No. You’re not being Rickrolled, but we are going to look at the special 35th-anniversary edition of Rick Astley’s debut album Whenever You Need Somebody.
As the legend goes, a young Astley was working as a tea boy or go-fer at the studio of the hit-making production trio Stock Aitken Waterman and soaking up as much knowledge as he could while waiting for his turn to make a record. Long before becoming a meme, the album’s lead single “Never Gonna Give You Up” catapulted the unassuming English singer to the #1 spot in 25 countries around the world – including the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia. And the rest is history.
While “Never Gonna Give You Up” has far and away become the song most synonymous with Rick Astley, the official music video having cracked over 1 billion views on YouTube, there were plenty of other hits on the album. The equally upbeat “Together Forever” took the top spot on the charts in the US and Canada in 1988, the smooth adult contemporary cut “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” also hit the top 10 in North America, and “Whenever You Need Somebody”, “My Arms Keep Missing You” and his cover of the old standard “When I Fall In Love” were all big hits in the UK.
Kids who weren’t born when the song was originally released in 1987 love it and listeners stream the song in droves unironically. Astley’s aw-shucks embrace of the internet phenomenon surrounding his signature hit has led to a career resurgence. His last two studio albums of original material, 50 in 2016 and Beautiful Life in 2018, both hit the Top 5 on the UK albums chart with 50 taking the top spot. He’s performed on-stage with the Foo Fighters, his The Smiths tribute shows set the internet on fire, he gets booked on festivals, and he’s currently out touring North America as part of the 57-date Mixtape Tour with his contemporaries New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue.
The Whenever You Need Somebody Deluxe Edition 2 CD set includes the 10 songs that were on the original release plus additional songs, newly reimagined versions as well as an entire disco of killer dance remixes and instrumentals. The tracklisting is below. Get yourself a copy here.
1. Never Gonna Give You Up
2. Whenever You Need Somebody
3. Together Forever
4. It Would Take A Strong Strong Man
5. The Love Has Gone
6. Don’t Say Goodbye
7. Slipping Away
8. No More Looking For Love
9. You Move Me
10. When I Fall In Love
11. My Arms Keep Missing You
12. I’ll Never Set You Free (7” Mix)
13. Just Good Friends
14. Never Gonna Give You Up (Pianoforte)
15. Together Forever (Reimagined)
16. Whenever You Need Somebody (Reimagined)
17. When I Fall In Love (Reimagined)
1. Never Gonna Give You Up (Phil Harding 12” Mix)
2. Together Forever (Lover’s Leap Remix)
3. My Arms Keep Missing You (The “Where’s The Harry” Remix)
4. Whenever You Need Somebody (XK 150 Mix)
5. My Arms Keep Missing You (Bruno’s Remix)
6. Never Gonna Give You Up (Cake Mix)
7. Whenever You Need Somebody (Lonely Hearts Mix)
8. My Arms Keep Missing You (No L Mix)
9. Never Gonna Give You Up (Escape From Newton Mix)
10. Together Forever (House Of Love Mix)
11. Whenever You Need Somebody (Rick Sets It Off Mix)
12. Never Gonna Give You Up (Instrumental)
13. It Would Take A Strong Strong Man (Instrumental)
14. Whenever You Need Somebody (Instrumental)