It was a day unlike any other day in my life…’
Actually it was morning and I had just woken up when someone casually told me that “A-ha broke up.” Kind of nonchalant like, “the mails here” or “you’re coffee’s cold.” It was just this uneventful blip of a statement. I was around in the beginning and I was around in 1993 when the band decided to part ways for greener pastures. Pal went and formed SAVOY now WAAKTAAR– I can’t keep up. Morten was doing whatever it is he was doing. Wild Seed was in the works followed by his other stuff etc. There was also the Magne artistic stuff that gets sold on airplanes in sky mall. I did love the cigarette case or was it a card case? Everyone just kind of walked away and I figured they were doing what all bands do after a certain amount of years together. They were on a hiatus/break-us. I figured they would come around but I didn’t think it would take as long as it did. I figured ’96 or so but not 1999! I was pretty much giving up hope until the Nobel Awards. It was like nothing had changed-as far as I could see.
But let me back up a hair…all the way to 1984/85. My first husband was always getting turned on to new music from abroad and one day…(I’ll wait while you stop and do the math…OK, ya, that’s a different story for another day) he brought in a cassette tape and said, “This band is going to be F*cken Huge! This is the next big thing. You have to listen to this;it will blow your mind!!!” I was watching a slide show (Google it) and I put the tape in right as the show begun and the music as the backdrop for the beautiful art I was looking at was amazing! It was not like anything I had ever heard before. It wasn’t clunky and dopey like the new wave that was around back then. It demanded to be taken seriously and for some reason TOM seemed to fit into the album quite nicely even though (later on) I knew that the entire album was merely a showcase for the song. What stopped me dead was “Hunting High and Low”, it was/is still the most beautiful vocals I have ever heard on any record by anyone! The delivery was flawless. I had to ask myself if this is the same album that TOM was from.
Just to get a point across, I loathe Take On Me! Sorry but there are two songs that I loathe and TOM is one and “Jessie’s Girl” is another. I am one of those weird people that don’t fall for the first hit from a band. It didn’t help matters any that when I finally saw the video I was stoned. The TOM video was like a bad drug trip. In fact, I don’t think I needed the weed to make me feel like I was losing my mind. The video was/is too damn weird for me. Put the video and the song together and I just can’t hang…at all!
Where was I? Ok back to THAT VOICE! The voice of musical enlightenment. It’s sheer shimmery brilliance. I wished there would have been Cd’s at that moment because having to rewind that tape a billion times just to hear that song drove me crazy! When I got the vinyl I was a lot happier; I could just plop the needle on the groove-less work for me. I wore out both the tape and record, except the spot that TOM occupied-sorry!
I was devastated when TSASOT didn’t chart well here in the U.S. I knew that without a strong follow up the band would be doomed to roam the realm of “one-hit-wonder-dom” for eternity. But I didn’t care when everyone else around me forgot about A-ha. I didn’t care when the year end countdown came out and I had to hear about A-ha in the past tenths. I read that they were planning a follow up, and though they were not doing a lot to resurrect their career here in the states, I knew that at least I would get a follow up album- maybe 2 if I was lucky and they didn’t get axed from Warner bros. records.
And so it went. I waited for SOTR and I had to settle on Vinyl and I was lucky to even get that. I noticed one thing that was unique about them-they didn’t duplicate their sound from one album to the next. They were recognizable as A-ha but they were not repeating a formula like other bands. Honestly, if you heard one Duran song-you’ve heard them all. With A-ha there was a singularity. They invented a sound and it was not being duplicated. I don’t think anyone could have duplicated it. When the Grammy awards came I was grateful to actually see them live but I was devastated when they lost to SADE! I was consoled by the fact that almost every “best new artist” had limited success. Maybe it was a sign or a blessing that the guys had many more miles of musical highway to travel.
None of their albums has ever disappointed me. There are some that I still have a hard time getting attached to but I love them all. I love everything they have done-together and alone. I don’t have a bias and I was not angry for the decision they made to finally call it a day in 2010. I wonder, though, what would the follow up to FOTM had been like? I tell everyone to give Savoy a chance. It’s a different more earthy sound but it is good, straight up, rock & roll and it deserves to be heard. Morten has done very well on his own and he is a touring fool (see my post about the festivals) and he has become quite the lyrical genius. Sometime growth can only come from change.
Would I want them to reunite? No, the small reunion they did at the memorial service was sad and it seemed forced, out of place and unnecessary. The band added nothing to the grim occasion and may have even taken some of the dignity out of it-but I won’t say more. I think I just want them to be happy in their lives, proud of their legacy and if the San Francisco Giants do go to the World Series then maybe it would be nice to see TOM sung for @mcode38 and the only ball team I have ever loved;by the only band I have ever loved