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Quite a number of times, over the years, I have been approached to give my approval for a new cover of "Never Gonna Give You Up," the Rick Astley hit. Mostly, I give the nod to what are very largely inferior versions. Even if I say so myself, our 1987 record still sounds good twenty odd years later and so far no re-make, re-mix or re-recording has ever got to the heart of the song, the way ours does.
Good songs never die. Some grow old gracefully, but others seem to be always fresh, always relevant. I can't begin to explain the Rickrolling phenomenon which has hit the news in recent months. But I do know that in a time where the public do not get the chance to vote for their favourite songs apart from in TV talent contests, great masses of people make their point in another way. Perhaps, in all humility, this ‘prank' as it is often described, could have used any hit song of the past as its focus. But I'm not sure. I expect many will say I'm deluded, but I have this feeling that in fact it's all down to the strength of that singer singing that song. Anyway, it seems to give a new generation an ‘excuse' to like the song all over again. You can always say it was just a ‘prank'. You can pretend you don't really like it all that much, honest, it was just a prank. But after 25 million plays, that's some prank.
What I was always clear on, when writing for an artist, is that the material has to fit like a tailor-made suit. We worked very hard to give Rick, with his unique voice, a song that brought all the elements together. I try to write from the heart and every tune and lyric I've ever come up with was truly meant at the time. Yes, even the "Fast Food Song". It was no accident that "Never Gonna Give You Up" happened to be the song we wrote for Rick. His voice with commitment and passion is hard to ignore. All the factors were taken into consideration and the result was a world wide number one. There are not many other true pop songs you can cite which bring all the elements of pop together in one brew. There are plenty of hits which bring some of all the elements together. But I think in this case what we have here is about the most complete pop song you could get. Perhaps Rickrolling could only have happened with that song. But, more importantly, I don't think that it would have the same power if someone else had sung it. So it's Rick with that song. In fact, as far as explaining the Rickrolling phenomenon is concerned, you couldn't and you wouldn't get this from any other guy.
(c)2008 M Stock
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