I’ve always been fascinated by one-hit wonders. How can the same artists behind a song to which millions of people respond never manage to make it happen again?
Did they have just enough talent to squeeze out one good song? Or did they have tons of good material in them but, through a combination of bad luck and bad timing, never managed to find an audience for most of it?
Over the next two weeks, I’ll feature the second biggest hit of ten one-hit wonders, and see if I can unearth any gems.
Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘Take On Me‘ – A-Ha (1985)
1985 is the second year to place two songs on my list of favorites, the first being Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ and the second being one of today’s featured tracks, A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me.’
Some songs on this list are here because of the excellence of a specific version. ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ is a good example. Both the original demo and cover versions by others pale in comparison to the magic created by Simple Minds on the definitive recording.
I’m not much of a gamer. I played a lot of video games when I was in junior high, back when the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 were the height of technological advancement. But I missed the window when games got really good.
A few years ago, though, my family bought a PlayStation 4 and the Star Wars Battlefront game and I sat slack-jawed at how complex and cinematic these things can get.
Back when MTV played actual music rather than Teen Mom: Roanoke or whatever, my favorite series was MTV Unplugged. These were the Tiny Desk Concerts of the 90s, presenting acoustic sets in an intimate environment. The artists had to be pretty good to pull that off, so you got a wide range of talented acts.
Well, apparently MTV Unplugged is still kind of a thing, at least online and at least in Norway. I know that because I happened upon a viral clip of A-Ha performing a gloriously stripped-down version of their classic ‘Take On Me’ in Giske Harbor Hall, against a beautiful backdrop of mountains and sea.
Kicking off Week Three of the 30 Days Music Challenge, we arrive at ‘A Song That You Never Get Tired Of.’ We’ll have to forgive the grammar, and imagine that we’ve been asked to come up with ‘A Song Of Which You Never Tire.’
I only had one choice for this category, and it didn’t matter that I’d featured the song twice already. A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ is on the short list of my favorite songs ever precisely because I am never not in the mood to hear it.