of rock ‘n’ roll on artists across genres.
Watch Rick Astley cover AC/DC’s Highway To Hell in the video below: