On this date in 1985, A-Ha went to #1 on the Billboard‘s Hot 100 with “Take On Me”, making them the first Norwegian group to score a US no. 1. The video for the song featured the band in a pencil-sketch animation method called “rotoscoping”, combined with live action which won six awards and was nominated for two others at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.
The original version of “Take On Me”, recorded in 1984, was produced by Tony Mansfield (New Musik, Naked Eyes, Captain Sensible, The B-52’s). The 1985 international hit version was produced by Alan Tarney (Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, The Hollies, Bow Wow Wow, the Dream Academy, Squeeze) for A-Ha’s debut studio album, Hunting High and Low.
“Take On Me’ originated from Pål Waaktaar’s and Magne Furuholmen’s previous band Bridges who first composed a number called “The Juicy Fruit Song” when they were 15 and 16 years old. The first take of the song was inspired in part by Doors member Ray Manzarek and his “almost mathematical but very melodic, structured way of playing”. After Bridges disbanded, their school friend, singer Morten Harket, joined. Harket said the keyboard riff had the character of a universal hit sound. The song then renamed “Lesson One” before it evolved into “Take On Me”.
“Take On Me” was largely successful all around the globe, reaching the top of the Eurochart Hot 100 for nine weeks, topping the singles charts in 26 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Germany France, Ireland, etc.
The video above via The A-ha Archive/YouTube, A-Ha’s Norwegian television debut, Lødagssirkus program, in 1984.
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Featured image via New York Times.
Sources: This Day in Music, Wikipedia.