“Take On Me” is a song by the Norwegian band a-ha, released in 1984 as their debut single. It was written by a-ha members, Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket and Pål Waaktaar. The original 1984 version of “Take On Me” was released on October 19, 1984 with “Love Is Reason” on the B-side. The 1985 international hit version was produced by Alan Tarney for the group’s debut studio album, Hunting High and Low (1985). “Take On Me” is widely considered to be their signature song and one of the most recognizable tracks of the 1980s. The song became a global hit, reaching number one on the charts in multiple countries. “Take On Me” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States in 1985 after it was re-released with a remixed version of the song. It also topped the charts in several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Norway. The success of the song helped a-ha establish themselves as an internationally recognized band.
“Take On Me” features a unique blend of synthpop and new wave elements, characterized by catchy melodies, a driving beat, and the distinctive vocal range of lead singer Morten Harket. The song is known for its memorable music video, which combined live-action and animation, and played a significant role in its success. The lyrics of “Take On Me” tell a story of romantic longing and the desire to connect with someone on a deeper level. The song captures the excitement and anticipation of a new relationship, with lines like “Take on me (take on me) / Take me on (take on me) / I’ll be gone in a day or two.”
The first release of “Take On Me” in 1984 includes a completely different recording; this mix was featured in the first video, which shows the band singing with a blue background. The second music video for “Take On Me” was directed by Steve Barron and featured a groundbreaking concept at the time. It tells a comic book-style story of a young woman who is pulled into the world of a sketch she was reading, where she encounters the lead singer. The video won several awards and achieved immense popularity, propelling the song to even greater success.
Over the years, “Take On Me” has remained a beloved and enduring pop classic, frequently covered and referenced in popular culture. Its catchy melody and nostalgic appeal have made it a staple of 1980s music and a favorite among fans of the era.