In Episode One of the new three-part documentary "The Making of...Take on Me," Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy discuss the journey of making one of the most historically iconic music videos, from the initial "worst imaginable" video to its current day status nearing one billion views.
Norwegian artists Morten, Magne, Paul skyrocketed to global stardom with their debut single in 1985, but before their best-selling single release went on to become the 5th most streamed song of the 20th century, a-ha went through a series of trials and tribulations in order to give the riff-laden the video that would do the song justice.
In this first part, woven within the praise of Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman and producer Nile Rodgers to "Shape of You" singer Ed Sheeran is the underlying confession: no one seems able to resist a-ha's "Take On Me."
"As a singer, you really see his range in that, don't you." James Blunt grins.
Giving spotlight to the talented crew that helped create the song's lasting cultural legacy, the documentary features interviews of not only the a-ha trio, but also the song's producer Alan Tarney, video heroine Bunty Bailey, and the designers and animators Candance Reckinger and Michael Patterson.
"Mags [played] [the riff of "Take On Me"] on the piano and Paul [strum] along on the guitar. And instantly, I knew that this is, this is it. This is the key to the world," Morten reminisces on the song's roots.
Mags confirms this immediately, "It was one of the first things [Morten] said. 'That is a universal hit riff. You know, we have to do something with that.'"
"And I think that's when things came together."
Given the remarkably distinctive, strong spirit of the song's riff, the band embarked on a quest to find the fitting complimentary piecework, from the song's vocal styles to its accompanying music video, to the song's nuts and bolts, with pivotal help from key figures within the music industry, including Warner A&R Director Andrew Wickham.
Check out the full episode here:
The second episode airs November 8 on a-ha's YouTube channel.