a-ha – “Take On Me” – (The 45 Single)

How many times should a song be released as a single before it becomes a hit?  In a-ha’s case, the answer is twice.  a-ha released “Take on Me” twice before it became a big hit in 1985.

The first release was in 1984 and it was a decent hit in Norway from where the band was born, but it failed miserably in the UK and no one in the States had heard of it.  However, the record company still had faith in the song and the band. They brought in another producer, Alan Tarney, and he spiced things up a bit taking the song all the way to #1 in the US and #2 in the UK.

He took the song and turned it in to a New Wave, synthpop masterpiece.  His version was re-released in 1985 and is the version on the 45 Single that I am writing about.  The song is upbeat, synth music with some acoustic guitars, some drums and drum machines and is such a frantic pace that it gets you moving.  The tempo is like 100mph and a blast.


There are two other things that are special about the song other than that catchy synthpop sound.  One is the voice of lead singer Morten Harket.  As the song progresses, Morten’s voice gets higher and higher until the climatic part of the song he hits this killer falsetto that just makes the song.  It is so high that only the dogs can hear it and wine glasses shatter.  He captures the emotion of the song and its plea for love.


The other thing that makes it special is the video.  When the video got in to heavy rotation at MTV it took off.  With Morten’s good looks and the technical genius of the video it was destined for gold.  The video won so many MTV Music Video Awards due to it’s unique live action/sketch drawing technique that intertwined the two into a beautiful love story for the ages.  The girl is reading the comic and it comes alive and pulls her into the comic.  She escapes and the man from the drawing fights to get out and be with her.  Does he succeed?  Watch the video and find out.  The action that takes place is engaging and weaves such a great story.

On a side note, the girl in the video, Bunty Bailey, might look familiar to Billy Idol fans.  She is one of the backup singers in his video for “To Be A Lover”.

The B-Side:


The B-Side of the song is “Love is Reason”. It is another pop song that definitely falls into the new wave category.  Lots of synths and drum machines.  It definitely falls flat for me as I am not a big fan of any other song they have done, but this one.  It is catchy enough, just generic and bland.  For me, they are a one hit wonder, but they have had moderate success elsewhere around the world.

Here are the lyrics for “Take on Me” if you are interested.  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day.

“Take On Me”

Talking away
I don’t know what I’m to say
I’ll say it anyway
Today is another day to find you
Shying away
I’ll be coming for your love. OK?Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

So needless to say
Of odds and ends
But I’ll be stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is OK.
Say after me,
“It’s no better to be safe than sorry.”

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

Oh, things that you say. Yeah.
Is it life or just to play my worries away?
You’re all the things I’ve got to remember
You’re shying away
I’ll be coming for you anyway

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)

Written by Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket & Pal Waaktaar

7 thoughts on “a-ha – “Take On Me” – (The 45 Single)

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