Rickrolled refers to the result when someone falls for a bait-and-switch prank online, getting redirected to the video clip of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” instead of the desired page, via a hyperlink.
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“Never Gonna Give You Up” was first released in June 1987 on the debut album of Rick Astley, titled “Whenever You Need Somebody”.
While the exact origin of getting “Rickrolled” is debated, one of the most popular claimants who counts themselves among the first ones to do the prank is YouTuber Hot Dad, also known as Eric Helwig, who uploaded a video to YouTube on August 8th, 2015, with the title “I Did the First Rickroll (w/ Proof)”.
On 4chan, getting “Rickrolled” was preceded with the practice of getting people Duckrolled, where a hyperlink directed users to an image of a duck on wheels.
Spread and Usage
“Rickrolled” started to apply to 4chan users on the /v/ board around May 2007, with many of the supposed “Grand Theft Auto IV” content related links leading to various YouTube uploads of “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
The meme peaked in 2008, when during a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Rick Astley “Rickrolled” the show.
Throughout the 2010’s, the popularity of the prank wouldn’t diminish, as it would be done in even official contexts, such as a 2010 case, where a group of Oregon Representatives “Rickrolled” a House session.