Things They Told Me #6: Rick Astley




What a gent Rick Astley turned out to be when I met him in 2018 to chat about his Beautiful Life album. Here's what the Lancashire lad had to say about being an unlikely popstar in the SAW days, what makes him cry and why he's always nice to fans


On his most embarrassing career moments…

Let's face it, if you look back at some of those videos I did in the 1980s I think pretty much all of them are embarrassing. That's OK because I think every man in his 50s would be embarrassed if you showed him a video of what he was like when he was 21, it's just mine are a bit more public.

On if he ever cries…

I cry all the time. I'm surprised I've not shed a few tears over something today, to be honest. I cry at lyrics and songs and movies and there are bits of classical music that get me every time.

On being moody…

I can be a bit negative and miserable, otherwise known as being Northern. But my wife being Scandinavian, she’s always so positive. Somewhere we meet in the middle.

On being approached by fans…

If you just want to have a quiet dinner with your wife, you can’t do it but you also can’t really moan at people for wanting to interrupt you. I’ve seen some people go ‘Can you just leave us alone?’ but not me. I stand up and have a photo with them. I kind of think they’ve got a right to ask because you put yourself in that position and you have a lovely life because they bought your records. There’s a trade off. Sometimes I think ‘I just need a night off from all this’ but you can’t do that. If you’re in the middle of a proper pop career it’s just part of the deal.

On his comeback…

I’m not daft enough to think it will last forever. It will have its natural course, then at some point I’ll either get bored of it or people will say ‘We’re done now, Rick’. Either way it’ll be fine. I’m just enjoying the moment.

On stories about him being hired as tea boy by Stock Aitken Waterman…

I actually signed on to make a record but then they got massively busy and it worked out for the best really because I got to hang around the studios watching them work. I made a lot of tea, made a lot of coffee, went and got a lot of sandwiches, but at the same time I tried to be a sponge taking it all in.

On being an unlikely popstar…

I looked at other people who were popstars and thought ‘I’m just not that’. I looked at Simon Le Bon and went ‘I’m certainly not that guy’. I loved Duran Duran, don’t get me wrong, but I thought ‘I’m not gonna be hanging off the front of any yachts in the Caribbean’.

On screaming fans…

I remember going to a Bros gig once, just to check them out and see if they could do it live, and I was like ‘My ears are going to be ruined for the rest of my life because there are 10,000 screaming girls around me’. That never happened at one of my gigs. I had devoted fans, and I still do, but I never had that screaming mayhem. I don’t think I’m a sex symbol in any way, shape or form. I’m not the ugliest person in the world but I’m not a pin-up in the conventional Brad Pitt/Justin Timberlake way.


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