In March 2013, followers of the Paradise Garage Bot were baffled. The Twitter account, which sends out links to singles that sainted DJ Larry Levan once spun at the hallowed New York City club, had just posted Rick Astley’s infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up”, which hit #1 in the U.S. in March 1988—six months after the Paradise Garage closed its doors in September 1987. Was this automatic bot Rickrolling its followers all of a sudden?
No. It was simply doing its job. Before “Never Gonna Give You Up” turned Astley into an international sensation—and way before Internet pranksters helped him rack up nearly 140 million hits on YouTube—the flame-haired Brit was just another new artist whose promo single was given to Levan in hopes that he might play it on the club’s custom-made soundsystem. And in the ‘80s, no DJ had the ability to make a singer a star quite like Larry Levan.