This article first appeared on 4.4.22.
Rick Astley has to be the luckiest ’80s musician on the planet. The whole “Rickrolling” phenomenon has given his hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up” a reach far beyond its natural life span, and kept the guy a household name far longer than he probably would have been.
(For those who are unfamiliar, Rickrolling is when you make someone think they’re being sent to a website, but the link goes to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video instead as a joke. It’s a silly viral bait-and-switch gag that’s been going since 2006.)
But what people may not realize, because his most famous song has become an internet joke, is that Rick Astley is actually a really freaking great musician. The man can saaaang and it seems he’s only gotten better with age.
If you were to choose the most unlikely combo of musical mashups, it might just be Rick Astley and Foo Fighters. Right? Like who would put them together?
Oddly enough, they put themselves together in 2017, when Foo Fighters brought Astley on stage during a concert to sing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl even created his own Rickroll-inspired meme, the Dave G’Roll, with the band’s song “Best of You.” So there’s a history there.
But nothing has been more surprising than hearing Rick Astley do an acoustic cover of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong.” It’s so good. Like, so good.
Not to knock Rick Astley of the 1980s, but that strangely deep voice on a young man was sort of his signature thing. Ergo, you’d think it would be easy to recognize Astley’s voice no matter what he was singing. But you’d be wrong. If you close your eyes and listen to this, you’d likely never guess it was Rick Astley.
Maybe it’s because the song itself isn’t something you expect from the “Never Gonna Give You Up” guy. Maybe it’s because you had no idea that Rick Astley was still making music. Who knows. All I know is that my jaw dropped watching him knock out an awesome version of a grungey rock song with just his voice and acoustic guitar.
Seriously, that was amazing, right? Even hardcore Foo Fighters fans gave Astley props in the comments:
“As a huge Foo Fighters fan, all I can say is this cover didn’t let me down.”
“Tbh I could listen to a whole album of Rick Astley doing grunge covers.”
“Are you kidding me?????? That voice from the 80’s… And one of the greatest numbers of all times…. Didn’t think you could pull that of…. But you did….. Respect to you Rick.”
And, of course, some had to make jokes:
“I love this cover. It feels like the singer is never going to give you up or never gonna let you down. He doesn’t run around and desert you. He will never make you cry and never say goodbye. He doesn’t tell a lie and hurt you. I think that is special.”
“This guy should stop making memes and stick to music! He’s got talent!”
“I’m glad he’s never given up. This did not let me down.”
But this comment perhaps best summed up what most of us walked away thinking:
“God now I feel bad that we’ve ridden on Rick Rolling for so long that we missed the part where Rick Astley is actually a badass musician…”