Song of the Day Mar 3

March 3, 2024

This month I’m focusing on One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

Today our song is:  Take on Me

Wikipedia tells us this about the song:

"Take On Me" originated from Pål Waaktaar's and Magne Furuholmen's previous band Bridges, who first composed a number called "The Juicy Fruit Song" when they were 15 and 16 years old. Initially the band felt the riff was too pop-oriented for their band, thus the first version of the song was more "punky" in an attempt to offset the riff. The first take of the song was inspired in part by Doors member Ray Manzarek and his "almost mathematical but very melodic, structured way of playing". Waaktaar considered the song too poppy for their intended dark style, but Furuholmen recalled thinking it was "quite catchy".

Soon after, Bridges disbanded. Waaktaar and Furuholmen relocated to London to try their hand in the music industry there, but returned to Norway after six months of disappointment. They were joined by their school friend, singer Morten Harket, who heard the song and said the keyboard riff had the character of a universal hit sound. The three began working on demos, including a new version of the song, which was renamed "Lesson One" before it evolved into "Take On Me". In January 1983, the band returned to London in search of a recording contract. They intended the song to show off Harket's vocal range, which led to his vocals "doing this spiralling thing"

The original 1984 version "Take On Me" failed to chart in the United Kingdom, as did the second version in the first of its two 1985 releases. The second of those 1985 releases charted in September 1985, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart in October. In the United States in October 1985, the single topped Billboard's Hot 100, bolstered by the wide exposure on MTV of director Steve Barron's innovative music video featuring the band in a live-action pencil-sketch animation sequence. The video won six awards and was nominated for two others at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards. 



  1. This is another great 80s song and a great video that reminds me of the " Thought Police" from the book 1984. By Orwell

  2. I showed this video to my freshmen English classes last week! A number of them had heard the song, but had never seen the video. They were very impressed. I loved this song back in the early 80s when it came out.

  3. I probably haven't seen this video since 1985. Watching it just now, I realized that the very end of the video, where the guy is trying to break through into reality by smashing himself against the hallway walls was very much a nod to the 1980 movie 'Altered States'. Great movie, and one of only about 6 movies in the 'Horror' genre that I love and own.

    ~ D-FensDogG


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