Country of origin: Norway
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About: a-ha is a rock/pop music band from Norway. The band was founded in 1982 by Morten Harket (vocals), Magne Furuholmen (keyboards), and Pal Waaktaar (guitars). The group initially rose to fame during the mid 1980s after being discovered by musician and producer John Ratcliff and has had continued global success in the 1990s and 2000s. According to their official website, they have sold over 35 million albums worldwide plus more than 15 million singles, making them the best-selling Norwegian a-ha is a rock/pop music band from Norway. The band was founded in 1982 by Morten Harket (vocals), Magne Furuholmen (keyboards), and Pal Waaktaar (guitars). The group initially rose to fame during the mid 1980s after being discovered by musician and producer John Ratcliff and has had continued global success in the 1990s and 2000s.
According to their official website, they have sold over 35 million albums worldwide plus more than 15 million singles, making them the best-selling Norwegian music act in history.
Hunting High and Low is the debut album of the Norwegian New wave band a-ha. Released 1 June 1985 through Warner Bros. Records, the album was a huge commercial success selling more than 10 million units worldwide, peaking at #15 in the United States Billboard 200 and reaching high positions on charts worldwide. The album was recorded at Rendezvous Studios in London, produced by Tony Mansfield, John Ratcliff and Alan Tarney.
In all, five singles from the album were released, though not all were released internationally: "Take on Me", "Love Is Reason", "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", "Train of Thought" and "Hunting High and Low". The group was nominated for best new artist at the Grammy Awards in 1986, making a-ha the first Norwegian band to be nominated for a Grammy.
As part of a re-release of their first two albums, Hunting High and Low was expanded and remastered in 2010.
"Take on Me" was the first single released by the band. An early version was recorded and released in late 1984 with an early music video. The song became a #3 hit in a-ha's native Norway but failed to chart in the United Kingdom.
The "Take On Me" video was nominated for eight 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, and at the third annual ceremony September 5, 1986, the video won six awards, including Best New Artist and Viewer's Choice. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." was nominated for an additional three awards, winning two, for a total of eight wins. Even as the total number of categories has nearly doubled, only one other artist to date has won as many MTV Awards in a single year. Peter Gabriel won nine the following year for "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time," two videos which progressed further down the roads a-ha ventured in groundbreaking use of animation in music video.
Scoundrel Days is the second full-length album by the rock band a-ha. It was released on 6 October 1986 through Warner Bros Records.
"I've Been Losing You" was the first single from the album. It reached #1 in Norway, and #8 in the UK. "I've Been Losing You" became the biggest hit from the album in Europe.
"Cry Wolf" was the second single from the album. It was the most successful single from the Scoundrel Days album in the U.S., where it peaked at #14 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts and went to #50 on the Hot 100. While it would be their last entry on that chart, the band would continue to have major pop hits from each album release throughout the rest of the world through to the present day. The single went Top 40 nearly everywhere else it was released, including Top 5 chartings in the UK, Poland and Ireland, going #2 in Norway and to the top spot in Japan. The lyrics "Night I left the city I dreamt of a Wolf..." are credited to Lauren Savoy whom Pål later married.
"Maybe, Maybe" is the third single released from the album and was only released in Bolivia.
"Manhattan Skyline" reached #13 in the UK charts. The song was co-written by keyboardist Magne Furuholmen and guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy. The song starts with a calm verse in F major, before kicking into a hard rock-style chorus with a guitar riff in D minor. In the official a-ha biography, The Swing of Things, Furuholmen said it was "perhaps one of the most inspired cut and paste-projects that Paul and I did. I wrote the quiet part. Paul wrote the rock part."
Stay on These Roads is the third full-length album by the rock band a-ha. It was released on 1 May 1988 through Warner Bros. Records.
Stay on These Roads was the band's third studio album. The album's peak on the Billboard 200 was 148. The album was another big hit by a-ha internationally, selling over 4 million copies worldwide. Stay on These Roads achieved Platinum status in Brazil and Gold in the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany and Double Platinum status in France.
William Ruhlmann of Allmusic said "in the U.K., the album became the group's third straight to peak at number two, though it charted for a shorter period than the first two albums, and there were four Top 25 hits the title track, 'The Blood That Moves the Body,' 'Touchy!,' and 'You Are the One.' (Also included was a-ha's 1987 theme from the James Bond movie The Living Daylights, a U.K. number five that missed the U.S. charts.)"
Lead single "Stay on These Roads", number one in Norway, was a hit across Europe, including top-five showings in the UK, France, Austria and Ireland and top-ten chartings in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. Stay on These Roads included three more hit singles, "The Blood That Moves The Body", "Touchy!" and "You Are the One", though a final single, "There's Never a Forever Thing", was released only in Brazil. None of the singles charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is the fourth album, released in 1990 by Norwegian band a-ha. It was seen by many as a departure from their old radio friendly sound to a darker, moodier tone, and is named after a Norwegian fairy tale. The album sold over 3 million copies worldwide
If you listen carefully to the music in the verses in Cold River, you will notice a similarity to the song "Train of Thought". And also "Rolling Thunder " uses a similar rain track and a very similar drum beat as "Crying In the Rain".
"The Way We Talk" is a rare number in that it features the band's guitarist/keyboardist Mags Furuholmen (rather than lead vocalist Morten Harket) on lead vocals.
Memorial Beach is the fifth album by Norwegian band a-ha, released in 1993.
The album was recorded primarily at Prince’s Paisley Park studios outside Minneapolis in the U.S. Featured among the tracks is “Angel in the Snow,” a song Paul wrote for his bride, Lauren Savoy, as a wedding gift, and the eight-minute epic “Cold As Stone”. Recording the album was, according to Harket, “A rather dark and heavy period for the band”, although Magne has said, “I dig Memorial Beach, and 'Dark is the Night for All' is the high point, the best thing on the disc.”
Memorial Beach featured three more top 50 singles for the band in the UK, “Move to Memphis,” “Dark is the Night” and “Angel in the Snow”. While the album did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and would be the band's last to be released in the U.S., the single "Dark Is the Night" peaked at #11 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, their last U.S. charting to date.
JD and Jevetta Steele from the American gospel group The Steeles appears on backing vocals on the songs "Move to Memphis" and "Lie Down in Darknes" as does the singer Kathy Wilson.
French actress Béatrice Dalle appears in the music video for the song "Move to Memphis"
Some lyrics from "Locust" were reused on the 2004 Savoy single "Whalebone".
Minor Earth | Major Sky is the sixth album by Norwegian band a-ha, released in 2000. It sold 2.75 million copies worldwide.
Until the release of this album, the band had been on hiatus since the early 1990s. After a very well-received performance of "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." and new song "Summer Moved On" at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 1998, the threesome returned to the studio and recorded 2000's Minor Earth Major Sky, which resulted in a new tour.
"Velvet", the third single from the album, is a re-recording of a song originally released in 1996 by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy's other band, Savoy. The backing vocals was performed by Simone Larsen of the Norwegian band D'Sound.
Almost the entire album was remixed by producer Niven Garland, at the record company's insistence, to make it more radio-friendly for the band's German market.
"Summer Moved On" (Edit), "Minor Earth Major Sky" (Remix) and "Velvet" (Edit) were commercially released as singles. "I Wish I Cared" was an Internet download single, accompanied by an internet-only music video – one of the first of its kind.
"I Wish I Cared" was featured on the TV series Smallville in the episode entitled "Dichotic".
The backing vocals on the song "You'll Never Get Over Me" was done by Pål Waaktaar 's wife, Lauren Savoy.
Lifelines is the seventh album released in 2002 by the Norwegian band a-ha. This album entered to top 10 album charts in 9 countries and 4 of those in top, selling over 2,5 million copies.
Forever Not Yours video was shot in Havana, Cuba. The video was directed by Harald Zwart (who also directed the Velvet video), the storyline is based on the story of Noah's Ark and today's celebrities. You may spot look-alikes for Desmond Tutu, Madonna, and Queen Elizabeth among others.
Lifelines video features segments from the short film "Året gjennom Børfjord", also known as "A Year Along the Abandoned Road", from 1991. In the short film a camera moves through a small village in Finnmark while the seasons change.
Analogue is the eighth studio album by the Norwegian band a-ha, released in 2005.
The song "Analogue (All I Want)" was originally a song called "Minor Key Sonata (Analogue)", which (like the rest of the album) was produced by Martin Terefe and mixed by Flood. Max Martin was then brought in to turn "Minor Key Sonata (Analogue)" into a more radio-friendly song, with a less surreal lyric and catchier chorus. The song was then re-written as "Analogue (All I Want)" and re-recorded, and is the only track on the album not produced by Terefe. Upon its release as a single, it became the band's first Top 10 hit in the UK since 1988.
The B-side "Case Closed on Silver Shore" was also produced during the Analogue sessions, produced by Terefe, and mixed by Flood. It was written by Pal Waaktaar-Savoy.
The lead vocal on "The Summers of Our Youth" is by Furuholmen, with Harket joining him on the chorus.
In their live version of "Holyground", Waaktaar-Savoy plays an omnichord.
The songs "Cosy Prisons" and "Over the Treetops" includes backing vocals by Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Foot of the Mountain is the ninth and final studio album by the Norwegian pop band a-ha. It was released on 19 June 2009 and reached #1 on the German Album Chart and #2 on the Norwegian Album Chart. In its first week in the UK, the album debuted at #5, their highest chart placing in that country since Stay on These Roads in 1988.
The overall sound of the record marks a return to the synthpop style the band became famous for in the mid-1980s. Keyboardist Magne Furuholmen describes the album thus: "It's an album that incorporates the key elements that first defined the band: soaring vocals, synth hooks, yearning lyrics and melodic melancholia.".
This album is also due to be the band's final recording (except for the single "Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)"), as they are planning to split by the end of 2010. ... (more) (less)