Today, Rick Astley (no, not that song):
Talk about weird musical progressions. Here’s a guy with a legitimately powerful voice and true talent who just couldn’t escape from the cheesiness of the 80’s and his quasi-Howdy Doody appearance (in the US), but somehow managed to gain consistent worldwide notoriety because the internet decided trolling people with his songs was a fun time.
Also, can I mention here how weird it is that British musicians basically stopped being popular in the US once Oasis and the Spice Girls stopped being a thing? Seriously, that’s an actual observable trend. The 70’s and 80’s saw a veritable shitload of US hits by UK artists, but past 1990 it’s a bunch of known quantities, one-hit wonders and Seal. Shit, there wasn’t a single UK artist with a US hit for almost a decade at one point, and who broke that trend? Fucking James Blunt. It’s amazing; one of the major birthing grounds of rock, punk and new wave music, from the 90’s onward, gave us one hit wonders, pop acts, emo and Adele.
Anyway, back to the actual topic here, Astley dropped out of US recognition right after his second record, but he continued to be at least somewhat notable in Europe in general, though (by all indications) still not a major player until 1993, when he retired, probably because, frankly speaking, he had a family and his career was in enough of a downward swing that it wasn’t a bad time to step back. He made a minor comeback in 2002, basically kind of floated around for six years between touring and releasing a couple records, and then suddenly saw his career spike because of the internet making him into a joke, culminating in him winning an award for “Best Act Ever” at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008… and showing up at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade later that year to troll everyone I guess. Still, it’s kept him relevant far longer than you’d expect someone in his position to be relevant, and while (according to Wikipedia) dude only ended up making $12 for all that trolling, I mean, that’s more than I’ve made, so hats off to the man.