As a clear sign that society is quite possibly never gonna give rickrolling up, Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video recently hit 1 billion views on YouTube.
The bait-and-switch prank began in 2007 and quickly gained popularity both on- and offline. Everyone from Nancy Pelosi to the New York Mets—and even Astley himself—has gotten in on the action, proving that upbeat ’80s tunes and good-natured, low-stakes practical jokes have a pretty broad appeal. YouTube user Domy13 went so far as to recreate the original music video with LEGO animation, and there’s even a way to rickroll your colleagues via Zoom.
As Insider reports, reaching 1 billion YouTube views is par for the course for popular songs these days; Adele’s “Hello,” Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” all earned the distinction within roughly three months of their releases. But for music videos that predate the streaming platform, it’s much rarer and therefore more impressive.
That’s not lost on Astley, who called the milestone “mind-blowing” in an Instagram video posted on July 28. “The world is a wonderful and beautiful place, and I am very lucky,” he said. To celebrate, he also released 2500 limited-edition signed vinyl copies of the song, which are already sold out.
It’s good to hear that Astley is finding ways to make money from the public’s ongoing obsession with “Never Gonna Give You Up,” since he reportedly doesn’t own the copyright—he didn’t write the song—and has to split the profits. He has dropped some hints that he’s working on a new remix of the classic with a few of today’s most prominent pop stars, which you can learn more about here.