People tend to forget just how big Rick Astley actually was.
Pete Waterman

In 1987, a new voice emerged on the pop charts. That voice belonged to none other than Rick Astley and it quickly took him to number one in no less than 16 nations around the world. In the UK, Astley was in top 40's charts for the first 6 months of his career and he was one of few British artists to break into the top 10 charts in the USA.

Rick Astley was born on February 6, 1966 in Northern England and was raised in a small coal mining town by the name of Newton-Le-Willows. His love for singing was obvious from an early age and he was an avid participant in school and church choirs. In his late teens, like many young men, Rick started singing with a local band. First he fronted for Give Way, but later joined FBI, where his talent was discovered.

Peter Waterman came to see the band perform in the mid-80's and upon hearing Astley sing, he immediately made an offer to the 20-year old. Astley, however, was loyal to the band, who had developed a strong local fan base, and refused to accept any deals that did not include them. A year later, the other members of FBI, riding on the coat tails of the soon to be pop star and consumed with guilt at holding back a true talent, contacted Waterman and Rick was soon on his way to London, contracted to PWL Studios.

Under the guiding hands of producers Stock Aitken and Waterman, Astley's first song, Never Gonna Give You Up, was recorded on New Year's Day, 1987. When it was released in August of that year it shot to, and stayed at, number 1 for 5 weeks. It also became the largest selling single in Britain that year. His second single, Whenever You Need Somebody , met with equal success and reached number 1 in close to a dozen nations. In 1988, Astley was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys.

The release of Astley's second album was delayed by several months due to a fire at PWL studios and was not released until January 1989. The album, called Hold Me In Your Arms, included no less than 3 top ten hits. That year Astley set off on a world tour which included 70 concerts in 15 countries.

It was around this time that the press began to attack the young pop star, accusing him of being no more than a puppet of the production team at PML. Wanting to prove himself as more than just a pretty face with a booming voice, Rick signed on with RCA/BMG Worldwide, a company that gave him greater freedom and artistic input into his work. It also allowed him to write and produce his own songs and he silenced the critics with the release of Cry for Help. This song was his 8th on the top ten charts, an unbeaten record for any male vocalist.

Rick's third album, Free, was released in 1991 and included musical contributions from the Art of Noise's Ann Dudley, gospel singer Andrae Crouch and Elton John. Like the previous two albums, Free made it to the top 10. 1993 saw the release of Body and Soul which made it to the charts but was not as successful as the previous albums. This is partially due to Astley's newly developed fear of flying, which prevented him from fully promoting the record. At this time, Astley wanted to focus on his new family and decided to retire from performing.

In 1998, Astley considered reuniting with Waterman, but it didn't work out and in may 2001 he signed a contract with Polydor Universe and released his fifth album, Keep It Turned On in December 2001.

From tea-boy to record breaking pop star, Rick Astley now leads a quiet life, shunning the limelight. He currently lives in Surrey with his wife and one daughter. It is difficult to say whether the former pop legend will find a way back to his previous level of stardom. His recent album certainly hasn't had the same impact on international charts as his first, but if you read the reviews on Amazon.com, it is clear that die hard fans of Rick are not disappointed.

Reviewer: Peggy
OHHH I loved the last 2 songs on this cd. !! Full of you ~ This song was emotionally written. I can just feel the raw emotions of the words to this song as it jumps into my heart. I had tears flowing down my face upon completion of the song. I play it over several times, and the tears remain. Miracle ~ Again, this song is emotional and very well written. I can feel the raw emotion felt when Rick is singing this song. His voice, mixed with an Excellent written song, make a most beautiful song, and once again the tears flowed. *sniff* I would highly recommend this cd if for the only reason of those 2 songs. Enjoy

Allmusic.com attributes the following tones to Rick:
Fun, Sentimental, Refined/Mannered, Cheerful, Amiable/Good-Natured, Theatrical, Silly, Stylish, Carefree, Party/Celebratory

Discography:
Whenever You Need Somebody (1987)
Hold Me In Your Arms (1989)
Free (1991)
Body & Soul (1993)
Keep It Turned On (2001)

Sources:
http://www.rickastley.co.uk/html/home/home.htm
http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palace/4760/
http://members.tripod.com/~cjc17/index-6.html
http://members.home.nl/hvangerven/lyrics/ngiveuup.htm

Never Gonna Give You Up

We're no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment's what I'm thinking of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it
Inside we both know what's been going on
We know the game and we're gonna play it

And if you ask me how I'm feeling
Don't tell me you're too blind to see

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)

We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it
Inside we both know what's been going on
We know the game and we're gonna play it

I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling
Gotta make you understand

(adlib to fade)

CST Approved

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