The cult hit Take On Me of the Norwegian band a-ha has recently become the second music video of the 1980s with over a billion views on YouTube. The song, which was released in 1985, appeared on YouTube for the first time in January 2010. In 2020, the video received about 480,000 views a day on average. The legendary Norwegian pop group a-ha will play the first and only concert in the Czech Republic on October 28, 2020. In Prague’s O2 Arena they will start their European tour dedicated to the thirty-fifth anniversary of the release of their most popular album Hunting High and Low, on which this famous song appeared. All three original members of a-ha – Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy – will be on stage. Tickets are available in TicketMaster and Ticket-Portal networks.
Although Take On Me is one of the most popular singles in the world, and in the current document The Making of Take On Me it is appreciated by such stars as Ed Sheeran or James Blunt, its creation was not easy at all. It even lasted for several years. The first version of the hit was written by Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy for their then rock band Bridges.
“It was made in a kindergarten located in a sort of bomb shelter. I was 15 and Paul was 16, we were just hanging around. It was terribly pop-like, so we made the first version as punk. With tried to balance somehow the catchiness of the song. And I remember Paul’s first reaction was: Oh, that’s so cheesy. It is too poppy, we cannot use it,” says Magne Furuholmen with a smile. “Later on we returned to it several times, we reworked some parts of it, but then gave it up again. Finally, we just put it aside,” says the keyboardist.
Later on in England, at that time as a-ha already, they played the song to Andrew Wickham, the International Vice President of A&R for Warner Brother Records, who was immediately enchanted. Wickham signed the band, but even further producer´s interventions failed to make Take On Me a hit and the first release was not successful. Despite this failure, the label decided to promote the band and enabled another release of the song under supervision of an experienced producer Alan Tarney.
“Alan in fact directed us back to our demo, which had the best atmosphere. I remember that at that time there was a tendency to program everything. But we didn’t have computers, so we played instruments that sounded like machines,” says Magne Furuholmen.
The success of Take On Me was boosted by a music video with an innovative rotoscope technique: live-action footage combined with pencil-sketch animation. Taking 16 weeks to complete, it was an exceptional music video for its time. Viewers could see a young girl drawn into a romance visualized in a comic-book style. After its release, the single scored in the USA and became number one of music charts in hundreds of countries. Its lasting popularity has been recently confirmed by a billion of views on YouTube, or by numerous cover versions of the song made by famous bands, including legends such as Metallica or Weezer.
A-ha was formed in Oslo, Norway in 1982. They have made 10 albums and sold over 40 million records. Their career was interrupted in 1994, but after four years they came back and performed until another break in 2010. In 2015 they returned again with their latest album Cast in Steel. The band has not performed in the Czech Republic yet.