Living in 1980s Germany, and loving contemporary pop music, I saw the release of a great number of songs that have not lost their popularity up to this day. One of these songs is Take On Me by A-Ha, which was also a great hit here in the United States (A-Ha is from Norway).
First, let me shock most Americans who grew up during the 1980s (that includes my wife, but she already knows):
A-Ha was NOT a One-Hit Wonder!
A-ha were a Norwegian pop band formed in Oslo in 1982. The band was founded by Morten Harket (vocals), Magne Furuholmen (keyboard), and Pål Waaktaar (guitars). The group initially rose to fame during the mid 1980s after being discovered by musician and producer John Ratcliff and had continued global success in the 1990′s and 2000′s.
Also, the title song of the James Bond Movie, “The Living Daylights”, was co-written with Paul Waaktaar-Savoy of A-ha and recorded by them.
The band have sold over 36 million albums and 35 million singles worldwide. In less than a year, during 2010, the band earned an estimated 500 million Norwegian Kroner on touring tickets, merchandising and release of a greatest hits album, making them one of the 40-50 largest grossing bands in the world.
A-ha achieved their biggest success with their debut album, Hunting High and Low, in 1985. That album peaked at number 1 in their native Norway, number 2 in the UK and number 15 on the U.S. Billboard album chart, yielded two international number-one singles, “Take on Me” and “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.”, and earned the band a Grammy Award nomination as Best New Artist. In the UK, Hunting High and Low continued its chart success into the following year, becoming one of the best-selling albums of 1986. In 1994, after their fifth studio album, Memorial Beach which failed to achieve the commercial success of their previous albums, the band went on a hiatus.
Following a performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 1998, the band returned to the studio and recorded their sixth album, 2000′s Minor Earth Major Sky, which was another number-one in Norway and resulted in a new tour. A seventh studio album, Lifelines, was released in 2002, and an eighth album, Analogue, in 2005, was certified Silver in the UK — their most successful album there since 1990′s East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Their ninth album, Foot of the Mountain, was first released on 19 June 2009 and returned the band to the UK Top 5 for the first time since 1988, being certified Silver there and Platinum in Germany. The album peaked at number 2 in Norway (their first not to reach number 1 in their home territory). On 15 October 2009, the band announced they would split after a worldwide tour in 2010, the Ending On A High Note tour. Thousands of fans from at least 40 different countries on six continents congregated to see A-ha for the last time.
Stay On These Roads
And here comes my favorite A-Ha song, Stay On These Roads. I have both videos, Take On Me and Stay On These Roads on my iPhone, and my wife loves it. Yet another reason for astonishment that a band like A-Ha never really made it big in the United States.
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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