Like a comet racing across the sky above the Atlantic Ocean, Rick Astley made his way from his native England to the American airwaves in 1987 with his chart-topping debut single, "Never Gonna Give You Up."
That song topped the charts in 25 countries, sold 500,000 copies in the United States to earn the gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, and finished at No. 4 on the year-end charts here in 1988.
It was the first of seven top-40 singles for Astley ("Together Forever," "It Would Take a Strong Strong Man," "She Wants to Dance with Me," "Giving Up on Love," "Cry for Help" and "Hopelessly" being the others) here in America.
You can hear all of those songs and more firsthand when Astley performs at House of Blues in Boston on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26 for the all-ages show and are available at www.houseofblues.com/boston.
He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1989, but lost to Tracy Chapman. During the period between his debut release and the fifth single from his debut album, "Whenever You Need Somebody," Astley outsold every artist in the world.
He sold 40 million records worldwide when he abruptly retired from the music business in 1993 at the age of 27 to start a family. He returned to the music industry with his 2001 album "Keep it Turned On," toured for the first time in 14 years in 2004 and has continued recording and touring over the past decade-plus.
Though he spent time in the middle of the last decade with other 1980s acts, such as Boy George and Belinda Carlisle, he has been touring solo for the past year or so after the release of last year's album, "50." (The album title is a nod to the fact that Astley turned 50 in 2016.) Albums don't sell as much as they used to, but "50" debuted atop the album chart in England, his first No. 1 album there since "Whenever You Need Somebody."
On his current tour, he's playing all of his biggest hits and throwing in some fun covers as well, including "When I Fall in Love," "Uptown Funk," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "Highway to Hell."
Sounds more like a trip down memory lane to me.