It doesn’t even really matter whether or not you were around in late 1987 when Rick Astley dropped his album Whenever You Need Somebody – I can pretty much guarantee that at one point or another, you’ve heard the lead single.
No, I wasn’t trying to Rickroll you. See, if you’re of an older generation, you probably remember when this song first came out. But for people who were born after 1987 (like myself), that song is known mostly as a joke, or a meme even.
If you’re not familiar with the term Rickroll, I’ll explain it real quick. Essentially its done using online hyperlinks, in which someone pulls the ol’ bait and switch on someone, suggesting the link they’re sending is going to be something totally unrelated, and when the unsuspecting recipient of the link opens it, they’re sent to that video above.
Kinda like this: Hey, check out this super awesome new Star Wars trailer that was just released this morning!
Astley has been well aware of this internet phenomenon for quite some time – it first started happening somewhere around 2007, according to Professor Wikipedia. He had more or less faded into obscurity at the time (well, relatively speaking anyway), but in November 2008, Astley was nominated for “Best Act Ever” at the MTV Europe Music Awards after voting was flooded with votes for him. Eventually, MTV Europe declined to give him the award and decided to award it at a later time. Astley reacted, saying the award was a bit daft, but that he felt MTV had been thoroughly Rickrolled, and went on to thank all who had voted for him.
He understands the phenomenon, and he’s pretty good about it, all things considered. I mean, how would you feel if something you put a lot of work into was considered by the masses to be a joke 20 years down the line?
Anyway, Astley has gotten back into performing, recording and touring. He’s lately been touring in support of his upcoming album, 50. During a stop in L.A., he hopped behind the drums and played a cover you might not have expected…
Yahoo! notes that Highway To Hell has actually been a staple of Astley’s set for years now, so to people who follow him closely, it’s not much of a surprise. But for that crowd in L.A. (which he hasn’t visited since 1989), it was likely a pleasant surprise. Also, Astley on drums?! Despite being known for singing over top of electronic beats, Astley started his career as a musician playing drums.
So if Axl Rose decides he’s unavailable for AC/DC, should they decide to tour again, I think I’ve got a decent replacement in mind…