Though most of us are far away from the stately chime of the carillon at Goddard Chapel, my commitment to bring you all the finest in hymnody remains undiminished. While I will not be updating the actual music coming from the bell tower for the time being, I intend to continue to provide you with my hopefully insightful notes for the duration.
Richard Paul Astley (born 1966) is an English singer-songwriter of considerable renown. Born in Newton-le-Willows, he began his musical career as a choir boy at the age of ten. Throughout his education, he played drums in a number of bands. At the age of 22, he had his biggest and most enduring recording success which hit number one on the pop charts in 25 countries.
This song is very typical of the mid-1980s “pop” style, with strings, synthesizers, electronic drums and bass, and added vocals on the repeated refrains. While its lyrics are hardly profound, they are nonetheless appealing. The official video on YouTube has received over 669 million views.
In 2007, twenty years after its initial release, an internet prank emerged involving this song. “In a couple of weeks, about 13 million people had been tricked into watching [it]” according to the BBC. Mr. Astley told the Los Angeles Times that he believed that it was “just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it; that’s what’s brilliant about the Internet.”
This prank, known as “Rickrolling” (Rick being the shortened form of Richard and the name most associated with Mr. Astley as a singer) reached its peak around 2010 but is still prevalent, and you, my dear reader, have just become its latest victim. Please note the date and realize that you are in good company.
http://youtu.be/MRW7d7PIZ6U “Never Gonna Give You Up” sung by the Newfangled Four at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, 2019.
http://youtu.be/63qtYi1nwcs “Never Gonna Give You Up” played on the Floppotron, an instrument made up of 64 floppy disk drives, eight hard drives, and two flatbed scanners, controlled by computer via MIDI by varying the speeds of the electric motors. It was devised by and programmed by the Polish engineer Paweł Zadrożniak.
This April Fool’s joke brought to you by Music Director Thomas Dawkins, who does not (yet) possess a Floppotron. We hope it brought just a little levity to your day.