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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

The Return of A-Ha

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80s Legends Aha are back in town

2009 is rapidly turning into the year of reform for the long lost bands of the eighties.

Hot on the heels of Spandau Ballet and Kajagoogoo, A-ha are the latest of a line of bands on the comeback trail.

The three members, Morten Harknet, (singer and all-round pretty boy), Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (guitarist), and Magne Furuholem (keyboards), originally hail from Norway.They moved to London and worked in the studio of musician and producer John Ratcliff for the simple reason that it had a Space Invaders game.  John agreed to co-manage the band along with his partner, Terry Slater.

Why did they call themselves A-ha?  Well it is a common and positive phrase used in many languages.  Right from the off the band had aspirations of being a European band, not just British.

Their major hit song ‘Take on me’ did not spring from the womb fully formed.  It had been an old tune in Norway the Magne often played.  They boys just introduced new lyrics, and a bit of synthesizer magic.  But it was the music video that really secured their success.  Shot in a small market café, and starring Morten and his girlfriend of the time, it used live action mixed with sketch animation.

A-ha were off and running.  Their debut album, Hunting High and Low was released in May 1985 and went straight to the top of the album charts.  It stayed in the top 20 albums for over six months.

The band followed up with their second hit single ‘The Sun Always Shines on TV’, which had even greater success, making it all the way to number one in the singles charts.

About this time the synthesizer pop music they played was starting to go out of fashion and they took the path into alternative rock.  Their second album, Scoundrel Days, received at least polite reviews, they never had quite the same success as they did with their first album.

They also wrote and performed the theme song for the James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’.

For the next twenty years the lads stayed as thick as thieves while other bands split up all around them.  Some would burn out, others would fizzle and die.  A-ha just kept a steady low flame.  They played gigs and they paid their mortgages, no problem.

In 1994 they performed two concerts during the Winter Olympic games in Lillehammer.  Other, less successful albums were released.  The band took a break and each focussed on personal projects.  Nobody fell out, they just wanted to spread their wings a little.


Within a few years the boys got back together and headed straight back into the studio.  By now they had produced eight albums but never repeated the success they had with their first.

The lads released their new album ‘Foot of the Mountain’ in April this year.  This album, number nine, took them back to their synthesizer roots and it entered the German album chart at number #1.

A-ha are due to play the iTunes live festival this July.  Their performance was recorded and is available for download at the iTunes website.


Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Posted in music

Tagged with , , , ,

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