A-ha performed the “Take on Me acoustic version” during their 2017 live concert, bringing their fans to tears.
The Norwegian synth-pop group a-ha was born in 1982, courtesy of the talented Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen, who had previously been part of Bridges.
Their partnership grew stronger with the addition of the nimble vocalist Morten Harket, according to AllMusic.
The trio embarked on an exciting journey, making their way to a legendary, albeit run-down, London flat, where they were determined to carve their niche in the music industry.
The name “a-ha” has a unique origin story.
It emerged from the lyrics of an early song. After delving into dictionaries in various languages, they discovered that ‘a-ha’ was an internationally recognized expression of recognition, carrying positive connotations.
The name was chosen for its simplicity and distinctiveness, making it easy to remember and say.
By late 1983, a-ha had signed with WEA, driven by the strength of a demo version of their hit “Take on Me.” This marked the beginning of their global musical journey.
The song and their debut album, “Hunting High and Low,” quickly climbed the charts worldwide, with the iconic animated music video amassing over two billion views.
While a-ha’s debut album primarily featured romantic synth-pop, the initial critical response was to dismiss them as a teeny bop sensation.
However, a more mature effort, “Scoundrel Days,” was released in October 1986. This album was more focused and rock-oriented, showcasing a stronger band dynamic.
“Scoundrel Days” landed in the Top 30 in Norway and reached the top half of the Billboard 200 in the US. Following a world tour, a-ha contributed the theme song to the James Bond film “The Living Daylights.”
A remix of the song appeared on their third album, “Stay on These Roads,” released in 1988 and was followed by several amazing albums.
A-ha’s “Take on Me” remains one of their most iconic hits, with a memorable animated music video that has left an indelible mark in music videos.
The journey of this hit song began with a-ha members Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket, and Pål Waaktaar.
“Take on Me” was conceived from a track the band had rehearsed during their time with the group Bridges.
Originally called “Miss Eerie” and later renamed “Lesson One,” the song was intended to showcase Harket’s incredible vocal range, characterized by a spiraling quality, Smooth Radio noted.
The song initially had a “punky” sound, but the third version finally gained momentum. After several flopped attempts in the UK, the song was remixed for a cleaner and more soaring sound.
Despite initially facing resistance, Warner Brothers America saw the potential in the band and the song, eventually leading to a re-release and the creation of the iconic music video.
The groundbreaking rotoscoping animation video, directed by Steve Barron, took six months to complete and became the key to the song’s worldwide success.
“Take on Me” reached number one in the USA and number two in the UK, thanks to its distinctive video and extensive airplay on MTV.
In 2017, a-ha marked the Summer Solstice with a special event. They headed to the remote island of Giske off Norway’s west coast to record their first-ever acoustic concert for MTV Unplugged.
With arrangements by producer Lars Horntveth, the arena-filling band played a career-spanning set featuring guests like Ian McCulloch, Alison Moyet, Lissie, and Ingrid Helene Håvik.
The Take on Me acoustic version stood out among the songs, bringing a new interpretation, per Upworthy.
The Norwegian band reimagined the track, leaving behind the electric piano and adjusting the tempo for a stripped-down version that has since become a fan favorite.
The Take on Me acoustic version music video has garnered 98 million views on YouTube as of writing.
The original “Take on Me” was a cool and hip soundtrack for the fast-paced 1980s lifestyle.
Meanwhile, the Take on Me acoustic version evokes a sense of nostalgia and farewell, as one commenter aptly put it: “The original version is like a soundtrack for a man living in the fast-paced life in the 80’s all cool and hip. This one is like when the same man grows old and says farewell to the fun memories of his youth.”
In summary, “Take on Me” in its various forms continues to resonate with audiences, with one version making you dance and the other making you reflect and perhaps even cry.
Watch a-ha’s performance below and let their Take on Me acoustic version melt your heart: