Saturday, December 06, 2008

Whatever happened to: a-ha?

I'm gonna go waaaaay back for this one.

Everybody loves "Take On Me".  "The Sun Always Shines On TV" was pretty sweet too.  The musical geniuses behind these smash hits were Norway's a-ha.  

I know the band had a small renaissance in the 1990's but really, they haven't been much of a factor since 1984.

So whatever happened to a-ha?

While I have you pondering that, check out what could be the greatest music video ever made:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to a-ha?

Well, they were victims of having their very first single "Take On Me" becoming one of the biggest hits of the 80s. A song that wasn't particularly representative of their music, but which has caused them to be pigeonholed as an 80s band by many people, and bizarrely characterized as a "one hit wonder" in some countries.

Anyway, the fact is that a-ha formed in 1982 and have been going steadily ever since, apart from a break between 1994 and 1998.

They have released 8 studio albums, and are currently working on a new album to be released sometime next year. Musically they have gone from synth-based albums in the 80s to more organic rock in the 90s to today's timeless pop/rock. But one thing that's always remained is the trademark melancholy in both music and lyrics.

Warner Music pretty much stopped promoting them in countries like the US and Canada after their first album, but they have remained very popular in other parts of the world.

They have played around 460 concerts in total, and are still selling out stadiums and large arenas in Europe, Russia and Latin America.

They had a top 10-hit in the UK as late as 2006, with the title track from the album "Analogue".

Studio albums:
"Hunting High And Low" (1985) - 8 million sold
"Scoundrel Days" (1986) - 5,7 million
"Stay On These Roads" (1988) - 4 million
"East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon" (1990) - 2,3 million
"Memorial Beach" (1993) - 800.000
"Minor Earth, Major Sky" (2000) - 1,5 million
"Lifelines" (2002) - 750.000
"Analogue" (2005) - 600.000

In addition to a-ha, all three band members have ongoing solo projects. Paul Waktaar-Savoy has released 6 albums with his own band Savoy. Morten Harket has released 4 solo albums. And Magne Furuholmen has released 2 solo albums and 4 albums of film music. Furuholmen is also a highly acclaimed graphic artist, and is represented by the same gallery as Damien Hirst.

Earlier this year, the a-ha members played 4 concerts in Oslo and at the Royal Albert Hall in London, doing 3 different solo sets and then together as a-ha at the end.

In recent years, a-ha have been praised for their unique songwriting and longevity by people like Chris Martin (Coldplay), Adam Clayton (U2), Leonard Cohen and Morrisey.

In 2006 they received the prestigious "Q Inspiration Award", which has previously been given to acts like U2, David Bowie and The Cure.

a-ha guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy is by many regarded to be one of the finest songwriters of our time, and the Savoy-album "Mountains Of Time" from 1999 made several critics compare him to John Lennon.

And Morten Harket is still one of the most impressive vocalists in the music business.

Some YouTube-links:

"Analogue" (2005):

"Minor Earth, Major Sky" (live 2007):

"Dark Is The Night" (1993):

"Early Morning"/"Summer Moved On" (live 2001):

"I've Been Losing You" (live 2005):

Dedicated a-ha fan