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Gig has eighties pop star tingling

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Eighties music heart-throb Rick Astley revealed he was looking forward to his live appearance in Shropshire this summer, saying he still gets a "tingle" from performing.

Eighties music heart-throb Rick Astley revealed he was looking forward to his live appearance in Shropshire this summer, saying he still gets a "tingle" from performing.

The chart-topper who sold 40 million albums quit the business 15 years ago, when he was at his peak, and has turned down dozens of big-money offers since.

But he has been coaxed back into the limelight as part of the Magic of the Eighties tour, which arrives in Shrewsbury Quarry next month.

"I've lived with the money I made in the 1980s and I'm not the richest guy in our street," he says. "I define myself now as a dad with a Land Rover and a nice house and a nice, comfortable life."

But Astley, now 42, admits there is nothing quite like the feeling of performing in front of a live audience. "I get a bit of a tingle," he said.

The tale of Rick Astley is classic rags to riches. The soul singer, who was born in 1966 at Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, was spotted by record producer Pete Waterman, who offered him work as a recording studio tea boy.

Within two years, he was at the top of the UK and US charts.Astley had played the club circuit as a drummer with soul band FBI.

In 1985, he caught the eye of Waterman, part of the prolific Stock Aitken Waterman hit factory, who groomed him for success.

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Rick AstleyHis first solo release was Never Gonna Give You Up, which was released in 1987; it shot to the top of the UK charts, spending five weeks at number one and becoming the year's highest-selling single. Twelve further top 30 hit singles followed.

Astley's debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody, also reached number one in the UK, and the hits continued.

His second single, the title track of the album, reached number three; a cover of Nat King Cole's When I Fall In Love got to number two; Together Forever reached the same number; while She Wants to Dance with Me peaked at number six.

Other hits followed including Hold Me in Your Arms, Take Me To Your Heart, Giving Up on Love and Cry for Help.

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Astley's success was not confined to the UK. Never Gonna Give You Up also reached number one in the US while Together Forever also topped the UK chart and he was pipped for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of the Year by Tracy Chapman.

He parted company with Stock Aitken Waterman but continued to achieve success, Cry For Help reaching the Top 10 in both the UK and the US. His global record sales are estimated at 40 million.

But at the height of his fame, Astley walked away. He decided to devote time to his family and take a break from the music industry.

Producer Pete Waterman says: "Rick walked away right at the height. People look at other artists like Simply Red and say they were big, but he outsold them two to one."

Astley remained out of the spotlight for much of the 1990s and early 2000s but returned in 2002 with Keep It Turned On.

In 2005, he released the album Portrait, covering soul classics like Vincent, Nature Boy and Close to You.

More recently, in 2007, Astley became the subject of an internet viral campaign, in which an estimated 25 million web users were tricked into watching the video for Never Gonna Give You Up by posting it under the name of other popular video titles. The practice is now known as Rickrolling.

He has continued to tour in recent years and fans are invited to lobby him for a new record by clicking on a website link that reads: "Click here to help us persuade Rick to make a new record."

He signed up to the extremely successful '80s tour called The Here & Now Tour in October 2007 and gets top billing by performing the songs that made him famous.

  • Rick Astley will be topping the bill at the concert on July 12 at Shrewsbury Quarry. Other performers include Toyah Wilcox, Carol Decker with her Shropshire band T’Pau and Bananarama.
  • Tickets, priced at £32.50 for adults, £20 for children aged five to 15, and free for under fives, are on sale from IML Concerts on (01603) 660444, the Midland Box Office on 0870 320 7000, or online at www.imlconcerts.co.uk. They are also available from The Music Hall in Shrewsbury, Oswestry Mile End tourist information centre, and Oakengates Theatre in Telford.

By Andy Richardson

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