Morten Harket, Pal Waaktaar, Magne Furuholmen.
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With their very first single "Take On Me" they wrote rock history and shaped the charts like scarcely any other band of the 80's. After an unprecedented comeback two years ago, not only the fans from way-back-when, but also a whole generation of new fans are now eagerly awaiting the new album. The Norwegian trio A-HA indisputably belongs to the biggest phenomena in pop music.
At the ages of 10 and 12 respectively, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktar, in their hometown of Asker (near Oslo), dreamed of following in the footsteps of their idols, The Beatles. A little later they actually did start making music, formed their first school bands and together and separately accumulated a lot of experience. Just as they were coming of age, they met again in their first semi-professional band. With Bridges, as the project was called, they even released an album with their own compositions. But Magne and Paul wanted more than just playing in pubs and schools. So they asked the local vocal talent Morten Harket to come to London with them to try his luck at becoming a pop star. But he wasn't interested...
After half-a-year full of setbacks and sacrifices in the British capital, the duo returned home - disappointed, but not defeated. Back in Oslo they tried everything to convince Harket to join them. Due to their insistance - and not least because of the duo's promising songs - he gave in. Finally as a complete group they moved back to England and found a label there and their first fans. For the next twelve years A-HA lived in London and their wildest dreams came true.
After hearing it once, every radio listener at the time recognised A-HA's first single within seconds. A melody that wasn't easy to whistle, but bored its way into their ears.In the USA the TV stations flipped out when they saw the revolutionary videoclip. MTV played the clip around the clock until the nice band from Norway reached the "pole position" of the Billboard charts. Following this success "Take On Me" went on to become an international hit in a very short time and A-HA's debut album HUNTING HIGH AND LOW developed into a global mega-seller. Only in their new home England, of all places, the single didn't reach the top positon and peaked in November 1985 at #2. It was only with the next release, "The Sun Always Shines On TV", with its epic arrangement and record-breaking video, that the British Isles lay at their feet.
The trio's overwhelming success was continued with the next album SCOUNDREL DAYS, which was already released in October 1986. Musically and in regards to compositions the band took a considerable step forward. New tracks like "Cry Wolf", "Manhattan Skyline" and "I've Been Losing You", which were less heavy on synthesizers and mainly recorded with live musicians, had even those critics singing their praise, who had had mixed reactions to the first album.
Following the colossal success of their first world tour, the producer of the James Bond films invited A-HA to perform the theme song, composed by Paul and the legendary soundtrack genius John Barry, in the latest 007 adventure "The Living Daylight". In 1988 STAY ON THESE ROADS was released, presenting a more mature, but still hit-making act. "The Blood That Moves The Body" and "Touchy" effortlessly joined the parade of songs written by Waaktaar & Co, that would still be popular years later.
With the grand Everly Brothers track "Crying In The Rain", the band opened a new album with a cover version for the first time. EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON was another international success in 1990 and advanced the band to new heights, especially in South America. Shortly after the release of the second single, "I Call Your Name", the Norwegians played for over 200,000 ecstatic fans as headliner for the "Rock In Rio" festival.
In 1991 with HEADLINES AND DEADLINES the band released a collection of their biggest hits to date. This included the brand-new track "Move To Memphis" that re-appeared two years later on the critically acclaimed MEMORIAL BEACH. Major changes in the pop market, hot new sounds on radio and TV like alternative rock, hip-hop and the worldwide dance explosion lead to the album not achieving the usual results, although it had a lot of atmosphere and the beautiful singles "Dark Is The Night For All" and "Angel In The Snow". Harket, Waaktaar and Furuholmen decided to put A-HA on ice for the time being. They dedicated their time to their families and their individual projects. While Magne and Morten moved back to Norway, Paul settled in New York.
At the Nobel Prize Award Presentation on December 11, 1998, the musicians performed in Oslo for the first time in over four years. They got along very well with each other and, meeting in Paul's new home, they decided to get together again. In 2000, seven years after MEMORIAL BEACH, A-HA was finally back with new songs. With MINOR EARTH MAJOR SKY the band delivered a 13-track stroke of genius. As if the years of absence had never been, gold and platinum certifications and charts positons showered on the singles "Summer Moved On", "Minor Earth Major Sky" and "Velvet", as well as for the album. Sold-out tours of Germany and Japan were followed by triumphant headline slots at various European festivals (e.g. the gigantic "Rock am Ring"/"Rock am Park" shows in Germany) in the summer of 2001. Their comeback was not only a success, A-HA were back on top in one blow.
Inspired by this success the Norwegians went even further with LIFELINES. The advance single "Forever Not Yours", with a modern production by Stephen Hague (New Order, Blur, among others) and Martin Landquist characteristically melancholy melody is just a little taste of the freshest, and yet most mature and mutifaceted A-HA ever.
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