(L-R) Furuholmen, Waaktaar, and Harket: The Power Trio
that came from the North
Touch me, how can it be?
Believe me, the sun always shines on T.V.
— The Sun Always Shines On T.V.
a-ha was a band from Norway, consisting of Morten Harket (vocals), Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars) and Magne "Mags" Furuholmen (keyboards). They chose the name "a-ha" because everyone would be able to say it easily. They initially rose to fame during the 1980s, but have had continued success in the 1990s and 2000s.
a-ha achieved its biggest success with their debut album and single in 1985. Hunting High and Low
peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard charts and yielded an international number-one single, "Take on Me", earning the band a Grammy Award nomination as Best New Artist. Hunting High and Low
was one of the best-selling albums of 1986, and 1987 saw them singing the Theme Tune
to the James Bond
film The Living Daylights
In 1994, the band went on a hiatus, the same year a-ha reached a sales number of 20 million albums sold worldwide. After a performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 1998, the band returned to the studio and recorded 2000's Minor Earth Major Sky
, which resulted in a new tour. By 2000, they had reached 36 million albums sold wordwide plus several million singles. In 2002 the band released their seventh studio album Lifelines
is their eighth studio album and is their most successful studio album in the UK since East of the Sun, West of the Moon
and has been certified silver. Their last album is Foot of the Mountain
, which was released in June of 2009.
They retired on December 5th, 2010.
- 1985 - Hunting High and Low
- 1986 - Scoundrel Days
- 1988 - Stay on These Roads
- 1990 - East of the Sun, West of the Moon
- 1993 - Memorial Beach
- 2000 - Minor Earth Major Sky
- 2002 - Lifelines
- 2005 - Analogue
- 2009 - Foot of the Mountain
a-ha has examples of:
- Animated Music Video: "Take on Me" and "Train of Thought", at least large parts of them.
- The Internet exclusive video for "I Wish I Cared" was one of the very first wholly Flash-animated music videos.
- Audience Participation Song: "Hunting High and Low", "The Living Daylights".
- Bond Gun Barrel: "The Living Daylights", naturally.
- Changed For The Video: The award-winning video for "Take on Me" by a-ha has a different ending than the one on the Hunting High and Low album. While the album version does a repeat-and-fade at the end, the video has a quick, 3-note cold finish using unique instrumentation.
- Continuity Nod: The first 30 seconds of the video for "The Sun Always Shines on TV" are spent ending the storyline in the "Take On Me" video. Snifff.
- Cover Version: "Crying in the Rain" (The Everly Brothers), "Velvet" (Savoy, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy's other band) and "#9 Dream" (John Lennon).
- Creator Backlash: "We've done better songs. It's great to be recognized, shame it's "Take On Me"."
- Downer Ending: As stated above, the beginning of the video for "The Sun Always Shines on TV" ends the story from "Take on Me" with the man turning back into an illustration and running away.
- Executive Meddling: Most tracks on Minor Earth Major Sky were remixed by the album's producer to make it more radio-friendly for the German market. Whether it made them worse, or better, is entirely up to the listener.
- For their third album, Stay On These Roads, the band wanted to work with a different producer, but the record label did not want to go away from the winning formula that had given them "Take On Me" (producer Alan Tarney) and the band chafed under his thumb.
- Intercourse with You: "I Call Your Name" is actually a honeymoon song, complete with metaphors.
- Long Runner Line Up (Logical Extreme): 18 years with the same three guys before disbanding (with one reunion benefit concert).
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- Many, many of their songs have this going for them... "The Blood That Moves The Body" comes to mind.
- That one pales in comparison to "Scoundrel Days". The beat is rock-ish and spirited, the lyrics are pure Mind Screw.
- "I've Been Losing You" is the musings of a male Yandere who has just shot dead his own wife.
- "Maybe Maybe" is cute and poppy. But describes rather lightly how a guy and his ex-girlfriend bitch each other, until said girlfriend runs him over with her car.
- More subtly, "Soft Rains of April" seems to be about a guy who's just bored and lonely away from home. By the end we find out it's about an inmate from an English prison, and his relatives have all but disowned him.
- Mood Dissonance: "Velvet" is a song about a man praising a woman's beauty. In the music video on the other hand, the band members' love interests murder all 3 of them. Morten dies in an Electrified Bathtub, Paul is killed by a bullet on the head, while Magne's corpse is locked in a freezer. Morten's singing as he is transported out of the tub and into a body bag is part of the video's Narm Charm.
- New Wave
- Notable Music Videos: "Take on Me"
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Celice", a love song dedicated to... a chastity belt. The group that gave us "Take On Me", everyone!
- Power Trio
- Rerelease the Song: "Take On Me" was actually released three times. The first release was promoted with a Performance Video, but neither the single nor the video became a hit. The second release, a rerecording of the song, did a bit better, but it wasn't until the third release and a new, rotoscoped music video that the song became a worldwide hit.
- "The Living Daylights" was recorded twice. Once for the the movie of the same name and once again for the album Stay on These Roads.
- Rockstar Song: "The Bandstand", arguably.
- Rotoscoping: The music video of "Take on Me".
- Step Up to the Microphone: Magne Furuholmen sings lead vocals on "The Way We Talk" and "Summers of Our Youth".
- Take That, Audience!: The Downer Ending for Take On Me that was the intro for the video The Sun Always Shines on TV. It was an annoyed jab by the band at the thousands of fans who had endlessly written them to ask "what happens next?" with the couple from Take On Me. What happens next? He can't stay in the real world, turns back into a comic drawing, and is forced to run back to his world, represented by a blue light he enters with a flash and disappears, and she leans against a tree with an expression of deep sadness. The end. Now listen to THIS song, which WE think is BETTER, stupid fans.
- Vocal Dissonance: Morten's pretty looks would suggest he's a normal Tenor Boy type of singer. Think again.
- Yandere: The narrator of "I've Been Losing You" and the girl from "Maybe Maybe".