"Take on Me" is a song by the Norwegian band a-ha. The song is a track from a-ha's first album, Hunting High and Low, released in 1985. The song was originally recorded in 1984 but was remixed for the release of the Hunting High and Low album.
An extended mix of this song appears on the Japan-only 45 R.P.M. Club EP. The music video of another a-ha song, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", forms a sequel of sorts.
"Take on Me" was released in the Winter of 1984 but was re-released because of its commercial failure for its first release. When the single was re-released it became the most successful song from Hunting High and Low with "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." on the rock charts, and one of the band's most recognizable and popular songs. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number two on the British Singles Chart. The song would be a-ha's only number one single in America. At the MTV Video Music Awards on September 5, 1986, the video won six awards.
In 2002, the song was ranked at number 8 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders, although this status is often used incorrectly in the United States when labeling a-ha. Also, in 2006, the song was ranked at number 24 on VH1's "Greatest Songs of the 1980s".
The music video was spoofed by the animated comedy Family Guy in an episode entitled "Breaking Out Is Hard to Do" (Episode number 409). A "literal" parody of the video was created by Dustin McLean of DustFilms.com
The winner of the race, played by the band's lead vocalist Morten Harket, winks at the girl from the page. A cartoon hand reaches through the comic book, inviting the girl to enter his animated world. Through a creative effect they both view each other through a mirror which shows them (and the band members) alternately in live action and animated.
When the waitress of the cafe comes back for the bill, she finds the girl missing and believes that she has left without paying. She angrily crumples up the comic book and throws it into the wastebasket. As this happens, two of Harket's competitors in the race come back for revenge. One, wielding a pipe wrench, smashes the comic frame. Harket punches one of the thugs, and retreats with the girl into a maze created by the crumpled paper. Harket tears a hole so the girl can escape as he faces the two thugs. The girl reappears on the floor next to the waste basket in the coffee shop, heavily ink-stained, to the surprise of the entire shop cliente and employees. The startled girl grabs the crumpled comic book and runs out of the coffee shop to her home, where she tries to smooth out the creases.
One of the panels shows Harket lying unconscious, and she begins to cry. Harket then wakes up and starts hitting against the edges of the panel. Suddenly, he appears in the girl's room and throws himself back and forth against the corridor walls, flashing between animated and live action. Eventually, he becomes the latter, and he and the girl embrace each other.
There is an earlier version of the music video, featuring the band in live performance.
|UK||Gold||November 1, 1985||400,000|
|Austrian Singles Chart||1|
|Brazilian Singles Chart||18|
|Dutch Singles Chart||1|
|French SNEP Singles Chart||3|
|German Singles Chart||1|
|Irish Singles Chart||2|
|Italian Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||1|
|Swedish Singles Chart||1|
|Swiss Singles Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks||4|
|U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40||1|
In 1999, Third-wave ska band Reel Big Fish covered "Take on Me" for the film BASEketball. The song was later released on the BASEketball soundtrack and the international version of their album Why Do They Rock So Hard?.
|UK||Silver||September 29, 2000||200,000|
|Australian ARIA Singles Chart||46|
|Dutch Singles Chart||47|
|German Singles Chart||61|
|Irish Singles Chart||12|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||1|
|Swedish Singles Chart||9|