Rick Astley Recreates Iconic 'Never Gonna Give You Up' Video, 35 Years After Release
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Rick Astley's career entered a second act when his music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up," grew into an internet meme, and he continues to embrace the success by recreating the iconic video for a California State Automobile Association Insurance Group advertisement.
The English songwriter, 56, appeared in a near-exact recreation of the original 1987 music video released by the CSAA to YouTube on Monday, save for backing dancers wearing AAA merchandise. In the video, one polo-clad dancer checks off a list on a white board that notably tells viewers all the things insurance will never do to them.
Astley remains similar to his 1987 counterpart across three different backdrops and costumes that resemble the sets from the original music video, which appear together on a four-pronged Zoom meeting one AAA employee watches.
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"Is this still a thing?" Astley asks the other versions of himself, all revealed to be on stage together, after he views the commercial on a phone as the video wraps up with AAA insurance dancers jamming out all around them.
Re-creating the original music video "has been an amazing trip down memory lane," Astley said in a statement. "The song has been so good to me, and I'm thrilled to be working with another iconic brand that has certainly stood the test of time."
"Never Gonna Give You Up," originally released as a single when Astley was 21, turned 35 years old on July 27, and Astley made sure to honor the number in a Twitter post he wrote on its birthday.
"'Never Gonna Give You Up' is 35 years old today!" Astley wrote on Twitter in July. "If it was a person it would be old enough to be President according to US law!
"It's really got a life of it's own at this point & I just appreciate all the love, fun & laughter that surrounds it!" Astley added. "Here's to the next 35! Rick."
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As of Friday, the official "Never Gonna Give You Up" music video has been viewed more than 1.2 billion times on YouTube, boosted into internet fame in the 2000s as "Rickrolling" grew into a phenomenon.
This year, Astley has played the song on tour with New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Peppa and En Vogue.
"Listen, let's face it, 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has sort of become something else," he told the Associated Press in June. "The video and the song have drifted off into the ether and become something else, and I'm ever so grateful for it."
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In 2016, Astley told PEOPLE that he first learned of "Rickrolling" when someone pranked him with the music video for the first time.
"A friend of mine Rick-Rolled me a couple of times, and I didn't really know what he was doing. I just thought he was being an idiot," he told PEOPLE. "I just kept thinking, 'What is this idiot doing? This is just not amusing. I don't really know what's going on.' So we eventually got on the phone and he explained it to me."
Even with an explanation, it took some time to sink in. "To be honest, I still didn't really get it. It took a few weeks for me to grasp."