The Norwegian group A-ha is one of the leading collectives of the electro-pop style, which appeared at the end of the “new wave”. A-ha music is characterized by a graphic, somewhat chilly (“Scandinavian”) synthesizer-guitar sound, expressive ballad melody coupled with unobtrusive dance, a romantic mood (sometimes) of light sadness. For many, A-ha songs are a nostalgic symbol of youth and tender relationships.
In 1976, young Oslo residents Paul Waaktaar (Pal Waaktaar; guitar, vocals, drums) and Magne Furuholmen (keys, guitar, vocals) decided to assemble a group, calling it Bridges. They were joined by Viggo Bondi (Viggo Bondi) and Kvestin Yevanord (Qystein Jevanord). When the future a-ha lead singer, Morten Harket, first met on their way, he was just one of the visitors to the Bridges concert.
In 1980, the group released the album “Fakkeltog”, which, alas, was not successful.
In 1982, Paul and Magne traveled together to London in order to continue their musical career. Morten was also invited to join, but he decided to stay home. And rightly so: After spending eight months in the capital of Misty Albion, Paul and Magne, disappointed, returned to their homeland. In early 1983, a couple of friends again invited Morten to join them as a vocalist, and he finally agreed. At home at Paul’s parents, young people recorded several demos. They also came up with a new, short, easy and memorable name for the group – a-ha. Submitting their recordings to the Warner label at the end of 1983, the group achieved a contract – managers immediately suspected a-ha of great potential. And they, as it turned out, did not fail. The single “Take on Me”, in full glory, demonstrated the lyrical power of Haket’s clean as the sky vocals, three times held leading positions in the English charts, remaining No. 2 in 1985. Another big hit was the song “The Sun Always Shines on TV”.
A-ha’s debut album, “Hunting High And Low” (1985), firmly occupied the Top 10 and received the Spellemannsprisen Award (Norwegian counterpart to Grammy). Invited musicians helped record this and subsequent a-ha albums. The popularity of the group was greatly facilitated by the clips (a-ha immediately became interested in MTV), full of interesting visual finds. In 1986, the song “The Sun Always Shines on TV” became No. 1 hit in England. The group was nominated for a Grammy Award in several categories and won in the category “Best Video”, and in the category “Best New Artist” gave way to singer Shade. In the same year, a-ha went on their first world tour. And then, without wasting time, the musicians presented their second album “Scoundrel Days” to the public, which was again very warmly received.
The greatest popularity was achieved by such compositions as “Swing Of Things” and “I’ve Been Losing You”. In 1987, Paul Vaaktaaru was asked to compose a theme for the next James Bond film. So “The Living Daylights” was born (in fairness it must be said that this is not the most famous song of the whole “Bond”), a remix of which was included in the third album of the group, “Stay On The Roads” (1988).
The success of this disc exceeded the achievements of the previous ones: as many as five songs out of ten hit the Top 20. Nevertheless, some listeners began to notice that sometimes A-ha quote themselves. In the same year 87, Morten tried himself as a movie actor: he starred in a small role and sang the title song in the film “Kamilla og tyven”, which was shown in Norwegian cinemas.
In 1989, Magne decided to unveil another of his talents – the artist. He exhibited his paintings in the gallery of the city of Stavanger (Norway) and received good reviews from critics. In 1990, the band saw the fourth album, “East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon,” which many fans consider the best a-ha work, although it appeared somewhat in the wake of new trends (house, madchester, etc.) unfashionable. ” The first composition stood out especially on the disc – a cover version of the famous song from Everly Brothers repertoire “Crying In The Rain”. The musicians themselves felt the need to take a timeout and postponed the tour for several months, which eventually became the most successful tour in the group’s history (South America, where more than 1,000,000 spectators came to their 20 concerts).
In 1991, the group published a collection of hits “Headlines and Deadlines”, and also toured extensively, including visiting Brazil and performing at the Rock In Rio festival (based on the materials of the tour, a video collection “Live In South America” was released). Paul Vaaktaar married Lorin Savoy and added his wife to his last name.
In 1992, the group again visited Brazil. In 1993, the team released their fifth album, Memorial Beach, the only known thing of which was Move To Memphis. The disk was not commercial success – some found it too gloomy, others – too avant-garde, others – frankly weak. At the same time, the English magazine Q named Paul Vaaktaaara one of the most outstanding song composers in modern music. Morten Hacket began working on his own project, Poetenes Evangelium. The release of the single “Shapes That Go Together” (1994) put an end to a certain stage of the group’s creativity. a-ha played at the White Nights festival in St. Petersburg, and then Paul, Morten and Magne went about their own business. Magne began to focus on painting and sculpture, arranging exhibitions in prestigious museums; Besides,
Morten Hacket recorded his second solo album, Wild Sees, in 1995 (number one in Norway), followed by Vogts Villa. In addition, Hacket has very well advanced on the business line. And Paul and Loreen formed their own group, calling it Savoy.
To date, the team has released three albums – Mary Is Coming, 1996, Lackluster Me, 1997 and Mountains Of Time, 1999. In 1998, a-ha – not without the help of new manager Brian Lane – decided to reunite after a long a break. The group began performing and recording new material. The result of this work was the album “Minor Earth, Major Sky”, full of strong and fresh material, sounding contemporary, but performed, moreover, in the best traditions of aha. The biggest hits were compositions “Velvet”, “Summer Moved On”, “The Sun Never Shone That Day”, etc. As always, beautiful video clips attracted the attention of fans. As part of a world tour in support of the album, a Norwegian trio visited Russia in 2001.
The legendary Norwegian band A-Ha announced their breakup. The team reported this news in their newsletter to fans. Also released this year, the album “Foot of The Mountain”, will be the last release of the team. In their letter, the group thanks all the fans for their support and dedication. In 2010, the group is going on a tour, which, in fact, will be the final stage. The last concert will be held December 4, 2010 in Oslo. 2010 will be the 25th anniversary of the release of the group’s multi-platinum album “Hunting High & Low” and the single “Take On Me”, which became number one on the charts of 27 countries, including the United States.