Flashback to a-ha’s Heart-Melting Top of the Pops Performance in 1985

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Submitted by karajayne on Wed, 09/14/2022 - 16:38

Flashback to a-ha’s Heart-Melting Top of the Pops Performance in 1985

Posted 14 Sep 2022
a-ha. Photo by Bob King/Redferns/Getty Images.

A-ha burst onto the 80s music scene with a pop song so incredibly catchy it would launch one of the most noteworthy careers in the business. 

In 1985, the band topped the charts in over 27 countries with Take On Me, including in the US where a Norwegian band had never before scored a number one hit. The song’s meteoric rise was aided by the era-defining music video it arrived with, a rotoscoped animation romance drama propelled by MTV’s high-rotation. 

And it’s not too hard to see why. With Morten Harket's impressive range and Magnes Furuholmen's searing synth lines, their songs delivered both emotional depth and undeniable eye candy. Despite being self-proclaimed “reluctant pop stars”, a-ha more or less created the blueprint for 80s synth-pop superstars. 

At the height of the Take on Me wave, the Norwegian trio appeared on the UK’s Top of the Pops for a heart-melting performance of the monolithic hit – widely considered one of the greatest pop songs of all time. Watch below. 

a-ha | ‘Take On Me’ [Top of the Pops, 1985]

After several attempts at getting it right, the now famed iteration of Take On Me appeared on a-ha’s 1985 debut album Hunting High and Low, propelling it up the charts and earning the band international recognition.  The song’s now-classic video took more than three months to produce and earned a-ha eight MTV Video Awards from 11 nominations. 

a-ha | ‘Take On Me’ 

Today, the clip maintains a momentum of its own, as it continues to receive tens of thousands of spins on YouTube every day – with a total exceeding 1.3 billion views and counting. Passing 1 billion views is a feat not entirely uncommon for new songs, but to date, is one that only a handful of 20th century music videos – such as November Rain by Guns N’ Roses, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – have achieved. 

In true 80s fashion, the official music video for a-ha’s Take On Me is available on VHS! Check out it, and other Take On Me bundle options, here. 


aha vhs
'Take On Me' - VHS


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