Rick Astley is a man in control of his own destiny. Despite being barely 21 when he hit it big with the premier goof bag Hi-NRG dance single, and despite the pure preposterousness of its ubiquity being due to a now 15-year-old internet meme, Astley is not only fondly remembered but also currently beloved.
Actually, now that I skim over it, perhaps it is because of these things that Astley is so beloved. He’s taken a career that would have caused any other artist to be bitter or spiteful and has not only used it to his advantage but has appeared to gleefully participate in the absurdity of it all. He’s ridden it to continued stadium appearances. He’s ridden it to basically become the new Morrissey. He’s done it all with a smile on his face.
So now imagine you walk into a pub just off of King’s Cross Station in North London and you find yourself, along with a handful of other strangers, staring down Rick Astley as he stands on stage with a guitar tuned to drop D and busts out a faithful rendition of the Foo Fighters magnum opus ‘Everlong’.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like heaven to me. With a beer in my hand and my vocal cords ready to scream out the throat-shredding chorus, the only negative thoughts that would be crossing my mind would focus on how much better Astley looks at 55 than I look at 23. Sure Astley’s silky smooth baritone chafes a bit against Dave Grohl’s mumbly chorus, and the whole thing has the completely unnecessary appearances of backup singers and a keyboard player, but believe me when I say that none of that matters in the slightest.
Why? Because this is Rick Astley playing ‘Everlong’! Logic be damned! That’s not why we’re here. What the hell were you expecting? I guarantee that you can hear what it sounds like in your head right now without clicking on the video. But I still recommend watching, just to see Astley belt out that chorus in all its wonderfully inane glory. Astley had previously done the song in a solo acoustic arrangement, and he’s played it live with the Foos before as well, but ‘Everlong’ is always better plugged in and kicking ass (and you know what? So is Astley.) so I’m a fan of this specific live version.
See the clip, below.