A

a-ha

a-ha

Formed 1982, Oslo, Norway: Morten Harket (vocals); Pål Waaktaar (guitar); Magne Furuholmen (keyboards). Waaktaar and Furuholmen had previously been members of the band Bridges, before recruiting Harket and relocating to London to improve their chances of international success. Their first single Take On Me had to be released three times before the legendary part-animated video propelled it to #2. Second single The Sun Always Shines On TV went one better, topping the chart in early 1986 and helping début album Hunting High And Low to the #2 spot. The severe I’ve Been Losing You heralded a-ha’s second album Scoundrel Days (1986, #2) which marked the beginning of the band’s progression to a more mature guitar-based sound. The band was chosen to write and perform the theme to 1987’s James Bond film The Living Daylights; this reached #5 as did Stay On These Roads, the title track of their third album which, again, reached #2. Having made a reasonable stab at shaking off their teeny-bop image with increasingly mature albums East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon (1990, #12) and Memorial Beach (1993, #17) and an appearance at Brazil’s 1991 Rock in Rio festival in front of a world record 198,000 fans, the trio took a sabbatical in the second half of the 1990s in order to concentrate on solo projects. Regrouping for a performance at the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, a-ha returned to the studio to record the Minor Earth Major Sky album (2000, #27). This was followed by Lifelines (2002, #67) and Analogue (2006, #24), the title track of which became the band’s first UK top ten hit single in eighteen years. After scoring a top five album with 2009’s Foot Of The Mountain the trio went their separate ways in 2010 with a compilation album 25 and farewell tour which included a performance of both Hunting High And Low and Scoundrel Days in their entirety at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Less than five years later, a-ha reformed to play the Rock in Rio 30th anniversary concert and subsequently released a new album Cast in Steel and undertook another farewell tour. The band claims to have no further plans to work together, but who knows?

ESSENTIAL ’80s a-ha

SINGLES

The Sun Always Shines On TV sleeve

THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON TV
December 1985, #1

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I've Been Losing You sleeve

I’VE BEEN LOSING YOU
September 1986, #8

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The Living Daylights sleeve

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS
June 1987, #5

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ALBUMS

Hunting High And Low LP sleeve

HUNTING HIGH AND LOW
October 1985, #2

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Scoundrel Days LP sleeve

SCOUNDREL DAYS
October 1986, #2

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Stay On These Roads LP sleeve

STAY ON THESE ROADS
May 1988, #2

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