Watch: Rick Astley Performs The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’ Better Than Morrissey

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Rick Astley performs on stage in London with the band, Blossoms.
Risk Astley: Like Morrissey without all the racism.  (YouTube)

For years now, Bay Area music fans have been wrestling with The Morrissey Problem. This philosophical quandary is best described as the state of being desirous of listening to music by Morrissey and The Smiths, while simultaneously feeling thoroughly repelled by the singer’s poor treatment of his own fans. In recent years, the condition has been further exacerbated by Morrissey’s perplexing (and often deeply offensive) personal viewpoints.

The Morrissey Problem has been taunting the Bay Area for almost a decade now. It first took hold between December 2011 and April 2013 when the singer failed to show up to concerts fans were looking forward to at the Fox Theater, Davies Symphony Hall (twice), the Regency Ballroom, and the Warfield.

Then, in 2018, Morrissey made things even worse by giving an interview to his own website in which he expressed a variety of opinions best described as abhorrent. These included assertions that Hitler was leftwing, all halal meat is made by supporters of ISIS, and that political correctness was preventing people of color from being arrested for crimes they had committed (???).

It should come as some relief then that this week a remedy to The Morrissey Problem finally presented itself. It arrived via footage from a Sept. 13 show at London’s Kentish Town Forum, in which an impassioned rendition of Smiths’ classic “This Charming Man” was performed. The vocals were on point, the pompadour was in place, the audience sang along, and the mood was positively cathartic. How did this miracle happen, you ask? The answer—*triple checks notes*—is Rick Astley.

Yup. Rickrolling, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” scourge of YouTube, Rick Astley. But before you balk, just take a look at this footage.

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Astley joined Blossoms at the end of their headlining set at the 2,300-person venue to perform both “This Charming Man” and “Panic.” It was a small taster of what’s to come next month when Astley and the English indie pop quintet join forces for two full sets of Smiths covers. The first will take place in Morrissey’s hometown, Manchester, at the Albert Hall on Oct. 8. The following night, they’ll be back at the Forum in London.

Blossoms also released a sneak preview on their YouTube channel:

Needless to say, the internet was very pleased with this development.

The campaign to get a Rick Astley-fronted Smiths tour to California starts now.