The A-Train Gets Rickrolled

University of Oregon singing group takes it underground.

By Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010  |  Updated 2:13 PM EDT
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The A-Train Gets Rickrolled

Teigh Bowen (right) and fellow "On the Rocks" singer Jonah Seitz.

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We may never give Rick Astley up.

The art of "Rickrolling" -- substituting mistitled videos on the Internet with Astley's 80's hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" -- reached its peak sometime in the summer of 2008, but the practice lives on underground.

Now that the online version of the prank is too easy, real connoisseurs like their video pranking live and in person.

To that end, over a dozen University of Oregon students Rickrolled a New York City subway car in March.

The school's all-male a capella group "On the Rocks," treated passengers on the uptown A train from Chambers Street to 14th Street to a delightful four-minute beat-box accompanied version of "Give You Up" on March 23, as the students toured New York for Spring Break.

And it was a spur of the moment decision.

"Before we got in the subway, somebody said, let's Rick Roll the train," 21-year-old UofO senior and tenor Teigh Bowen told NBCNewYork.com.  "We learned the song last year, because of Internet fame, and it was just a funny thing we started to do in our concerts. We'd say, 'This next song is a slow John Mayer ballad' or something, and the crowd would get a kick out of it."

The real kick we get out of watching the video is the blasé expressionlessness on the faces of most of the passengers in the subway car -- typical New Yorkers, unfazed by anything. Although one person did ask if they had a hat to pass around for money.

"We thought it was hilarious because so many people were acting like there was nothing going on. There was this one lady that walked by and raised her eyebrow and just kept on walking," said Bowen, a psychology major, originally from Portland.

"Most of us are from Oregon -- we're simple people here," he said.

The On The Rocks singers made the Rickroll even more flash-mobby by themselves acting like they were just going about a normal commute -- checking watches and cell phones, reading books -- as they sang.

The group is thinking about coming back to New York, whenever they can raise the money.

 

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