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Thanks to the Rickroll, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ hits 1 billion YouTube plays

Thanks to the Rickroll, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ hits 1 billion YouTube plays


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Photo of Rick ASTLEY
Photo by Bernd Muller/Redferns

The official video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” has surpassed 1 billion plays on YouTube. The song became a lasting part of internet culture thanks to the Rickroll meme and reached the impressive milestone a couple days ago. Astley took to the video’s comments to share his gratitude, saying “amazing, crazy, wonderful!” In a video posted to Instagram, he added “the world is a wonderful and beautiful place, and I am very lucky.” 

With some songs having crossed as many as 7 billion views in recent years, the 1 billion club isn’t quite as prestigious as it once was. But the achievement goes to show the staying power of the Rickroll prank. The video hit daily views of 2.3 million on April Fools Day, according to Billboard. Just in the past couple years, there have been Fortnite emotes and fan-made 4K remasters.

Back in 2008, the man himself Rickrolled the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The meme was also put to excellent use when the San Diego Padres trolled the Boston Red Sox just as fans thought they were about to belt out the chorus to “Sweet Caroline.” If you’ve got other prime examples, the comments section awaits.

I’m curious what the average watch time is for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” After being duped, how many people have closed out the window in aggravation within seconds of hearing the drum intro and synths coming in?

Astley celebrated joining the billion plays club by releasing a limited, already-sold-out run of 7-inch blue vinyl pressings of the quintessential ‘80s jam.