A-ha’s classic 1985 music video for “Take On Me” has passed the one billion views threshold on YouTube, earning the Norwegian electro-pop trio a special place in the history books.
It’s one of the few pre-‘90s music videos to join the billion-views club alongside Guns N’ Roses‘ “November Rain” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. A-ha become the first continental European act to accomplish this feat, and the first pop outfit. Also, “Take On Me” stands alone as the only video from its era to use the “rotoscoping” illustration technique.
“Take On Me” was originally released in 1984, but failed to make a lasting impression. The following year it was relaunched with its groundbreaking, Steve Barron-directed music video, which blends pencil-sketch animation and live action.
The clip was a huge hit with the MTV generation and it launched A-ha into the big league. The single went to No. 1 in 36 territories, and images of its band members Morten Harket, Paul Waaktaar and Magne Furuholmen were immediately plastered on bedroom walls and the front pages of music titles around the globe.
Their debut album Hunting High And Low went to No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 15 in the U.S. and also yielded the top-20 hit “The Sun Always Shines on TV.” Career album sales are north of 55 million.