Rick Astley: “Never Gonna Give You Up”

I saw this vintage sheet music for “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and… well, how could I leave it at the library sale?

It’s not that I craved or even needed an arrangement of Rick Astley’s catchy 1987 single — there’s already one on my shelves, courtesy of this funky old 80s songbook.

But I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to revisit that old internet phenomenon, Rickrolling, in which unsuspecting web surfers would be invited to click on a link, and regardless of what had been promised, they’d instead find themselves in the midst of the peppy music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Apparently the devotion to Rickrolling is as robust as ever; the official video surpassed one billion views this past July, thanks in part to its continued status as a trusty and convenient April Fool’s Day prank. Indeed, it remains a jovial punchline — or cork pop! — for almost any occasion, from pandemic Zoom meetings and epic sports team trollings to Greta Thunberg at an October 2021 climate action concert and even a recent funeral scene in “Ted Lasso”.

And does it count as Rickrolling when Foo Fighters invite Rick Astley onstage to serenade festival goers? I’m inclined to recommend a review of notable moments in Rickroll history if you’re ever in need of a lift.

This arrangement of the song has some fun, fancy little frills. I just played it on my piano and busted up laughing; I almost felt as if I were Rickrolling any neighbors who might be passing by. “Hmm, what’s that tune…?” And then, BAM! — a burst of recognition… and perhaps Rick Astley’s upbeat voice stuck in someone’s head for the next few hours.

But look, I’ve been entirely up front about pointing you to Rick Astley. If you’re reading this, you knew what you were getting into. Maybe I should provide a different mystery link, a bonus Rickroll in case you’re looking for another, um, upbeat voice to get stuck in your head.

Where to find it:
"Never Gonna Give You Up"
As recorded by Rick Astley
Music and Lyrics by Mike Stock, Matthew Aitken, and Peter Waterman

VINTAGE SHEET MUSIC: on eBay, on AbeBooks
Publisher: Columbia Pictures Publications (1987)
Status (2021): Out of Print

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: sheet music for "Never Gonna Give You Up"
available for purchase as a digital download on musicnotes.com

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