Rick Astley has admitted he walked away from the music industry in the early 1990s because he sound being a pop star “unnatural”.
The singer shot to fame in 1987 thanks to his Stock Aitken Waterman penned-and-produced hit Never Gonna Give You Up – which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
A follow-up from his debut album ‘Whenever You Need Somebody’, Together Forever, was also a US No. 1, but after his fourth album ‘Body and Soul’ was released in 1993 he stepped away from the industry.
Speaking about the decision on Channel 5’s ‘Stock Aitken Waterman: Legends of Pop’, the musician – who returned to the top of the UK charts in 2016 with his comeback LP ‘50’ – said: “I don’t think being a pop star is a very natural thing for anybody but some people, some people manage to do it and some people are born to do it, perhaps. I don’t think I was really.
“I had developed a fear of flying, I didn’t want to go and promote records. I didn’t want to do any of it, really. “
He added: “I was super lucky that I had a massive amount of success in a very short period of time, somebody gave me a truckload of money for it and I could say ‘OK, I’m done!'”
Looking back on his time at The Hit Factory, Rick told the June 2022 issue of RETROPOP’s cover feature how working with Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman helped him flourish into the star we see today.
Recalling signing on with Pete on a Youth Opportunities Programme, Rick smiles: “It worked out really well, because I got to do an apprenticeship.
“I got to sit in, go and get the sandwiches, make the tea, reset the desk every morning, like all the other kids did,” he notes. “But I’m doing it for producers and engineers, and we’re making No. 1 records.
“I was dual. I was an artist one minute, and the next minute it was like, ‘Go and get the tea, Rick. Go and put the kettle on, will ya?’
“So, I sort of snuck into areas that gave me an apprenticeship you couldn’t possibly have had. All the other artists weren’t around to see that.”