A-ha’s “Take On Me” Lyrics Meaning
A-ha’s “Take On Me” is based on the singer kicking it to a romantic interest, as in trying to convince her to accept him as a lover. And the title is derived from him entreating her to ‘take him on’, as in take a chance with him. And while it can definitely be gleaned that his love for her is true, he is the shy type. Owing to this, he is finding it challenging to express his feelings to this special lady.
On the other hand, the lady also seems not to be responding in the way he prefers, “shying away” at times herself. However, he is determined to be the recipient of her love while the opportunity is ripe. Thus most of the track, as aforementioned, centers on him entreating her to actually be receptive to the affection he has to offer.
A-ha’s Paul Waaktaar-Savoy is said to have come up with the idea based on a fresh romance he was experiencing with a woman named Lauren Savoy. Interestingly enough, Paul and Lauren eventually got married in 1991.
Facts about “Take On Me”
The music video we have come to know and love was actually the second A-ha filmed for “Take On Me” (though the first for this particular version of the song). It went on to receive eight nominations for MTV Video Music Awards in 1986, taking home six of them. One of which was the award for Best Concept Video.
The “pencil-sketch” animation effects utilized in the video were created by animator Michael Patterson and his wife, Candace Reckinger. It took them 16 weeks and 2000 drawings to complete.
The woman who plays Morten Harket’s (A-ha’s lead singer) love interest in the video is named Bunty Bailey. She and Morten, who met on the video shoot, actually dated for a couple of years afterwards.
“Take On Me” topped the Billboard Hot 100 (marking the first time a Norwegian band did so). It also topped the charts in A-ha’s native Norway and almost accomplished the same feat (peaking at number two) on the UK Singles Chart.
In 2018, a different version of this song was released. This version featured a 50-piece orchestra and appeared on the album 80s Symphonic.
The short-lived rock band Lifer (formerly known as Strangers with Candy) won the 2000 edition of MTV’s Ultimate Cover Band Contest. The band achieved this feat with their rendition of “Take On Me”.
Success on the charts
“Take On Me” managed to achieve the rare feat of topping the charts in several countries, including the following:
- The Netherlands
Who wrote “Take On Me”?
All three members of A-ha (Paul, Morten and Magne) wrote this song.
On which album is “Take On Me”?
It was one of the five singles released from A-ha’s maiden studio album, Hunting High and Low.
Usage in Popular Media
This song has been featured, in various capacities, in other forms of pop media. For instance, it has been parodied on Family Guy (2005). It also made an appearance on a 2005 episode of The Simpsons. The song was also referenced in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 sci-fi film Ready Player One (as well as being played in one of its trailers).
Furthermore it was featured in the 2018 action movie Bumblebee and sung on a 2015 episode of “Glee“.
A-ha also recorded a live version of “Take On Me” for their 2017 album “MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice”. This version was prominently used in the 2018 superhero movie Deadpool 2.
In fact the track is widely regarded as one the most heavily-utilized songs in recent years. For example, in 2018 alone, it scored 10 soundtrack credits.
More about Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Lauren Savoy (the song’s inspiration)
Norwegian musician and leader of the A-ha band, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and American composer and writer, Lauren Savoy tied the knot in the early 90s. They, together with drummer Frode Unneland, formed the rock trio known as Savoy and have released at least 6 studio albums as of this writing.
Paul wrote the A-ha hit song, Angel In The Snow as a wedding present for Lauren, performing it on their wedding day in December 1991. Apparently, the musician was too shy to deliver a speech, and instead wrote a song. In 1999, they welcomed their first child named True August Waaktaar-Savoy.
As the primary songwriters in the band, Savoy, they received the Best Pop band award during the 1999 and 2001 Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannprisen). Savoy have sold at least 300,000 albums in Norway alone.