The English singer also performed his 1987 classic “Never Gonna Give You Up”
Rick Astley offered a surprisingly poignant cover of Olivia Rodrigo‘s hit “Drivers License” for BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room over the weekend. Performing with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a pair of back-up singers, Astley showcased the 2021 single with some serious emotional gravity.
Astley also performed his own 1987 mega-hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which he and the orchestra mashed up with Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You.” The set was recorded live at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London.
Astley’s most recent LP, Are We There Yet?, arrived in October via BMG. He teased the album with a performance on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival 2023 last summer, making his debut at the festival.
The musician is no stranger to surprisingly takes on popular songs. In 2021, Astley covered the Smiths’ “This Charming Man” at a show in London. A video from the concert was brought to attention of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who quipped on Twitter, “This is both funny and horrible at the same time.” Later that year, Astley and indie-pop band Blossoms — with whom he’d been on tour — performed two Smiths tribute shows in London and Manchester.
In 2016, Astley told Rolling Stone he’s happy to confound people’s expectations of him. “I do like doing that,” he said. “Age has made me think I have to stop giving a shit what anybody else thinks and do exactly what I want to do, so one day I’m going to do a gig in Manchester where I’m going to sing [all] Smiths songs because I absolutely love the Smiths. I’ll probably get lynched for it, but I just want to do it. Why not?”