Rick Astley, whose 1987 worldwide hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” is an enduring cultural landmark, has sued rapper Yung Gravy. Astley’s multimillion dollar lawsuit claims that use of an imitation of his voice on the single “Betty (Get Money)” was not authorized.
Astley filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles. The suit claims only the instrumentals on the song were licensed, and that Astley’s distinctive voice is a resource that needs to be carefully managed.
The legal papers claim Yung Gravy and his producers, including Dillon Francis, “conspired to include a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation of Mr. Astley’s voice throughout the song.” He’s also suing Nick Seeley (aka Popnick), the vocal impersonator.
Astley claims permission was never granted to use or impersonate his voice. The legal documents claim Astley was looking for a way to incorporate his voice in a future project in collaboration with another artist, a project that now is ruined.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” was a worldwide No. 1 hit. “Betty” has been Yung Gravy’s most successful song, reaching gold status in the US.