It’s true that the Norwegian band A-Ha never attained the kind of success they had in Europe in North America but that is not the true measure of any artist. The best judge of a band’s work is time which decides what music will live on. By that measure, A-Ha will always be remembered as one of the best pop bands that ever came out of Europe and made catchy yet meaningful music that people continue to adore. Few bands can rival the tremendous impact they made with their debut album Hunting High and Low in 1985 as the young good-looking trio impressed America with their singing, lyrics, and unforgettable pop jingles.
There’s Lots More!
It’s a bit criminal that people still talk about “Take on Me” as the best song they remember on their debut album. It’s mainly because of the fantastic, innovative video they made for this song that conquered the Billboard charts and is a certified MTV classic that still adorns classic MTV. The other song that is a signature A-Ha tune is “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” which also held the top spot on the Billboard 100 charts in January 1986 while the music video was another highlight on MTV and other music video channels.
However the album is loaded with high-quality songs like “Train of Thought,” “Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale,” “Love is Reason,” “I Dream Myself Alive,” and “Here I Stand and Face the Rain.” How could anyone forget the title track “Hunting High and Low,” a slow song that brilliantly showcases lead singer Morten Harket’s voice as he explores the sonic space even as guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy’s guitars burn up in the background and Magne Furuholmen’s keyboards rev-up the song? Some people refer to A-Ha as the first real boy band but that’s untrue. Boy bands came much later. A-Ha wrote their songs, made their music, and had real talent which is why they are still a big draw in Europe and other parts of the world.
That Incredible Voice
Of course that voice of Harket! It made a seasoned artist like Kenny Rogers exclaim “I wish I could sing like that!” They were also one of the few bands to escape the supposed curse on artists who win the Grammy for Best New Artist. They are still big even after completing almost four decades in music. Songs like “The Blue Sky” and “And You Tell Me” show the immense talent that they have which only got bigger in the later years.
Hunting High and Low has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and still is shifting lots of units 35 years later. The album is pure pop heaven though there are flashes of the rock sound that A-Ha would explore on many of their subsequent albums. Many critics have said that Hunting High and Low is a perfect example of the feel-good 80s that people remember with great nostalgia even today. Remember that this was their debut album and taken with their subsequent 9 studio albums they give you a complete range of pop-rock music that is far more intelligent than people would expect.
Let the Good Times Roll Again!
So spin the black vinyl once again and bring in the mid-80s once again! Hunting High and Low still shines as the near-perfect pop album that made many a teenager wish he could sing like that and sweep the girl he adores off her feet much like in the video for “Take on Me.” Hunting High and Low is still a perfect trip back to the time when innocence was the hallmark of every young heart and it looked like everything was possible!