One of the internet’s best-known videos just marked an important (and arguably overdue) historic moment. KIRO7 notes that Rick Astley’s video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” crossed 1 billion YouTube views on July 28th, putting the original Rickroll in the same rare company as clips from the latest pop stars.
Not surprisingly, Astley approves. He told Twitter followers the figure was “mind-blowing” and that he was “very lucky.” He wasn’t originally thrilled with the concept when it first took off, but his daughter eventually won him over by noting that it kept him well-known long after the song peaked in 1988.
This has been a long time in coming. Rickrolling started in earnest in 2007, when 4chan users started pranking people looking for one video by playing Astley’s, and it quickly blew up to the point where Astley was performing at the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s almost surprising this didn’t happen sooner. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” hit the billion-view mark in 2012, and it didn’t have the benefit of a years-old meme.
Astley won’t top the YouTube charts any time soon. Many videos are now in the billion-view club, and the leader (“Baby Shark,” of course) has over 9 billion plays. It’s still a rare feat, though, and it’s how Astley got to 1 billion that helps him stand out — he’s as much a part of internet culture as “Charlie Bit My Finger” and Nyan Cat, not just the artist du jour.
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