A-ha! The Untold Story of Their Hit “Take on Me”

Thirty-five years ago, the Norwegian pop group A-ha topped the charts with their catchy synth-pop gem. Despite having one of the hardest-to-sing choruses in pop music history, listeners found themselves singing along as though powerless to the seduction of the tune. Not only that – the clip itself revolutionized music videos. Guitarist and songwriter Paul Waaktaar-Savoy looked back on working with the famed music-video director Steve Barron and when they watched the song soar to No. 1.

A-ha Take on me clip

Source: YouTube

The music video passed the one billion mark (billion!) on YouTube, but “Take on Me” wasn’t a smash right out of the gate, though. The band released a less shiny version in 1984. Then, they redid the tune after it turned out to be a commercial flop. Despite releasing a revised version in 1985, Waaktaar-Savoy said, “It took, like, four months to reach number one in America. And it felt like years.” In the end, “Take on Me” is one of the most beloved singles of the 80s.