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Rick-Grohling: The Foo Fighters and Rick Astley Perform ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ Together

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In a story that was so inevitable we’re currently kicking ourselves for not writing it in advance, the Foo Fighters invited ’80s pop icon Rick Astley on stage tonight (8/20) in Tokyo, Japan to perform his hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Just to make things even crazier, the arrangement of the song seems to have been influenced by the popular Nirvana / Astley mash-up “Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up,” as Foo frontman Dave Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins kicked things off with a version of the famous guitar and drum introduction from “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Astley’s 1987 single hit No. 1 in over two dozen countries upon its initial release, and has gone on to even more fame as the impetus for an internet phenomenon known as “Rickrolling,” in which people are unsuspectingly tricked into watching Astley’s video.

More specifically, as Knowyourmeme puts it: “Rickrolling is a bait-and-switch prank that involves posting a hyperlink that is supposedly relevant to the topic at hand in an online discussion, but re-directs the viewer to the music video of “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Astley has been a good sport about the phenomenon, even participating in a live version of the prank at the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “I have no problem with it. It’s done me a lot of good, probably,” he told Rolling Stone in 2016. “If someone had messed around with it and cut it all up and made me look stupid – I mean I look pretty stupid anyway in that video – if it was nasty, then I’d be probably a bit pissed off, but it’s not.”

This is not the Foo Fighters’ first experience with Rickrolling. In August of 2015, when they found out that the Westboro Baptist Church hate group would be protesting one of their concerts, the band counter-protested in person by blasting “Never Gonna Give You Up” from their pickup truck. “We figured, you know what, why don’t we just f—ing RickRoll their ass?” Grohl explained at the time. “‘Cause nothing says love like a little Rick Astley in your life, you know what I’m saying? Never gonna give his ass up!”

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