The Untold Truth Of Rickrolling

The Untold Truth Of Rickrolling


Rickrolling started out as a MySpace-era prank
and became one of the first memes to break into the mainstream. Our hearts have been aching to tell the story,
so here it is. Rickrolling is a bait-and-switch prank that
got its start in 2007 on the internet forum 4chan. Instead of sending someone an image of a duck
with wheels, a user would post misleading links that would redirect to the music video
for Rick Astley’s 1987 blue-eyed soul hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Why? Well, that requires some explanation. 4chan is an anonymous, image-posting internet
forum founded by Christopher Poole in 2003. Forum members frequently played pranks on
each other, and at one point, Poole installed a word filter that changed every instance
of the word “egg” to “duck.” This then changed every instance of the word
“eggroll” to the word “duckroll,” which forum users then decided should be represented by
a duck with wheels. This then evolved into a bait-and-switch prank
in which people would post links with clickbait-y titles that would lead everyone clicking them
to the duckwheel image. Then came the trailer for Grand Theft Auto
IV, which was so popular that it crashed the Rockstar Games website in March 2007. A couple months later, an enterprising 4channer
put a video on YouTube pretending to be the new GTA4 trailer, but instead it was the “Never
Gonna Give You Up” video, and thus the Rickroll was born. While the phenomenon was brewing on the internet,
Rick Astley was completely unaware of it until he was eventually Rickrolled himself by a
friend. At first, he didn’t get it. He didn’t even understand that it was supposed
to be a prank at all, and he wasn’t sure what sharing his music in this context even meant. As the pranks escalated in scale, with members
of 4chan’s Anonymous activists blasting the song through boomboxes at Scientology protests,
he began to be a bit creeped out by this bizarre internet thing attached to his song. “I want to be Rickrolled.” He eventually warmed up to it, though, and
by Thanksgiving 2008, he was ready to join in the fun himself. On that day, he made a surprise appearance
performing the song on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float for the Cartoon Network series
Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. All things considered, the appearance seems
to have done more for Astley’s career than the cartoon itself, which was canceled less
than a year later. In order to attract attention to the newly
created House of Representatives YouTube channel in 2009, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
produced a rather unusual introductory video. It begins by following a couple of cats milling
around in a Capitol office, staring out windows, messing with things like Pelosi’s ceremonial
gavel, and getting all over the antique furniture. But then about thirty seconds into the shenanigans,
something happens. You can probably guess what it is. Yes, it’s true, visitors found themselves
Rickrolled by the then-third most powerful person in America. Subsequent videos on the channel are distinctly
less exciting, and the account seems to have been abandoned years ago, with only a handful
of remaining public videos. We kind of wonder what those cats are up to
now. With Pelosi having returned to the role of
Speaker in 2019, maybe she’ll provide us with an update! In 2011, Democrat Jefferson Smith, a member
of the Oregon House of Representatives, came up with a bipartisan idea for April Fools’
Day. Oregon lawmakers would introduce pieces of
the lyrics of “Never Gonna Give You Up”‘ in their speeches on the House floor. Then, the Oregon State House released a video
of these speeches spliced together to recreate Rick Astley’s song. For anyone worried that this was a waste of
government money, Smith made sure to note that the video editing was performed via volunteer
aides, and not on the taxpayer dollar. However, it did entail on-the-clock cooperation
between several Oregon lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum. The challenge was figuring out how to include
the lyrics in their speeches without wasting floor time by deviating from the topic they
were speaking on. As such, some phrases were more difficult
than others, and it was hard for others to not laugh the first time a lawmaker said “never
gonna give you up” on the House floor. In any case, never let anyone tell you that
Republicans and Democrats can’t compromise. The Westboro Baptist Church is an example
of the uglier side of internet organizing. Founded by pastor Fred Phelps in 1955, the
church has been holding protests against the LGBT community since at least 1991. As the years have gone by, the church has
since branched out to picketing concerts and funerals. A frequent target of their protests is the
rock band Foo Fighters, otherwise known as a group of ridiculously nice and charming
guys who wouldn’t harm a fly. Even the band itself isn’t entirely sure why
they’re in Westboro’s cross hairs, but they’ve never backed down from a chance to troll the
trolls back on their own turf. While performing in Kansas City, Missouri
in 2011, they were picketed by Westboro, so they arranged an entire impromptu concert
across the street from the protest. Then in 2015, the band put together something
a bit more intimate. They were in Kansas City again, and Westboro
was protesting again. The band members pulled up towards the protest
in a pickup truck and started blasting “Never Gonna Give You Up” and then a bunch of Foo
fans turned the scene into a Rick Astley dance party. It just goes to show that if you’re looking
to draw attention to yourself, confronting a rock band probably isn’t your best bet. “Was I the only one that had to look that
up in the urban dictionary, Rickroll?” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

Danny Hutson

61 thoughts on “The Untold Truth Of Rickrolling

  1. I remember being 13 and rickrolled so many times. I couldn't click out of the tab or browser until the song was finished. I would get so mad. Now the song is too catchy not to sing to it. 😂

  2. Sorry Nazi Pelosi is way to obsessed with her favorite candy Peach-Mints to do anything creative, or beneficial to America!

  3. Rick…..Rick, it's your cousin Marvin, Marvin Astley, you know that mediocre, generic sound you've been looking for? We'll listen to this………..

  4. Several years ago I got click baited thus Rick Rolled so many times but I didn’t understand what was going on. I finally figured out after a while that I was being trolled.

  5. Hey, who says a young Rick Astley wouldn’t have become someone’s imaginary friend during the height of rickrolling?

  6. You forgot to mention Foo Fighters also did a mashup of "Never Gonna Give You Up" with Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spiriti", with Rick in tow for a couple of occasions.

  7. Rickrolling has been COMPLETELY undone by YouTube advertising. You click on the link, get faced with a commercial, and while you are forced to view it you view down and notice what video will play after the ad. Extremely anti-climatic.

  8. Rick Astley hit the motherload of good publicity. Imagine how much viral exposure Astley's career has had because of this and the payoff.

  9. Nancy Pelosi doing nothing yet again for the American people or her home state of CA after centuries in office smh 🤦‍♂️

  10. Getting Rick rolled started before 2007. I remember getting Rick rolled in 2000-2001 when I lived in another city.

  11. I literally had “Never Gonna Give You Up” stuck in my head for, I swear, a decade. It was just the music, no lyrics. I never knew what the song was until I randomly came across it on an ‘80s box set in 2002. I was like, “Yes, I finally know the song!” Then, this trend started. I feel like my brain RickRolled me.

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