Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ hits a billion YouTube views

Rick Astley fans — and haters — are never gonna give up watching his hit song on YouTube, which just surpassed 1 billion views.

The official video for “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which was released 34 years ago this week, now has over 1 billion views on YouTube.

The song became significantly more popular — and memed — with the rise of “Rickrolling,” an internet prank in which people are fooled into clicking on a hyperlink that leads to the music video. The video even picked up an extra 2.3 million views on this year’s April Fool’s Day alone.

The viral sensation’s journey to 1 billion views began even before the official video was posted to YouTube. In 2007, 4chan users helped give a head start to the “Rickrolling” trend, so much so that Astley performed at the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Astley also won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Act Ever in 2008 for the song after a widespread internet voting effort.

The video even picked up an extra 2.3 million views on April Fool's Day alone.
The video even picked up an extra 2.3 million views on this year’s April Fool’s Day alone.
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The video was posted in 2009, and by then he had already become popular — once again — on social media.

“1 BILLION views for Never Gonna Give You Up on YouTube ! Amazing, crazy, wonderful!” he tweeted on Wednesday.

The official YouTube Twitter account replied, “an iconic moment for a YouTube icon… congrats, Rick!!”

When released, the song reached No. 1 in the UK for five weeks, as well as No. 1 in 24 other countries. Astley wasn’t originally thrilled with the reemergence of the song, but his daughter kept him optimistic by noting that the song made him a long-lasting household name after the song peaked in 1988.

While 1 billion views is a huge feat on YouTube, a few other songs have him beat — by a lot. “Gangnam Style,” which reached 1 billion views back in 2012, now has 4.13 billion. Leading the pack is “Baby Shark” with a whopping 9 billion views.

“Never Gonna Give You Up” is the fourth music video from the 1980s to reach the achievement, behind Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” a-ha’s “Take on Me” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

Astley is commemorating the achievement with the release of a new “Never Gonna Give You Up” limited-edition signed, numbered and colored 7-inch vinyl single.

Astley is commemorating the achievement with the release of a new "Never Gonna Give You Up" limited edition signed, numbered and colored 7” vinyl single.
Astley is commemorating the achievement with the release of a new “Never Gonna Give You Up” limited-edition signed, numbered and colored 7-inch vinyl single.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images