The internet’s most popular prank, Rickrolling, drove the official video for Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up to the prestigious milestone of 1 billion views. To celebrate the success, singer Astley pinned a comment on the video announcing the moment and thanks fans for the “amazing, crazy, wonderful” milestone.
Never Gonna Give You Up was uploaded to YouTube by Rick Astley in late 2009. The song soon became a popular prank that achieved meme status and would make it to YouTube’s copy of the music video.
The meme that includes the song far surpassed the song’s popularity, causing it to hit a unique milestone on YouTube: more than a billion views. While this doesn’t even come close to the high-profile songs that have drawn billions of viewers, it’s still a notable, prestigious milestone that few videos can claim.
It’s safe to say that most of the video’s views were due to rickrolling, the name for the internet’s most popular prank, and not because viewers wanted to get nostalgic by hearing a pop song from the 80s. Of course, the number of viewers does not give us any central information: How long each viewer has actually seen the video. It seems like a safe bet that most people are likely to click away from the video within the first few seconds.
The internet prank’s enduring popularity has made it a part of pop culture that has sometimes spilled over into the real world. For example, there was that time in 2008, when Rick Astley rickrolled the whole country with his appearance in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.