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a-ha

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Oslo, Norway (1982 – 1994, 1998 – 2010)

a-ha was a Norwegian band that was globally successful from the 1980s until their split in 2010. The trio, composed of lead vocalist Morten Harket, guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and keyboardist Magne Furuholmen, formed in 1982 and left Oslo, Norway for London in order to make a career in the music business.

The origin of the name a-ha comes from the lyric of an early song. After checking dictionaries in several languages, they found out that ‘a-ha’ was an international way of expressing recognition, with positive connotations. It was short, a-ha was easy to say and somewhat unusual.

The first song to break through into the mainstream culture was Take on Me, which was featured on the album Hunting High And Low; a main reason for its popularity was the music video that came some time later after the song’s release.
“Take on Me” was the first song Morten Harket heard Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy play. At that time the song was called “Lesson One.” After multiple re-recordings and two failed releases, “Take on Me” became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1985. Although their first release of the song in 1984 was not a major success, it was remixed by producer Alan Tarney a year later, and sold 1.5 million copies worldwide in one week. Eventually the single “Take on Me” is estimated to have sold 7-9 million copies worldwide; it peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK Singles Chart. Sales were aided in the U.S.

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