Rick Astley turns 50. Rickrolling turns nine

Rick Astley celebrates his 50th birthday today, and here’s why that’s noteworthy.

In 1988, 22-year old Astley scored a number of hits produced by the Euro production team Stock Aitken Waterman. Their familiar syncopated dance floor beats could be heard clanging through hits from Bananarama, Kylie Minouge and Dead or Alive.

But it was baby-faced baritone Astley who rode the wave all the way to the top, only to disappear forever afterward. That’s not entirely fair. he did score a number of hits in the UK and has toured successfully since. But the poppy “Never Gonna Give You Up” became synonymous with its era, for better or worse.

But it was in 2007 when Astley re-entered the pop culture landscape when a 4chan user created everyone’s favorite Internet prank: Rickrolling. By 2008, the meme had gone viral, and suddenly any important story or video you thought you were going to see was suddenly hyperlinked to the very ’80s video featuring Astley’s rich vocals and sweet dance moves.

“It’s funny,” Astley told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. “It makes me laugh. I’m sure it really annoys a lot of other people, but it’s made me laugh occasionally.”

So Happy Birthday, Rick! Enjoy your cake – and years of laughter!

Our favorite Rickroll…

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