Rick Astley Performed A Complete Set Of The Smiths Classics At Glastonbury Festival

26 June 2023 | 9:59 am | Mary Varvaris

“I know it’s sacrilege, and they should hang the lot of us on the line for doing it, but I also just don’t care."

Rick Astley

Rick Astley (Source: Supplied)

Who would have thought that Rick Astley would perform a set of The Smiths classics with British pop band Blossoms? Anyone at Worthy Farm, Pilton, England, might have seen it coming, as Astley randomly played the drums and sang to the AC/DC classic, Highway To Hell, earlier that day. You can check that out below.

Joining Blossoms on the Woodsies stage for a secret Glastonbury set on Friday (24 June), the unlikely pairing (who have performed a Smiths set another two times, The Guardian reports) took to the stage 25 minutes late but still put on a memorable, joyous show through The Smiths’ acclaimed catalogue.

All the hits were on the set, including This Charming Man, Bigmouth Strikes Again, Hand In Glove, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, Panic, How Soon Is Now, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and more. You can watch footage from the set below.

In September 2021, former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr said the initial Blossoms and Rick Astley collaboration was “funny and horrible at the same time.”

In a Glastonbury pre-show interview with NME, Astley responded, “If we burn in hell for doing it, then we’ll have to live with that. 

"The audiences that we’ve done it for in the past have always got it, got involved and loved it. You’re either a Smiths fan or you’re not, and if you are, then it’s very hallowed ground. Learning the songs reaffirms how great but individual they were as a band.”

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He also noted, “I know it’s sacrilege, and they should hang the lot of us on the line for doing it, but I also just don’t care. I’m 57. I’ve talked it over with the guys from Blossoms many times and said, ‘If at any moment any of you decide that you don’t want to do this, just holler’. They’re in the middle of their career, four albums in. I’ve got nothing to lose. You can hang me; you can do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter.”

In February 2020, Rick Astley was the special guest for Norwegian outfit a-ha on their Australian tour. Reviewer Cyclone Wehner described Astley as “revelatory” and added, “Though Astley's show is largely upbeat, his '90s R&B ballad Cry For Help is popular – punters waving illuminated phones in the air. Inevitably, Astley wraps with Never Gonna Give You Up.”