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Summary:

On April 1, Rickrolling became Public Enemy No. 1 to those devoted to serious Internet browsing. Since it’s always best to understand one’s enemy — and since tracking the evolution of this meme is a challenge worth undertaking — we thus present: Rickrolling: A Timeline 1969: […]

On April 1, Rickrolling became Public Enemy No. 1 to those devoted to serious Internet browsing. Since it’s always best to understand one’s enemy — and since tracking the evolution of this meme is a challenge worth undertaking — we thus present:

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Rickrolling: A Timeline

1969: First message is sent via ARPANET (precursor of the Internet).

1987: Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up hits Number 1 in the United Kingdom.

2005: YouTube lauches online.


June 20, 2006
: First appearance of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up video (as dubbed from VH1’s Pop-Up Video) appears on YouTube, uploaded by user belgianpassion. (As of April 2008, it has been viewed nearly 1.2 million times.)

March 29, 2007: The launch of the first official trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV. When heavy site traffic makes the video unavailable, a user on the Internet board 4chan changes the GTAIV link to the video for Never Gonna Give You Up. The Encyclopedia Dramatica pinpoints this as the first use of the Rickroll.

May 2007: “Rick Rolling” first begins to appear in Google Trends searches.

May 28, 2007: “Official” You’ve Been RickRoll’d! upload of Never Gonna Give You Up appears online, courtesy of YouTube user YouGotRickRolled. As of April 2008, it has reached nearly 9 million views.

June 15, 2007: Wigantoday.net declares that “the Astley backlash is beginning.” Rickrolling is thus officially here to stay.

January 25, 2008: RickRolling the Baby is uploaded.

March 17, 2008: NextNewNetworks’ Tim Shey is Rickrolled live by Rocketboom’s Kenyatta Cheese.

March 24, 2008: The New York Times covers Rickroll in full.

March 28, 2008: LA Times’ David Sarno humanizes the Rickroll when he interviews Rick Astley. Astley considers the meme “hilarious.”

April 1, 2008: Every featured video on the front page of YouTube is a Rickroll.

???, The Future: We look back and wonder, why?

  1. A few more classics for you:

    • September 29, 2007, when RadioheadLP7.com promised it would offer the first ever live stream of In Rainbows but instead, when the countdown went to zero the Astley video appeared. Followed by the message: “How to RICKROLL 21,232 people at once. REAL LP7 coming soon!”

    • The prank rickroll reported falsely by the NYT as taking place during an actual Eastern Washington women’s basketball game http://www.khq.com/Global/story.asp?S=8063968&nav=menu438_1

    • The February 10, 2007 Seattle rickrolling of Scientology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHpjcZNM8_k

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  2. And another Astley moment that helped to bring back the song and needs to get some credit for the Rickroll:

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  3. You left out the ultimate RickRoll:
    http://danecooksdisease.org/

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  4. [...] the main page to video of Mr. Astley. In celebration of what might become the biggest meme to date, NewTeeVee has traced the history of the Rickroll all the way back to it’s roots. May 28, 2007: “Official” You’ve Been RickRoll’d! upload of Never Gonna Give You Up appears [...]

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  5. Wow. This is a beautiful, beautiful history. Thanks, everyone :-D

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  6. [...] detailed timeline is [...]

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  7. Well apparently, Rick Astley isn’t the only former singer celeb being rolled. MC Hammer has now fallen victim to the craze, as people are now getting “HammerRolled”.

    A website located at http://HammerRolled.com explains this version of the good ‘ole Rick Roll.

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  8. [...] RickRolling – when someone puts a link on website to something, but it actually takes you to a music video of Rick Astley’s ‘78 classic “Never Gonna Give You Up”. On April Fools day YouTube RickRolled its users by linking all of the featured videos to the Rick Astley video, resulting in over 9 million views. For complete understanding of this internet meme check the timeline. [...]

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  9. [...] Meme’s Enduring Appeal Mario is like the R.E.M. of Internet memes. While most memes Rickroll out of nowhere, take over our collective consciousness, only to evaporate almost as quickly, [...]

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