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Rickrolling – Everything You Need to Know

what is rickrolling

What is Rickrolling?

“Rickrolling” is perhaps the most famous “bait and switch” meme on the internet today. If you haven’t been unlucky enough to fall victim to it, it essentially involves being tricked into clicking an interesting video link (for instance, “Joseph Gordon-Levitt sings to a puppy”) only to discover there is no video of Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing to a puppy. Instead, you have been redirected to the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song, ‘Never Going to Give You Up.’

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Who is Rick Astley?

Rick Astley is a 1980s’ British pop singer and songwriter. ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ was his one massive hit single and his greatest moment of time. (‘Together Forever’ is basically the same song.) The song is a romantic and jaunty tune that promises a hypothetical lover that Rick will never betray her by doing a laundry list of horrible things (e.g. “Give You Up”, “Let You Down”, or “Turn Around and Desert You”). It is also considered an “earworm,” meaning it is an insanely catchy song that will get stuck in your head.

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How did Rickrolling start?

Like many other internet memes, Rickrolling can date its origins back to the 4chan message boards. Members of the 4chan community had begun to prank each other with a practice known as “duckrolling.” Someone would post a link to something interesting, but when clicked, the link led to a photo of a duck on wheels. In May 2007, a poster on 4chan claimed to have a link to a trailer for the still unreleased video game, ‘Grand Theft Auto 4,’ but it instead turned out to be a link to the music video for Rick Astley’s beautiful tune. Within a year, the practice of “Rickrolling” had spread to the mainstream internet.


Why did the White House Twitter feed rickroll America?

On July 28th, 2008, someone commented to the White House over Twitter that its official Tweets were “dull.” Whoever was Tweeting on behalf of the White House that day responded by apologizing and offering a link to “something fun.” That something fun was a video of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

What does Rickrolling have to do with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Rickrolling eventually made the crossover from internet meme to real life situation. Rick Astley’s song was used to disrupt a number of sporting events and political protests against the Church of Scientology in a playful, yet annoying way. On November 27, 2008, while most of middle America watched the popular Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Rick Astley himself interrupted a musical number by singing his one great hit song. Thus, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was rickrolled by the master.

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