Yo Ho! Nightrider here!
We’ll take an interesting look o the legacy of Norwegian band A-ha. Yes, we all sang along to their immortal classic “Take On Me” as well as marvel at what is called one of the greatest music videos of the 1980s. However, they are still a performing band after all these years; they still tour and make albums. Simply put, they are still a global hit. So now let’s look at some of their history and check out a few hits that are NOT “Take On Me.”
A-ha formed in Oslo in 1982 by vocalist Morten Harken, guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and keyboard/guitarist Magne Furuholmen. They left Norway to make it big in London. A-ha recruited John Ratcliff to be a producer and then manager; Ratcliff introduced the band to their future international business manager and liaison to Warner Brothers’ head Los Angeles office Terry Slater.
Their first single, “Take On Me,” was released in 1984 with little results in the UK. After hearing this, Warner Brothers decided to invest in A-ha and let them re-record “Take On Me” as well as investing in a music video. The rest is history.
What needs more detail is that the famous version of “Take On Me” was re-released in A-ha’s debut album Hunting High and Low on 1 June 1985. Another chart hit, “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.,” met with similar success, becoming one of A-ha’s most recognizable hits worldwide. The video of “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” is the story continuation of the famous “Take On Me” video with a sad ending: the animated man cannot live in the real world and returns to his comic book, leaving his love behind. Another video to another song in Hunting High and Low, “Train of Thought” serves as a final continuation of the story. Although not a US hit, the video of “Train of Thought” won several awards and a nomination at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.
After their worldwide success of Hunting High and Low, A-ha made several more albums between 1986 and 1994. Their second album, Scoundrel Days, departed synthpop for alternative rock. Their singles “I’ve Been Losing You,” “Cry Wolf,” “Maybe, Maybe,” and “Manhattan Skyline” propelled Scoundrel Days to international success although the album was not as successful as their debut album.
After their albums Stay on These Roads, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and Memorial Beach, A-ha went on an unofficial hiatus to pursue solo projects.
But they made the first comeback in 1998 and eventually made their sixth album Minor Earth Major Sky in 2000 followed by albums Lifelines (2002), Analogue (2005), and Foot of the Mountain (2009) before saying farewell in 2010. Then they made their second comeback in 2015 with their tenth album Cast in Steel. Since then, they have been touring around the world with nothing but success. Their acoustic version of “Take On Me” from their MTV Unplugged special was used in the movie Deadpool 2 and catapulted A-ha to a new generation of fans. As of late, they are still on tour.
A-ha is considered a one-hit-wonder band in the US but I disagree since they made other hits that made the Top Billboard charts.