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The Day Rick Astley Rickrolled To The Top

03/12/2012
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(Gibson) On this day in 1988, Rick Astley started a two-week run at no. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Never Gonna Give You Up," also a chart-topper in the U.K. Gibson takes a look back:

On this date in 1988, Rick Astley began a two-week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with his first solo single, the soul-flavored dance track "Never Gonna Give You Up." The song would also hit the top of the charts in the U.K., Canada and most of Europe, kick-starting a career that would see Astley sell in excess of 40 million albums by the time of his rather early retirement in 1993. No one knew then that the song would go on to have an even greater second life nearly 20 years later, when it became part of an Internet phenomenon, known simply as "rickrolling."

The origin of rickrolling involves a duck and a guy named "moot." The latter was the handle for the director of an image-sharing website called 4chan. In 2006, moot decided to have a little fun with his followers and change the word "egg" to "duck" every time it appeared in a message post. This little practical joke spread and soon the practice was dubbed "duckrolling," after the joke-affected word, "eggroll."

Then in March 2007, the concept of duckrolling took on an unexpectedly English face. Rockstar Games was set to release the trailer for the eagerly anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV game. The response was so overwhelming and immediate that the site crashed. Then, some clever anonymous person at 4chan grabbed the now-useless URL for the trailer and linked it, not to a duck on wheels, but to the music video for Rick Astley's chart-topper. And thus, rickrolling was born.

Suddenly offices and dorm rooms everywhere were erupting into song when an unsuspecting victim clicked on what he/she thought would be a Grand Theft trailer…or a pic of a sexy girl or a contest prize or a hot stock tip. The pranks were endless.

Suddenly offices and dorm rooms everywhere were erupting into song when an unsuspecting victim clicked on what he/she thought would be a Grand Theft trailer…or a pic of a sexy girl or a contest prize or a hot stock tip. The pranks were endless. more on this story

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