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10 Neat Facts About ... Rick Astley!

Photo: krisez [Flickr]

All right, 'fess up: how many of you were Rickrolled yesterday on April Fools' Day?

With all the Rickrolling goin' on these past few months, most of us don't really know much about Rick Astley, the singer who enjoyed a resurgence in fame and unwittingly become the new face of Interweb prankery (is that a word? No? It should be!)

If you don't know much about Rick, here are some fun facts regarding the man behind the phenomenon (no Rickrolling, we promise, because Neatorama will never give you up and never let you down!):

1. Rick Astley was born Richard Paul Astley on February 6, 1966. It was a Sunday. Rick shares his birthday with Axl Rose (born Feb 6, 1962), Bob Marley (1945), Ronald Reagan (1911) and Babe Ruth (1895). No wonder he was destined for stardom!

2. Rick left school at the age of 16. He drove a delivery van for his family's business, a garden store.

3. If you think Rick is clean cut (okay, he did have long hair in Cry For Help ... ), that's because he is: heck, the guy was choir boy at his local church.

Oh, don't believe me? Here's a snippet from a 1988 Smash Hit interview:

Have you ever thought about getting your ear pierced?

"I haven't no. Never once. It used to be trendy and fashionable, but you see, when anything becomes trendy and fashionable, I don't like it. It's not because I want to be different, it's just that I don't want to be mega-fashionable. I never really fancied a hole in me ear anyway." (source)

4. Rick was a drummer for a local band called FBI. When the lead singer left, Rick volunteered to take on the role - it was a lucky stroke because pop mogul Pete Waterman of Stock, Aitken & Waterman saw him perform. Waterman made him (but not the band) an offer, but Rick turned him down out of loyalty to his friends.

The band FBI in 1984, from left to right: Kevin Needham, Rick Astley, Will Hopper, Peter Dale and Greg Smee. (Photo: Rick Astley's official website)

A year later, his bandmates felt guilty that they were holding Rick back and let him go to London to pursue his career ...

5. ... as a gofer for PWL Studios, Pete Waterman's production company. There, he learned the recording process and the record industry business before he resumed singing.

[Okay, this is only tangentially related: Pete Waterman is a phenomenally rich man. He bought 18 Ferraris at one go, was the first man to purchase the privatized British Rail, and once owned the legendary locomotive The Flying Scotsman (source). Don't know who he is? If you're in the UK, just check out Pop Idol - he's one of the judges]

6. Rick's first song was a duet titled "When You Gonna", with singer Lisa Carter. It was released under the simple name of "Rick & Lisa" and was a flop. Here's the YouTube clip (Pwnage at 1:25, 3:28 and 3:45!):

7. Two months after When You Gonna, Rick cut his first solo "Never Gonna Give You Up". The second time using "Gonna" did it for Rick - the song was a big hit. It stayed at number one for five weeks in the UK and was the best selling single of the year. Worldwide, it sold 15.2 million copies. It was 1987 and Rick was 21.

This one's not the rickroll video that most of you have seen before: it's a live performance in 1988. Well, you can consider it being rickrolled live!

In the (now famous again) music video, Rick sang in his trademark trenchcoat. Tech writer Mathew Ingram wrote in his column in The Globe and Mail, "In the video, he does his best to strike pop singer poses in a trenchcoat, but only succeeds in looking like a teenager performing in a high-school musical." But I think Mathew is just being jealous.

8. Rick Astley is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for being the first male solo artist to have his first 8 singles reach the Top 10 in the UK. This feat has never been repeated since.

9. Tired of being hounded by the press and wanting to prove that "there was more to him than being merely a singer" (source) - though some say he developed a fear of flying and didn't want to tour anymore - Rick left Stock, Aitken & Waterman.

For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, Rick remained largely out of the spotlight, preferring to focus on his family life (Rick's parents divorced when he was four, and he feared that his career would wreck his family life).

Pete Waterman said this about Rick's retirement: "Rick walked away right at the height. People look at other artists like Simply Red and say they were big, but he out-sold them two to one." (source)

10. No, he's not gay. Rick lives with his Danish girlfriend Lene Bausager and their daughter Emilie. Actually, that's not the only popular misconception about Rick - when he was starting out, a lot of people assumed that Rick was a black man (because of his deep voice). Even after he made appearances, many people still thought that the skinny white guy was lip-synching to a song made by a black guy!

Links: Rick Astley's official website | MySpace Page

If you're still reading, my little confession: I actually like Rick Astley! Most of the time I got Rickrolled, I actually listened to the entire track. Why? I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling. Gotta make you understand ...

Does anyone know why they call it "Rick Roll'd?" I know that's not his last name, and I'm probably just being dumb, but I'm confused. Does Rolling refer to making someone watch a certain video?
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I actually enjoy being rick rolled. Everytime I fall for it I grin. Then I walk around the office and can hear the song in my head all day long...

I am never gonna give him up.
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Well, I've gotta tell you how I feel as well. :3

I like Mr. Astley. I feel the same way every time I'm Roll'd. I smile, and listen to the track. I also appreciate the video for its sheer cheesiness. Good times.

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Do you think that "When You Gonna" contains the first examples of white people saying "homeboy" and "homegirl" in history?

I do.

And yeah, enough with the Rick Rolling--played out. I enjoyed the post tho
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That songs appears to be associated with april fools day



I would have selected 'The Fool Up on The Hill' by the Beatles as the ultimate song

or even The Joker by Steve Miller Band
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More fun facts: son of Brit composer Ted and brother of Karen (who was married to The Who's Pete Townshend from 1968-2000 and had 3 kids with him).
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#11 - He's never gonna give you up.
#12 - He's never gonna let you down.
#13 - He's never gonna run around and desert you.
#14 - He's never gonna make you cry.
#15 - He's never gonna say goodbye.
#16 - He's never gonna lie and hurt you.
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Such as cheesy video, but so catchy!

Thespian24601 - Rick Rolled came from an Internet Meme, duckroll, mostly in forums being tricked into going to a link of an image of a duck on wheels.

Rick Rollin started middle of last year and has been spreading! Youtube for April fools linked all their featured videos to Rick's music video.
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Rick "Roll" is from duck roll, a similar premise of tricking somebody into seeing something - it used to be a duck with wheels.
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Rick has the dubious honor of being the subject of a fab Wonder Stuff song "Astley In The Noose" and mentioned in the Nick Lowe song "All Men Are Liars" where his name is rhymed with "ghastly".
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ha! thats totally understandable! people say the same thing about my friend will:
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kat, your friend's pretty good. They probably say that because of the genre he's in. Rick Astley just looks bizarre when you see him singing with that deep voice.
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Cool video, the live one, and he's really singing live too it appears, not just lipsyncing, that's nice. I'm old enough to have been there when he was huge and everyone was humming this song and trying to mimic his dance moves ;-)
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Well apparently, Rick Astley isn’t the only former singer celeb being rolled. MC Hammer has now fallen victim to the craze, as people are now getting “HammerRolled”.

A website located at explains this version of the gold ‘ole Rick Roll.
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I thought there was also a fact about his finger having to be cut off because he got tetatus from a rusty nail. From then on he hid his missing finger in his videos (hands gloved, etc.)
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If you like his original music, search youtube for "rick astley sleeping" and watch the music video. It's a song that was released early 2000 or 2001. Surprising how his voice can still sound good with more modern styles of music too!
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What's wild about this Rick Astley thing is how popular his song is on iTunes... Wonder what his royalty check looks like. Full bars!
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Rick facts EXTRA

Rick is from the Lancashire town of St.Helens, notable for being the largest town in the UK.

Largest town, but not quite a city.
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Stock, Aitken and Waterman claimed that Never Gonna Give You Up is written in less time than it takes to play. I believe that's only slight hyperbole; the bass line a is a stock one, the melody follows the SAW template of slightly changing that teasing "nana nana naaa-na" and the song doesn't even have a proper middle eight, just a cut up version of the chorus.
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Rick was born in the Cheshire town of Warrington and raised in Newton-le-Willows........
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You forgot about the little bits of pwnage throughout the video, including the final three seconds. I wonder which came first...this or that video with the peaceful car driving through the winding roads and then pwnage?
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when is rick going to release new songs he has a great voice is still on trend and has great respest for the woman in his life his music gives me a loy of joy especially on my way to and from work. i also listen to songs when am keeping fit, and where are all his videos for his songs? can't wait much longer for new music old is good but i want more!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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if you still like rick you will be pleased to no he is making a comeback and you can hear an interview with him as well as his new single on 96.5 bolton fm and if you cant get it where you are tune in on and listen online thats tomorrow morning between 6 and 9am only on bolton fm
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I've been spinning vinyl since 1982, and when Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" came up in my record pool, I copped doubles (2 copies). I would mix it (what they call a "Mash Up" nowadays) with the instrumental versions of other singles that had BPM's at 100-112. The brothers in my posse would bug! Anyway, dude had style, he had the strong, rich-sounding pipes, and you couldn't front like he sucked. No autotune, tone deaf vocalist fo sho. The kid was down! The chicks dug that shit! Props, from a lifelong B-Boy!!! RIIICK you was ILL and didn't even know it!!!
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