The ‘80s star told Classic Rock magazine that the former Black Sabbath singer was chatting to him during the height of his success, and made the impromptu offer.
“He said, ‘Are you over here playing?’, and I said, ‘No, we’re just doing promo,’” Astley recalled. “And then went, ‘If you want to put a band together, let me know. I’ve worked with all the greats.’ And I knew he had – he’d worked with some of the best guitar players on that planet.”
Osbourne’s wife Sharon was sitting nearby at the time, and according to Astley, she quickly intervened. “Sharon just leaned over and said, ‘Will you shut up, he doesn’t want to play with your long-haired, tattooed fucking monsters’,” Astley said.
“I was gobsmacked. The fact that he recognised me for one thing, but also because he thought he could put together the appropriate band for me to go out and play ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ with. But what a lovely man for doing it.”
In recent years, Astley has developed a habit of immersing himself into rock and indie culture. He has struck up an unlikely ongoing friendship with Dave Grohl, and has appeared on stage with Foo Fighters a number of times, including at Japan’s Summer Sonic festival in 2017 and at Club NME’s event at London’s Moth Club in 2019.
More recently, Astley has made headlines by playing shows with Blossoms, playing entire sets of Smiths covers. The first time they did this was at London’s O2 Kentish Town Forum in 2021, playing ‘Panic’ and ‘This Charming Man’, before playing full shows in London and Manchester, and re-convening at this year’s Glastonbury for a crowd-pleasing secret set.
“I can’t tell you how much I love doing this,” Astley told NME. “I know it’s sacrilege and they should hang the lot of us on the line for doing it, but I also just don’t care.”
In September, Astley settled a months-long lawsuit with American rapper Yung Gravy over the use of his song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ in Gravy’s 2022 single ‘Betty (Get Money)’. Astley had sued on the grounds of his vocals being imitated on the song without authorisation.
Last week (October 13), Astley released his ninth studio album, ‘Are We There Yet?’, reaching number two in the UK Albums Chart on its first week.