Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One Hit Wonder II - Take On Me

If you want to know about all the magical powers of music go no further than listening to the opening bars of Take On Me. Instantly you are taken back in time 20 years. Ronald Reagan is ensconced in the White House while the Iron Lady has the keys to Number 10.

The Berlin Wall separates East from West while Miami Vice, Cheers and the Cosby Show rule the small screen.

On the playing fields Liverpool still reign supreme while in hoops, Magic and Larry hold sway. Joe Montana is in the midst of building a 49ers dynasty.

It was Bat Mitzvah season and the girls were celebrating with frizzy hair and banana clips, gloves and maybe even wearing lingerie on the outside like the Material Girl was doing.

That is what listening to the first few bars of this quintessential 80's song will do.

When the biggest issues in your life were what grade you got on your history assignment and if you would be allowed to go out and not come home till 10.30.

Great Times!



The truth of the matter is that a-ha were no one hit wonder - they are still around today but nothing has come even remotely close to the world wide success the Norwegians had with Take On Me. That is enough to gain them membership to the club.

After forming in 1982 they chose the name of their band after realizing that it would make sense in any language and on their merry way they went.

When originally released in 1984 Take On Me sold a grand sum of 300 copies. Some rejigging in the studio and a year later it sold 1.5 million copies in a single month. Ultimately it would sell about 7 million copies world wide and hit a peak of 1 in the USA and 2 in the UK.

Undoubtedly it benefited from its quirky video clip and being given mass exposure on MTV. The MTV age was still pretty much in its infancy and the song definitely took advantage of that. Plus coming from Scandinavia was a novelty as well. ABBA weren't back in the good books yet so these guys filled the void nicely.

With its catchy beat and quality vocals the song perfectly captured the essence time which was the mid 1980s.

The follow-up single called "The Sun Always Shines on TV" did ok but was a speck compared to the juggernaut which was Take On Me.

Although the latter half of the decade wasn’t kind to them they kept on putting out albums, maybe they were servicing the cult following they had formed, especially in South America.

At the Rock in Rio festival in 1991, a reputed 198,000 people turned up at Maracanã Stadium which is the highest ever number for a paying gig.

Inevitablly, they split up to "focus on their solo careers" but after a few concerts together decided to give it another go. They were at Live 8 in Berlin last year and do other big events such as the Winter Olympics and Nobel Prize awards cermony.

According to some sources, lead singer, Morten Harket is responsible for the "ripped jeans" fashion trend as he ripped them when running to try and get on stage.

They have definitely made their mark on popular culture with The Family Guy, the Simpsons and South Park all featuring the song once.

So strap yourself into the time machine and be prepared to go back 20 years as you listen to this sensational song.

12 Comments:

Blogger Sweatshop Worker said...

Oh dear.. Have you and Mrs considered the possibility that you are stuck in time traveller 80's???

11:39 AM  
Blogger RR said...

Love, love, love that song!

Some interesting trivia you provided- the largest concert crowd ever and the ripped jeans phenomenon- very cool!

I actually like A-ha a lot- a lot of their videos (songs) that never made it in the US are frequently shown on the video channels here, and I think most of their stuff is really good.

All the girls were in love with Morten, but I had a crush on the keyboard player- I think his name was Mags.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

SW - I expect the song to be playing at your wedding.

RR - Glad you're a fellow fan :)
His actual name is Magne Furuholmen and you can read up all about him there. Also there is his official site

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, you know WAY too much information about A-Ha. No one should know that much about A-Ha. Also, can you call that song a one-hit wonder, when I hear that damn song every 6 minutes here in Israel, as a ringtone ?

Next time, maybe you could write your book report ( read = blog ) on Sir Mix A Lot. I hear his bio is much more interesting.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

Anon - Be patient. Sir Mix A Lot is coming.

2:55 PM  
Blogger as said...

My claim to fame: I bought the original version of "Take on me", when it was first released. Still have it somewhere.

I knew it was time to move on when my little sis started putting posters of Morten on her wall...

3:36 PM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

so coolllll.. so long since ive heard that!!
i mean.. not.. that.. i was.. around.. at .. that.. time.. i mean.. it was.. the 80's.. after.. all...
ok fine who am i kidding, i remember perfectly and i loved it!!
thanks dot!

5:42 PM  
Blogger Sweatshop Worker said...

Dot,Dot!!!
We cannot play this song at the wedding because the man doesnt know it! How can such a thing have happened.. what can we do about this situation?
And he calls himself a music follower as well.... Hmppph.

11:05 PM  
Blogger kasamba said...

OOOH, makes me want to break out the shoulderpads and hairspray!!!

11:13 PM  
Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

AS - That would have been an LP wouldn't it?

Anonymookie - :) Glad you enjoyed it.

SW - So teach it. Btw, beautiful invitation :)

Kasamaba - Trying to imagine you in the 80s. Help me out.

9:54 AM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

I know this song so I didnt have to actually listen to it... It is a great song great beat. But I have a diference of opinion about the Berlin Wall coming down - that reminds me of the song Winds of change by the Scorpions. Thanks for the nostalgic trip down memory lane though! I was barely old enoiugh to remember the 80s lol.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous ilove80'smusic said...

liked what you said:
"this quintessential 80's song"
i think you are right!

And for sure, i love the song!

6:50 PM  

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