(PCM) We are nearly certain that many, if not all, of you reading this have been “rickrolled” at one point in time, especially if you have spent any time at all on surfing the internet within the last ten years. So, what exactly does it mean to be “rickrolled”? Just how did this ridiculous internet meme begin? We will answer those questions below, as well as, share a few of our favorite “rickroll” clips from the last several years.
When you become the victim of “rickrolling” it means that you have fallen for a prank that involves clicking on an internet link that is supposed to take you to more information on the topic you are searching for or discussing with someone, however the link actually redirects you to the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley single “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The process of “rickrolling” began sometime in May of 2007 and still continues to this day.
It is unclear just why someone decided one day to use the Rick Astley song for the prank, but many feel it was due to the hilariously horrible dancing and just overall cheesiness contained within the original music video. Some also feel that it is Astley’s deep singing voice, paired with his youthful appearance that make the song/video even more ridiculous.
The video titled “RickRoll’D” was uploaded to YouTube on May 15, 2007 and has been viewed over 76 million times and contains the hilarious description “As long as trolls are still trolling, the Rick will never stop rolling.” According to 4chan founder m00t, the “rickroll” phenomenon began on the /v/ (video games) message board , when someone posted a link to Rick Astley’s music video disguised as a sneak preview for the then newly released video game Grand Theft Auto IV. Due to the high buildup of anticipation for the game at that time, many GTA fans on the /v/ board fell victim to the bait-and-switch prank and the joke became quite popular on 4chan and it continued to spread from there!
Despite the fact that Rick Astley and his infamous song have grown so much in popularity, Astley is still making next to nothing financially on YouTube even through the video is a viral phenomenon. The artist had only received $12 for his performance share. Since Astley didn’t compose the song, he only receives a performer’s share of the sound recording copyright. It is amazing to us that this video could be viewed that many times and Astley is literally making peanuts off of it! So sad!
Some of our favorite “RickRolling” videos can be found below:
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit/Never Gonna Give You Up Mashup:
Speeches from the Oregon government officials were broken down into a hilarious video, as they were able to embed lyrics from “Never Gonna Give You Up” in each speech.
Commuters on the “A” train subway in NYC were not very pleased to be “rickrolled” by the On The Rocks Acapella group during their morning commute
The rock band The Foo Fighters “rickrolled” the Westboro Baptist Church who were protesting the band’s concert in Kansas City, Missouri!
Another YouTuber took various clips from former President Barack Obama’s speeches to create a hysterical “rickroll” mash-up video
Back in 2008, YouTube, itself, played a funny April Fool’s Day prank on users by changing every video link on their homepage to “RickRoll” visitors. Many were left incredibly confused, as the meme/joke was still gaining steam at the time. Too bad there aren’t more video reactions to that trick. Finally, we found a fantastic “rickroll” from the folks at ThinkGeek, who tricked customers into believing there was such a product as a Betamax to HD-DVD converter!