(via Songs Of Praise: Josie D'Arby visits Europe’s largest travelling funfair plus 70 years of Thomas the Tank Engine )

Watch on

On this day in music history: March 12, 1988 - “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on the same date, and topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on January 16, 1988. Written and produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman, it is the debut single and the first US chart topper for the British pop singer from Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, UK. Initially working at producers Stock, Aitken, and Waterman’s PWL Studios in London as an assistant engineer/“tea boy”, Waterman hears Astley sing and then offer him a chance to record himself. “Never Gonna Give You Up” is recorded on January 1, 1987 at PWL Studios in London. Released in the UK in early August of 1987, it is an instant smash. It tops the UK singles chart for five weeks, and becomes the biggest selling single of the year. His debut album “Whenever You Need Somebody” also debuts at number one and spins off five singles throughout the year. Off the back of its international success, the record is picked up for release in the US by RCA Records in late 1987. Much like when making his UK debut, US audiences initially assume that Astley is black, until the music video for the single begins airing. People are taken aback when they discover that deep, rich, soulful voice is actually coming from a thin white Englishman under six feet tall. Physical appearance aside, the song quickly becomes a big hit in dance clubs and quickly begins receiving radio play. Entering the Hot 100 at #71 on December 19, 1987, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. One of the most popular singles of the 80’s, “Never Gonna Give You Up” garners renewed interest and further notoriety on the internet in 2007 when it becomes the subject of a prank called “rickrolling”, involving misleading online links that redirect the person to the music video for “Give You Up”. “Never Gonna Give You Up” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.