Entertainment behind the scenes
Have you been “rick-rolled”?
In one of the more bizarre Internet phenomena to sweep the music world, 80s crooner Rick Astley has shot back into the headlines after years in obscurity thanks to millions of Web surfers being “rick-rolled”. For weeks now unsuspecting Internet users have clicked on enticing-looking links related to celebrities and instead been directed to a video of Astley performing his huge hit “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
It appears Youtube decided to get in on the joke, featuring a similar link on its main page on Tuesday, which just happened to be April Fools’ Day. (The image on this blog is a rather arbitrary snap of Youtube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. Sorry, but our pictures archive did not feature Mr. Astley, although that may be about to change).
As many as 15 million people, among them me, have seen the flame-haired Briton strut his stuff as a result of the gag. Bloggers have written about being both irritated and impressed by the trick, but either way it has begun to spill over into the real world.
Astley’s record label has brought forward the re-release of his greatest hits by around two weeks to April 28 to try to cash in on the craze. Astley himself is not available to speak about it, although he did tell the LA Times recently how he found it ironic that a pop song which he himself describes as “pretty naff” has become a kind of cultural beacon, rather than a hit with an obvious political or social message.
If I am anything to go by, “rick-rolling” victims old enough to have been around in 1987, when the song was Britain’s biggest selling single, will be struggling to get the kitsch-yet-catchy tune out of their heads.