Rick Astley once "stalked" The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke around Manchester after spotting him while out shopping.

The 57-year-old pop star - who has covered The Smiths songs as part of a collaboration with Blossoms - was a huge fan of the band when he was growing up in Lancashire and he's revealed he got a thrill when he saw Andy walking around the city while he was out buying records.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Rick confessed his love of The Smiths started from a very young age and became an obsession. He explained: "My big brother Mike introduced me to them, and I went a bit nuts about them.

"The fact they were from my nearby city, where I’d go and buy records, blew my mind – a friend and I stalked Andy Rourke around town once, amazed he was real. They still sound so unique, with this very English way of singing that only a few other bands, like Pulp, do well."

Andy died in May aged 59 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

After initially covering The Smiths tracks with Blossoms back in 2021, Astley's collaboration drew criticism from former bandmember Johnny Marr who described it as both "funny and horrible at the same time". Marr has since made up with Blossoms, but Astley has admitted he decided against approaching the musician at a recent gig when they were both on the line-up.

He added to the Guardian: "I wouldn’t talk to him because it’s really strange and weird. Really, nobody should cover the Smiths, but all this came from a real love of the songs."

However, the collaboration did win the approval of The Smiths frontman Morrissey who heaped praise on them after they performed at the Glastonbury festival this summer.

In a post on his website, Morrissey wrote: "My sincere thanks to Rick and the Blossoms for their recent recentness. Anything that generates interest in that tired old Smiths warhorse is testimony to the wallop it packed. THANK YOU!"