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"Take On Me" - A-ha's first long-suffering success

We talk about the single “Take On Me” by the group “A-ha”: why this song was released several times in different versions, how the video was filmed and what covers exist for this track.

"A-ha" - "Take On Me" (1985) - the history of the debut single of the Norwegians, video clip, awards, cover versions

"A-ha" - team from Norway, formed Morten Harket (vocalist), Palom Vaaktaar (guitarist) and Mags Furuholmen (keyboardist). In 1983, the musicians moved to London, and later signed a contract with Warner Bros. In 1985 they burst into the world of show business with an incredibly catchy tune "Take On Me"and is still one of the greatest pop songs ever created. But what inspired the musicians to create the song and who shot the iconic partially animated video for it?

History of creation

"A-ha" started working on this composition in 1982. Then the song was different title ("Lesson One") и text, but the sound already included keyboard riffs. The musicians felt that such music would be too pop for their creativity and so they changed the tune to something more "punk". Norse released track, and it caught the attention of an industry veteran Terry Slater. He became manager group and contributed to the conclusion of the contract "A-ha" with one of the largest film and series production concerns Warner Bros. records».

Norwegian group "A-ha"
Norwegian group "A-ha"

After speaking for Warner Bros. in the UK, a Norwegian band met a British composer Tony Mansfield. It is with him in 1984 they recorded new version of the song and gave it a name "Take On Me". The single was only released on Europe and took third place in Norwaybut nowhere else not remembered. Musicians were it dissatisfiedsince they felt that the song should "take a shot".

Group "A-ha" in his youth
Group "A-ha" in his youth

Slater invited them to work on a song with a British producer Alan Tarneywho added more instrumental and energetic sound. The song was re-recorded for the third time. Around the same time, the head of the recording Jeff Ayeroffwho worked in "Virgin USA", «Work group», Apple and Shangri La Music, moved to Warner Bros.. He talked about his emotions after listening "Take On Me":

"This song fell in love me as soon as I heard it. Then I saw photograph group members and thought, “This is really real people?" because Morten Harket looked like the Goddescended from Olympus."

Ayeroff organized the filming of the video. He hired Steve Barron, whose work included "Don't You Want Me" for The Human League and "Billie Jean." michael jackson. Irish cinematographer was invited Steve Barron to make a revolution animated video that took six months. Professional artists worked on the video Michael Patterson and Candice Rekinger. Shortly after the release of the video "Take On Me" became world a hit, taking first place in USA and second place in UK. The song was number one in 27 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. Composition stayed on top Eurochart Hot 100 within nine weeks.

Work on the clip

Animation used in the video pencil sketch and "live" an action called rotoscoping. Rotoscoping, or phototranslation, is a cartoon technique, in which an animated or combined segment of a film is created by frame-by-frame redraws film footage with real actors and scenery. And although the technology was invented at the beginning of the 20th century, until 1985 it was practically not used in the production of music videos.
rotoscoped about three thousand frames, which took 16 weeks. The idea of the video belongs to the executive director of Warner Bros. to Jeff Ayeroff. Fantasy video tells the story love between a girl from the real world (played by Bunty Bailey, Harket's sweetheart) and guy from comics (Morten Harket). The young man calls the girl to him, and she gets into cartoon a world where they both have to escape from villains, the role of one of them is played by an actor Philip Jackson. Every scene was filmed live, then projected onto paper and tracked.

Bunty Bailey and Morten Harket on the set of A-ha's "Take On Me" video
Bunty Bailey and Morten Harket on the set of A-ha's "Take On Me" video

This song has become hit in the USA because of innovative a video in which a cartoon character beckons the reader to join him in a comic. It was created Michael Patterson and his wife Candice Rekingerwho later worked on the video for "Opposites Attract", Luca and "Impulsive". Patterson said:

"I led animation and drew everything on it clip. While working on this video, I could not even imagine that soon experimental animation will become mainstream".

A frame from the video "Take On Me" by the group "A-ha"
A frame from the video "Take On Me" by the group "A-ha"

Warner Bros. forced cinemas show videos before movies and promoted it on music channels. When the video was shown on MTV, radio stations also began to play this song, and by August it was included in top 40 USA. The composition continued to rise in chartsuntil October 19 reached first placewhere it remained for one week. Video received six awards at the award ceremony MTV Video Music Awards 1986 and is widely known as one of the greatest music videos of all time.

"Take On Me" Won six out of eight nominations at the awards ceremony MTV Video Music Awards 1986, including Best New Artist in Video and Viewer's Choice. It was record number of wins over the three-year history of the ceremony (for example, Michael Jackson won half as many awards in 1983).

A-ha band nowadays
A-ha band nowadays

Cover versions

Many covers of this song have been released. Reel Big Fish released their version 1996, which was used in the 1998 film "BASEketball". It was the most popular The song at their concerts.

Pentatonix released their cover of "Take On Me" in a cappella version. The single was released as part of the album Ptx Vol. IV – Classics».
Group "Strangers With Candy", later known as lifer, won competition "MTV" "Ultimate Cover Band Contest" with his version of this song in 2000.

Car brand Volkswagen used this song in an ad called "Feeling care free". Recently "Take On Me" appeared in a video game scene "The Last of Us Part II"when Ashley Johnson's character Ellie sings acoustic version.

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