In the “if at first you don’t succeed” category, Take on Me by a-ha was originally released on October 19, 1984, with And You Tell Me as the B side. But this was not the version – or the accompanying music video – that would become one of the most iconic of the 80s.
The original version peaked at No. 3 in a-ha’s native Norway but failed to achieve success elsewhere. Unhappy with the version, the band re-recorded the song with a new producer – Alan Tarney – and released it again in 1985, with Love Is Reason as the B side.
The new version appeared on a-ha’s debut studio album Hunting High and Low. It went on to top the charts in more than 30 different countries and sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. The new video that was made to accompany the new version is arguably one of the most memorable of MTV’s video heyday in the 1980s. It won six awards at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards, including Best Concept Video and Most Experimental Video.
The original 7″ and 12″ versions, if you can get your hands on one, will cost you anywhere from $50 to $500 on discogs.com.