a-ha – “Hunting High And Low” (1985)
a-ha formed in 1982 and spent the next three years touring Norway and parts of Europe while trying to find their kind of music. It began with Folk and ended with Pop-Rock, but took on epic proportions in 1985 with the global success of their debut single, a reworked version released that had charted at No.3 in their home country a year earlier. Morten Harket (b.1959), Paul Waaktaar (b.1961) and Magne Furuholmen (b.1962) had no sooner reached their audience when the follow up, “Love Is Reason” bombed and did not chart.
British producer Alan Tarney (Cliff Richard) was called in and worked with the band on their initial hit, “Take On Me“, to make the song appeal to a wider audience and in April 1985, it went to number one in Norway, getting an international release throughout the Summer and into the latter half of 1985, and with THAT killer video to its name, the track was hardly likely to flop this time. “Take On Me” topped the charts from America to Australia, although it indignantly stopped at No.2 in the UK, where it would go on to shift more than a million copies. With “Take On Me” taking the world by storm, a-ha released their first long player, “Hunting High And Low” that Autumn and it proved a huge success making No.1 at home and going double Platinum before launching globally throughout 1986.
But not without the help of the follow up, “The Sun Always Shines On TV”, and this time they did go all the way in the UK in Janaury. “The Sun Always Shines On TV” was a top ten hit across Europe and made No.20 in The States and it sent the album up the charts alongside. 1986 really was a-ha’s year as this new sound of mid-late 80’s Pop-Rock was putting the earlier Glam Pop to bed. Along with the ‘new romantics’, this is what the music buying public wanted in this new decade of technology and fashion advancement. a-ha took to the road and played to hundred of thousands that year, packing stadiums as “Hunting High And Low” flew off the shelves and with two more hits with “Train Of Thought” and the title track itself giving the band more top ten hits, this was the new obsession, if only for frontman Morten and his dashing good looks and mysterious smile!
“Hunting High And Low” would end the year as the biggest seller of all in Norway and land on the top ten best seller lists in many other countries, including the UK, where it would shift a million copies, replicated in America and with over eight million sold worldwide. Since then, a-ha capitalised on this success with the “Scoundrel Days” album of 1986 and the glorious “Stay On These Roads” in 1988. After a few years apart in the 1990’s, the ‘boys’ reunited in the 21st century and the music hasn’t stopped since with their latest, “True North“, coming out in late 2022. “Hunting High And Low” received a remastered relaunch in 2010 with demo tracks, live versions as well as previously unheard tracks recorded at the time. 2023 has seen the album repacked as a box set of vinyl records bringing together for the first time, all of a-ha’s first recordings as a definitive anthology of the Norwegian trio, 40 years since they first got together and decided to make music.
“Take On Me” US No.1, UK No.2
“The Sun Always Shines On TV” UK No.1, US No.20
“Hunting High And Low” UK No.5, Nor No.10
“Hunting High And Low” deluxe box sets are released on 24th February 2023