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Celebrate the anniversary of “Never Gonna Give You Up” with the history of Rickrolls

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Singer Rick Astley tweeted today that it has been 30 years since he released the smash-hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” making this a pretty huge anniversary for one of the most inescapable earworms that has ever been unleashed on the world.


Of course, one of the reasons that “Never Gonna Give You Up” is so inescapable is that the internet loves to use it in elaborate (and not-so-elaborate) pranks. Dubbed “Rickrolling,” the basic gag usually involves someone posting a link to something that sounds too good to be true, but when the target of the prank clicks the link, they’re actually taken to Rick Astley’s video on YouTube—often with a fake video name and description in order to keep people from figuring out the ruse before it’s too late. The history of Rickrolling is deeply connected to the history of general internet trolling, and according to a fascinating new video essay released in honor of the song’s 30th anniversary, its unexpected resurgence might even shed some light on how human trolls like Donald Trump have come to power.

The video is several hours long, but it’s all incredibly thought-provoking and definitely worth a watch. You can see it for yourself below.