Rick Astley Sues Yung Gravy Over 'Never Gonna Give You Up' Voice Imitation
Music

Rick Astley Sues Yung Gravy Over 'Never Gonna Give You Up' Voice Imitation

Rick Astley is literally coming to get that money from Yung Gravy.

According to court documents obtained by People, the '80s pop star filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the "Betty (Get Money)" rapper, alleging that the 2022 track “conspired to include a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation" of his voice on his 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up."

In the multimillion-dollar suit, Astley's lawyer says that Gravy — real name Matthew Hauri — joined up with vocal imitator Nick Seeley and producers like Dillon Francis to "capitalize off of the immense popularity and goodwill” of Astley, causing "immense damage" to his client's image and likeness.

"The public could not tell the difference," the filing claims. "The imitation of Mr. Astley's voice was so successful the public believed it was actually Mr. Astley singing."

While the "extremely protective" Astley doesn't hold the musical rights for the RickRoll anthem, his lawyer states that owners Stock Aitken Waterman only authorized Gravy to interpolate the track, meaning any sonic element used on the new track can't be an exact replication of what's on the original song. The document also mentions that Gravy was explicitly denied permission to directly sample "Never Gonna Give You Up," including Astley's "distinct" vocals, which were supposed to be incorporated in another collaboration that since been shelved.

“A license to use the original underlying musical composition does not authorize the stealing of the artist’s voice in the original recording. So, instead, they resorted to theft of Mr. Astley’s voice without a license and without agreement," Astley's lawyer continued, prior to citing Gravy's August 2022 interview with Billboard, where he talks about how they "basically remade the whole song" with "a different singer and instruments," though "it was all really close because it makes it easier legally."

Gravy has yet to comment on the suit. In the meantime, compare "Betty" to "Never Gonna Give You Up" for yourself below.

Photos via Getty / Pete Still / Redferns & Dia Dipasupil

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