"With me it's like song one -- Boom!" Zoom. "I was trying to create something you could sing along with in the chorus.
It was his 1987 multi-platinum debut album, "Whenever You Need Somebody", which went from radio earworm status to internet prank sensation.
35 years have passed since Astley made his debut. BMG will mark the occasion with a digital and two-CD set. It includes the original album, B-sides, remixes, and Astley’s own reimagined singles.
Astley was just 20 and 21 when he recorded "Whenever You Need Somebody" together with Stock Aitken Waterman (a songwriting and record-production trio that had previously created songs for Dead or Alive and Bananarama).
Astley, a native of a small northern England town, said that he was happy to be in a professional studio and make noises with men who had hit records. Astley knew little about recording. "I was ignorant, I suppose, and naive."
"Never Gonna Give You up" spent two weeks at No. 1. Billboard Hot 100 and "Together Forever", spent a week at the top of the chart. It also reached the top 10 with "It Would Take A Strong Strong Man" as well as "She Wants To Dance With Me". It fits the '80s-vibing dance soundscape perfectly, if you listen to it again.
He would release more albums, then leave the business for many decades and then reemerge in the strong albums "50", in 2016, and "Beautiful Life," in 2018. He was plagued by rick-rolling when a link promised on a website turns up to be an Astley clip -- but he made his peace with it.
Astley will be joining Salt-N-Pepa and New Kids on the Block for the 57-date U.S. arena tour "Mixtape 2022". Astley credits "Whenever You Need Somebody" with making his career possible.
"Gratitude is the overwhelming factor. It's that simple, if I'm being honest. Because I was able to make a pop recording in 1987, I have had a very comfortable life."