7_Songs: A-ha

As part of our new label '7_Songs', each week, we will have a new artist featured on our blog. The idea is to have seven songs that are crucial and represent musicians’ career milestones, but at the same time songs that are our favorites and have a special meaning to us. For each artist we will also set up a playlist on YouTube that encompasses their complete body of work as documented with music videos and live performances.

A-ha is a Norwegian band formed in 1982 consisting of Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars), Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitars), and Morten Harket (vocals). The band released 10 studio albums and around 40 singles. A-ha achieved their biggest success with their debut album 'Hunting High and Low' in 1985 as well as their debut single "Take one me". A-ha's songs have been covered or sampled by several artists and also been covered in various languages.

Take on Me
This year in February 2020, A-ha's video for "Take on Me" single, reached one billion views on YouTube joining the community with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Queens' "Bohemian Rhapsody". Back then the single went platinum in Denmark and Italy and also Gold and Silver in several countries around the world and it is considered as the band's biggest hit by far. When it comes to singing along, the song still remains a challenge.

The Sun Always Shine on TV
The second single “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” followed soon after and it was in a different manner  than the debut, less commercial and more complex work. The video showed a short sequel to the story from the debut video, but also took us to a different scenery in a Gothic church in England, crowded with mannequins while the band was performing. This one eventually won two trophies at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1986.

Hunting High and Low 
“Hunting High & Low” was the last single to be released from the debut album of the same name which also rounds up A-ha’s classic era. This video, again, was directed by Steve Baron and new forms of expression were adopted where nature took a lead. Beside others, we saw the lead singer Morten changing forms from an eagle, a white shark to a lion. The single went Gold in France.

The Living Daylights
A-ha landed the Soundtrack for ‘The Living Daylights’ James Bond movie in 1987. Their video featured various scenes from the film projected on to the band as they perform in the empty 007 Stage, but also footage from the film traced out and inserted to the video footage, which was a great innovation at that time. One once said, one of the best JB tunes and the worst JB movies.

Scoundrel Days
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, A-ha were very popular in South America, especially in Brazil, where 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 entertainment press by drawing an audience of 198,000 at Maracan√£ stadium —a Guinness World Record for biggest rock concert attendance. This song was however never released as a single but still remains one of A-ha's finest works.
Summer Moved On
After six years of break, A-ha emerged again in the early 00’s with their first new material since 1994. The song became a number-one radio hit in much of Europe and the band continued with international success throughout the decade. For this song Morten Harket achieved the European record for the longest note held in a Top 40 pop song where he sustains a chest voice note for 20.2 seconds.

Foot of the Mountain
A-ha returned once more what was to be the final time as the album release was followed by a farewell tour. "Foot of the Mountain" was a great track that was mixing the band's classic elements with decade's best pop sounds. The single was a big hit in Germany and also the official anthem of the 2009 World Championships in Athletics held in Berlin where also some parts of the video were recorded.

For the complete A-ha discography documented in music videos and live performances, please check the following the playlist below.