Article Lead Image

The original Rickroll video has been deleted from YouTube

Long live Rickroll.


Mike Fenn

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 17, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 10:43 pm CDT

One of the oldest, classic Internet memes has let us down and deserted us. 

The original music video for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” the basis for the Rickrolling bait-and-switch meme, has been blocked by YouTube in several countries, including the United States. The video was first uploaded by YouTube user cotter548 on May 15, 2007 and was temporarily taken down due to copyright disputes once before, in 2012.

In remembrance of the original video’s takedown, we present you with five memorable Rickrolling moments.

1) Rickrolling at Shea Stadium

During each home game, the New York Mets host an 8th inning “sing along” event. In 2008, fans flooded online ballots with requests for “Never Gonna Give You Up,” effectively Rickrolling a crowd of thousands in a stadium that, like the original video, has also since come down.

2) Rickrolling in London

In 2008, hundreds of pranksters descended upon the busy Liverpool Metro Station in London to perform an a capella version of “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

3) Rickrolling in Washington

In 2009, Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House, uploaded a video titled “Speaker Pelosi Presents Capitol cat Cam” to her official YouTube channel. The video was supposedly a behind-the-scenes look at the many cats roaming around Pelosi’s office, but cuts to “Never Gonna Give You Up” halfway through.

4) Church of Scientology gets Rickrolled

In 2009, large numbers of Anonymous launched Project Chanology, an organized protest against the Church of Scientology. In several cities, including Seattle, New York, and even London, crowds of protesters sang “Never Gonna Give You Up” outside of Scientology churches branches.

5) Rick Astley Rickrolls the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A float celebrating the animated program Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends made its way through Manhattan during the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Suddenly, its antics were interrupted when Rick Astley himself emerged from the float and personally Rickrolled not only the crowd of thousands, but also the millions of viewers watching from home.

The Rickrolling phenomenon never did give up, spawning everything from homages (from talents like comedian Reggie Watts and the entire cast of Mad Men) to actor Paul Rudd’s own brand of “Ruddrolling.” While the original video may be unavailable now, fortunately many copies of it remain on YouTube, both in whole and in part.

So, like it or not, YouTube, the Rickroll is never going to die. After all, we’ve been together for so long.

H/T Tubefilter / Photo via Rick Astley/Facebook



Share this article
*First Published: Jul 17, 2014, 6:12 pm CDT