A-ha released Take On Me three times!
Norwegian Synth-Pop/New Wave band A-ha had incredible success with their debut album Hunting High and Low in 1985.
Three singles came from this album. The title track, The Sun Always Shines On T.V, and of course the unforgettable Take On Me.
Looking back, it may seem like this just worked straight out of the gate for the three Norwegian lads, shooting to fame instantly but it wasn’t actually a straight path to success.
Their lead single and by far biggest tune, Take On Me, wasn’t well received at first. Only once they re-recorded it and shot the memorable video did it become a worldwide hit.
But the story of Take On Me goes even further back than that. Written already before Morton Harket (vocals) had even joined the band, all they had was a riff. In fact, after hearing it, Morten decided to join the band.
The same happened when Andrew Wickham (A&R Warner Brothers) signed the band, he did it after hearing a rough version of Take On Me.
Unfortunately, Warner Brothers only had A-ha in the U.S., in the U.K., they were under WEA who made a budget video for Take On Me that didn’t work. The recording of the now classic tune wasn’t great either.
It was actually released twice without any success and the boys were devastated as they thought that Take On Me had gotten lost in record company politics.
Luckily, their American record label recognized this and after re-recording the tune, a new video was commissioned. This would prove to be the real difference maker as nothing like this had ever been done before.
Jeff Aeroff was the man responsible for making Take On Me, the video, happen. Back in the mid-80s, Jeff was the creative director at Warner Bros.
After getting the cutting-edge animators at the time involved, they settled on a technique called rotoscope where you’d first film real people, then draw on top of it.
This is an extremely time-consuming process where the team worked for 16 weeks to finish the animation.
The result was so good that Take On Me went to #1 the world over, very much because of the video and the rotation it got on MTV.
However, it can’t all have been down to the video as when the tune was released digitally twenty years later, it sold 1.5 million in the U.S. alone.
Back in the day, A-ha’s debut album sold 10 million copies. Since the enormously successful debut, A-ha kept releasing albums, but nothing they put out there lived up to the glory days when Take On Me was released for a third time.
A-ha tunes | Related pages
Take On Me
| Bm | E | A | D C#m |
We’re talking away, no, I don’t know what I’m to say,
| Bm | E | A | D C#m |
I’ll say it anyway, today’s another day to find you,