Our Top 10 Rick Astley songs list looks back at the songs of an 80s artist who started his musical career at a high note with a few big tracks only to disappear for more than two decades. He is the hitmaker of songs like “Never Gonna Give You Up,” “Whenever You Need Somebody,” and “Together Forever.” He later returned to the music business but definitely did not pick from where he left off.
Growing up, Rick Astley was not quite musically inclined; in fact, he says he was dragged into the choir and into school plays just like anyone who could half sing. Although he struggled for a while, the music gradually found a place in his life as, by the age of 15, he would start out his career as a drummer for bands- when his mates realized he could sing.
Rick Astley has since had a remarkably successful career, despite his extended break from the limelight. He retired at 27, a long-deserved break, as he struggled with anxiety from flying and an intense performing schedule. The English songwriter began his adult life as a pop star, and it started taking a toll on him drove him to the wall before the decision to take time out. He numerously turned down offers to perform his ‘80s songs during his long break but made an exception in 2009 for the Here & Now tour. Later in 2010, he released “Lights Out” as a digital download after touring with the iconic Peter Kay. I would refer to the song as the warm-up for his comeback album 50, which he released 6 years later.
Also, during the retirement period, Rick Astley added a radio host title to his name. By 2012, he was hosting a show on Magic and occasionally as a radio DJ and podcaster. He returned to the music business in 2016 and is still making hits. Here are some of Astley all-time gems from the 80s and a few from his comeback albums;
#10 – Everyone of Us
The message behind this song is quite thoughtful and straightforward. The 2019 release for his The Best of Me album is a celebration of everyone. It acknowledges that each of us has something to offer, even though it may not always seem so. It is a humbling message from Astley appreciating that there are people who get to do valid jobs but don’t get acknowledged or awarded enough. Like several other songs he wrote, he produced and played all the instruments himself.
#9- Keep Singing
The song “Keep Singing” was a comeback single after his 23 years retirement that introduced us to the more personal side of Rick Astley. It is a short story about his life, the struggle of watching his parents ‘lose it’- as he called it in an interview- and finding joy he felt when he sang in the choir and school musicals. How he found a home in music and was able to forget everything else. The same love for music brought him back in 2016, with this song as the first and lead single from his album 50. He wrote, sung, and produced the song, which like most of his other songs, made it on the UK Singles Chart –this time at number 127. He later released a ‘Reimagined’ version of the same song for his The Best of Me album.
#8 – Angels on My Side
Another digital download release from the songwriter was released in 2016 as the second single from the 50 albums. He wrote and produced the song himself and later released a ‘Reimagined’ version for The Best of Me album. The music was also performed in the G minor key. It has charted in several countries like Hungary and Belgium.
#7 – Cry For Help
This song was another one of the many songs that Astley would write. However, with the Help of the late Rob Fisher on this one. It was part of his Free album (the first album away from the Stock-Aitken-Waterman pop production team). The song- written in 1991- was inspired by what Astley would later term in an interview as ‘People talking about their feelings. He felt that ever since the song, people opened up more and were able to express their feelings.
The song also made It to the chart, settling at an impressive #7 in the UK. This achievement earned Astley a title as the first male solo artist whose first eight singles got to the British Top 10, but his last major hit. It was then that he retired from active music to spend time with his wife and daughter as he genuinely enjoyed family life.
#6 – Take Me to Your Heart
Another Stock-Aitken-Waterman production, “Take Me to Your Heart,” was released in 1988 as the second single of the album Hold Me in Your Arms. It was one of the songs by Astley that made it to the UK Singles Chart- this time at number 8. It was also a hit in several European countries like Germany, Greece, and Spain. However, unlike most of his previous singles, the song never got a chance in the US. The song raised some controversy on claims of plagiarism. The issue was raised by Astley’s then production team accusing the American band Inner City of plagiarizing the song’s synthesized backing for “Big Fun.”
#5 – Together Forever
“Together Forever” was a follow-up single on his first hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The love song was written by the British Stock Production team, Aitken and Waterman, and had a similar sound to its predecessor. The love song also topped the US charts; however, “Together Forever” got stuck on number 2. It was outshined by Kylie Minogue’s “I Should Be So Lucky,” written by the same production team. After the tremendous success of his first song, Astley was surprised that the follow-up made it that far. The song featured in the sitcom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is in “The Aluminum Monster vs. Fatty McGoo,” 2007 episode.
#4- Hold Me In Your Arms
Rick Astley wrote and performed “Hold Me in Your Arms” as the third single from his album by the same title. Like most of his other singles at the time, this song also appeared in the UK Singles Chart as number 10 in less than a month from its release date. He also made a “Reimagined” version of the song in his Best of Me Album, featuring a new piano arrangement.
#3- She Wants to Dance With Me
The song –released in 1988– was the first hit written and recorded by Rick Astley himself. It is the lead single of his second album, Hold Me in Your Arms. It made its way on the UK Singles Chart at number 16 and stayed there for 11 weeks, with its highest position being number 6. Although the song did not attain his first song’s success, it was a great accomplishment for his songwriting career. He later performed the song at the Grammy’s but with a slight twist on the lyrics.
#2- Whenever You Need Somebody
The song “Whenever You Need Somebody” has had Its ups and downs. It was originally written by O’Chi Brown and released in 1985. However, Its reception then was not quite as good as when It was later covered by Astley in 1987. This song continued the success of Astley’s debut song, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” topping charts in more than seven European countries. The singer would, later on, release a “Reimagined” version of the same song for his album The Best of Me in 2019.
#1- Never Gonna Give You Up
Rick Astley released his debut song, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” in 1987. The then 21-year-old took the world by storm as it topped charts in more than 25 countries, including Australia, Belgium, and even the US. It became an instant hit and introduced Rick’s unique romantic voice to the world. Decades later, the song still managed to shine as the song you would hear when you got Rickrolled. The internet craze sparked curiosity in users and led most to the song’s video on YouTube. The frenzy earned from an internet prank was indeed a great deal as it reached the song a spot on YouTube’s Billion Views lists more than 20 years after its first release.
Top 10 Rick Astley Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021