Rick has rolled into YouTube’s billion-views club.
The video has benefited from one of the earliest YouTube memes: “Rickrolling,” a prank in which someone shares a link promising one thing — but which, in fact, launches the red-headed Brit’s dance-pop iconic music video. The indestructible Rickrolling meme has generated untold millions of views for Astley’s video: On April Fool’s Day 2021 alone, it topped 2.3 million views, according to YouTube.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” is only the fourth music video from the 1980s to join YouTube’s Billion Views Club, behind Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” A-ha’s “Take on Me,” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
Astley, 55, celebrated the milestone in a tweet, saying in a video, “So I’ve just been told that ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ has been streamed a billion times on YouTube. That is mind-blowing. The world is a wonderful and beautiful place, and I am very lucky.”
— Rick Astley (@rickastley) July 28, 2021
To celebrate the milestone, Astley announced the release of 2,500 numbered 7-inch blue vinyl copies of the single, each signed by him. Priced at $17 each, Astley’s website says that the records are sold out.
“Never Gonna Give You Up,” Astley’s best-known song, hit No. 1 on singles charts in 25 countries when it was first released. Thanks to Rickrolling, Astley in 2008 won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Act Ever for the song after a crowd-sourced internet voting effort.
Astley has previously commented on the Rickrolling phenomenon — and he’s cool with it. “I think it’s just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it. That’s what’s brilliant about the internet,” the singer said in a 2008 interview with the L.A. Times.