Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Number 519 - A-Ha


Number 519

A-Ha

"Take on Me"

(1985)
.
.
Genre:Pop
A-Ha! Feels like a long time ago now doesn't it? Ah (ha), the good old days, with Back to the Future was on the movies, Huey Lewis needing a new drug, Michael Jackson was black & MTV was cool. If you don't believe me, just go ask Adam Sandler, after all he is the historian on the 80's. This current decade is just soulless, not literally, just that they have no defining status like the people of the 50's, 60's 70's, 80's etc.
The 00's just has NO cool ring to it. Imagine being 60 years old in the year 2050 and trying to describe to the grand kids what it was like in the good ole ........ 00's. Soulless.
However, i guess you can always revert to the "Good old line" back at the .... *turn of the century* (or millennium if you want to be really hip .. kaff)........ we had petrol cars and they didn't need plugging in!!!!
i dont feel well
The trio, composed of lead vocalist Morten Harket, guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (Pål Waaktaar until his marriage in 1994) and keyboardist Magne Furuholmen, formed in 1982 and left Norway for London in order to make a career in the music business. They chose the studios of musician, producer and soon-to-be-manager John Ratcliff, because it had a Space Invaders machine. The origin of the name "a-ha" comes from the lyrics of an early song ("Nothing To It"). After checking dictionaries in several languages, they found out that "a-ha" was an international way of expressing recognition, with positive connotations. It was short, easy to say and unusual.
"Take on Me" was the first song Morten Harket heard Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar play. At that time the song was called "Lesson One". After multiple re-recordings and two failed releases, "Take on Me" became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1985 and was the second best-selling single in 1985.The first release of the song in 1984 was not a major success, but after a few songs were remixed by producer Alan Tarney a year later, it sold 1.5 million copies worldwide in one week. Eventually the single "Take on Me" was estimated to have sold 7-9 million copies worldwide; it peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK Singles Chart.Sales were aided in the U.S. by a music video on MTV that may have been inspired by the truck chase scene from Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil, and the climactic scene from the Ken Russell film Altered States.The video used a pencil-sketch animation / live action combination called Rotoscoping (where individual frames of video are drawn over or colored).At the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards "Take on Me" won in six categories. It was also nominated for Best Video Of The Year at the 1986 American Music Awards.
recent a-ha
The a-ha's second single was "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.". In the U.S., the song peaked at number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number seventeen on Radio & Records airplay chart. In addition, the music video for the song won in two categories at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards. a-ha's American success culminated in their 1986 Grammy nomination in a coveted Best New Artist category which was eventually won by Sade. "The Sun Always Shines on TV" turned out to be a-ha's last Billboard Top 40 single, and to this day in the United States a-ha is remembered by the general public almost entirely because of the singularly huge success of "Take on Me". As such, the band is frequently considered there as a one-hit wonder. In the UK (and much of the rest of the world), however, the story was very different: "The Sun Always Shines on TV" was an even bigger hit among British fans than "Take on Me", peaking at number one. In Australia, as in the UK, a-ha had continued success with "The Sun Always Shines on TV" and were consistently popular throughout the 1980s.
here in the 00's
a-ha's second album was Scoundrel Days (1986) and represented a move towards alternative rock as synthpop began to fall out of style. a-ha won eight MTV awards in 1986. In 1987, they provided the title song for the James Bond film The Living Daylights. Stay on These Roads (1988) received more mixed reviews than the previous albums. In spite of a drastic decline in sales in the next few years, a-ha continued to record two more albums, East of the Sun, West of the Moon (1990) and Memorial Beach (1993). East of the Sun, West of the Moon featured a cover version of The Everly Brothers 1963 single, "Crying in the Rain". In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a-ha were very popular in South America, especially Brazil. The band sold out some of the largest stadiums in the world. At the Rock in Rio II festival in January 1991, a-ha shocked the international entertainment press by gathering a paying audience of 198,000 people at Maracanã Stadium - a world record for paying audiences. George Michael, Prince and Guns N' Roses managed to gather only sixty thousand each. In February 1994, a-ha performed two concerts during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, followed by tours of South Africa and Norway. a-ha were also chosen to compose the official song for the Winter Paralympics in Lillehammer, entitled "Shapes That Go Together". Because of apparent internal conflicts between the band members and conflicts with the record label at the time, a-ha took a break in summer 1994 and the members started focusing on solo projects.
The song that became Legendary
"Take on Me" is a song by the Norwegian band a-ha. The song is a track from a-ha's first album, Hunting High and Low, released in 1985. The music video for the song was first broadcast in 1985 on local Boston music video station V-66, and then subsequently on MTV. The innovative video was an amalgamation of rotoscope-style animation and live-action. The video was inspired by the animated film Commuter created by Michael Patterson, and the movie Altered States. An extended mix of this song appears on the Japan-only 45 R.P.M. Club EP. The music video of another a-ha song, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", forms a sequel of sorts.
we will never get old
Video Summary ~ The video, directed by Steve Barron, uses heavy rotoscoping. It begins as a blonde young woman (played by actress Bunty Bailey is in a London cafe, reading a comic book about competitive motorcycle racing. The winner of the race, played by Morten Harket, the band's lead vocalist, winks at the girl; she raises her eyebrows. He then reaches his black and white cartoon hand through the comic book, pulling the girl into his animated world with his band in tow. Through a creative effect they both view each other through a comic frame which shows them (and the band members) alternately in live action and animation. Surprisingly, this video has aged quite well, perhaps more than the music; the cuts between animation and live video are remarkable even today, and even more so when age is taken into consideration.
aging gracefully
The waitress, coming back for the bill and finding the girl missing, believes she has left without paying, and angrily crumples up the comic book and throws it into the wastepaper basket. As this happens, two of Harket's competitors in the race come back for revenge. One, wielding a monkey wrench, smashes the comic frame. Harket punches one of the thugs, and retreats with the girl into a maze created by the crumpled paper. Harket tears a hole so the girl can escape as he faces the two thugs. The entire coffee shop peers over the counter at the heavily ink-stained girl lying next to the wastepaper basket. The startled girl grabs the crumpled comic book and runs out of the coffee shop to her room, where she tries to smooth out the creases. One of the panels shows Harket lying unconscious, and she begins to cry. Harket then wakes up and starts hitting against the edges of a comic frame. Suddenly, he appears in the girl's room, and throws himself back and forth within a doorframe as he flashes between animated and live action. Eventually, he becomes the latter, and the girl and Harket embrace each other. ~ [Source:Wikipedia]
For Sade see Number 830
For Huey Lewis see Number 852 & 735
For Michael Jackson see Number 621 & 580
For George Michael see Number 821
For Prince see Number 812
For more Prince visit MM Vol 1 #136
For Guns N' Roses see Number 795 & Number 557
What does Rolling Stone think about A-Ha?
With their chiseled Scandinavian good looks and a few pop hooks, a-ha is a Norwegian electropop answer to Duran Duran, as mid-'80s teen idols of the music-video age. It might be argued that Steve Barron, who directed the video for the trio's "Take On Me," and Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger, who animated the clip, were as important to a-ha's American success as the band members themselves. A-ha's three members had played in such Scandinavian bands as Spider Empire, Soldier Blue, and Bridges before coming together in the early ’80s and moving together to London. The group's first single, “Take On Me” (#1, 1985), got heavy MTV play with its video clip, which blended live action and animation in a romantic adventure starring the handsome Harket as a comic-book hero who comes to life and pulls an unsuspecting young woman into the action. The song propelled Hunting High and Low to #15. A-ha would score a few more hits - including “The Sun Also Shines on TV” (#20, 1985) and “Cry Wolf” (#50, 1987) - but its album sales steadily decreased, and East of the Sun and Memorial Beach failed to chart at all. A-ha remained a steady draw internationally, however, especially in Latin America, where it topped the singles charts no fewer than 14 times, and in 1991 played for record-breaking crowds at Brazil’s Rock in Rio concert. In 1987 a-ha wrote and recorded the theme song for the James Bond film The Living Daylights. In 1995 Harket began a solo career with Wild Seed (Vogts Villa followed a year later), while Waaktaar and his wife, Lauren Savoy, formed the band Savoy, who released Mary Is Coming (1996) and Lackluster Me (1997). With “Take On Me” placing high atop such lists as MTV’s 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever, Harket, Furuholman, and Waaktaar reconvened to greet the new millennium with a new Europe-only a-ha album, Minor Earth, Major Sky. ~ [from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001)]
For Duran Duran see Number 764
For more Duran Duran vist MM Vol 1 #133
Artist Fact File
Name:a-ha.........................Related to³:Savoy
Yrs Active:1982 to now............Site:http://www.a-ha.com/
Best Song¹:Take on Me.............#1fan:www.a-hafansiteinjapan.com
Best Album²:Hunting High & Low....Grammy Awards:0
Albums Sold:80 Million +..........Next best thing:Duran Duran
¹Number of downloads WINMX ²Artistdirect choice ³Associated acts or collaborations
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (A Ha! Think you can catch us out?) and the Album ranked at Number (A Ha! Yup you did)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 74.6 out of 108 pts

Click play to hear the rest of the album
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