Showing posts with label A-ha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A-ha. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 March 2012

You are the one - A-ha

When you look at the sleeve of the 7" single of 'You are the one' and compare it with this one from the 12" single, you'll see that a different photograph was used from the same photo session. You'd wish this was done more often, because all too often the sleeve of the 12" single is an exact replica, if only a bigger one, of the 7" single.

Another attractive feature of this 12" single was the inclusion of an extended remix of 'You are the one', plus the instrumental version. Which in turn makes you wonder why these were never released on cd.

My collection: 12" single no. 229
Found: Record fair, Rotterdam, 1994
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'You are the one (12" remix)' / 'You are the one (instrumental)', 'Out of blue comes green'

Monday, 27 February 2012

Stay on these roads - A-ha

A-ha were never very generous with bonus tracks after their first two albums were a hit, but sometimes there were some pleasant surprises. This 12" single of 'Stay on these roads', the first single taken from their third album of the same name, features two tracks unavailable on the album, one of which wasn't released on cd until some time later.

The extended version of 'Stay on these roads' is a treat for its extended musical passages. It was released on cd the next year - but in Japan only. The alternate mix of 'Soft rains of April' is a little different, but not dramatically so. Still, a nice disc.

My collection: 12" single no. 116
Found: Record fair, 1991
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Stay on these roads (extended remix)' / 'Soft rains of April (original mix)'

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I've been losing you - A-ha

There's probably some truth to the story that the music you hear during adolescence makes the biggest impression on you. Many of the artists that were around during the Eighties are still here now, making music, and the records they made back then are forever etched in your memory. In some cases, these memories extend to knowing the exact circumstances when you bought certain records.

I can still picture myself in my room playing this 12" by A-ha over and over again. I even used the dub and extended mixes to create new extended remixes. And I know that, when 'This alone is love' appeared on A-ha's next album 'Stay on these roads', I was quite shocked, because the version on this 12" single is far superior. But perhaps that's because I'd heard this version about 200 times by then...

My collection: 12" single no. 52
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1987
Cost: 8 guilders
Tracks: 'I've been losing you (extended mix)' / 'I've been losing you (dub)', 'This alone is love'

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Take on me - A-ha

After the first release of 'Take on me' flopped, the record company tried again and again to make it work. This 12" single represents the first re-release of the single, featuring a different sleeve and a different mix of the track. In the end, it took a second re-release and a new music video to make it a worldwide hit - although the music on the disc didn't change after this one.

The extended version is a little over a minute longer than the single version, but it sounds a lot better in my opinion. The copy I have was pressed in Italy. I bought it some time after the single finally reached the Dutch Top 40 and went to number 1.

My collection: 12" single no. 50
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1987
Cost: 8 guilders
Tracks: 'Take on me (extended version)' / 'Love is reason', 'Take on me'

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cry wolf - A-ha

Released as the second single from A-ha's second album 'Scoundrel days', I never thought this was the best track to be released as a single. The title track should have been the one in my opinion, but perhaps it was deemed 'too intense'. This poppy track catered to the lightweight pop image the band had at the time, even if the album they made was full of more intricate musical arrangements.

The extended version of 'Cry wolf' included here was a decent remix however. I never bought the 12" single myself, but I got a copy last year when someone sent me a package and used this to make it more sturdy. And you know: when something is free, you enjoy it even more.

My collection: 12" single no. 613
Found: unknown, 2011
Cost: nothing
Tracks: 'Cry wolf (extended version)' / 'Cry wolf', 'Maybe maybe'

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Take on me - A-ha

A-ha did their farewell tour last year, causing some grief among their fans, who are coming together this weekend for a fan reunion. Personally I think it's a matter of time before the three Norwegians reunite for another tour and/or album. It may take some years, but in the mean time, there's loads of old records to enjoy.

Such as this one, the original 12" single of 'Take on me', released in 1984 - a year before the single was re-released for the third time and finally became a hit. It's 'Take on me', but not as you know it. I've always liked this version a little better, also because of the exclusive track 'Stop! and make your mind up' which was never released since.

My collection: 12" single no. 19
Found: Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 15 guilders
Tracks: 'Take on me (long version)' / 'And you tell me', 'Stop! and make your mind up'

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Take on me - A-ha

Earlier today I read the news that A-ha is disbanding. It's a sad thing: for a quarter of a century they have made some of the most incredible pop songs, and their craft became better with every album. Their latest, 'Foot of the mountain' (2009) is a great piece of retro synthpop, with some of the best melodies they've ever composed.

So by way of a tribute, here is their earliest release, bar the original version of 'Take on me', which featured on the blog before. This is the second release of that song from 1985, with a new recording and a different B-side. It was still not successful. It was re-released in the same year with this sleeve and it was a case of 'third time lucky': that time it became a worldwide hit.

My collection: 7" single no. 3207
Found: Record fair, September 30, 2000
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Take on me' / 'Love is reason'

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Shapes that go together - A-ha

The last single by A-ha for a long time was 'Shapes that go together', released in 1994. The title was rather ironic, given that there was a significant amount of discord between the band members at the time of the song's release.

This single was the official song of the Paralympics '94 which were held at Lillehammer, Norway. That country was also the only territory where this single was a significant commercial success, peaking at number 5 in the chart. Furthermore, it reached number 27 in the UK and number 57 in Germany.

My collection: 7" single no. 2101
Found: Melody Maker, May 15, 1994
Cost: 6,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Shapes that go together' / 'Cold as stone (remix)'

Friday, 4 September 2009

Angel - A-ha

The boring thing about A-ha singles is that they rarely have an interesting B-side.Take this one for instance: the B-side is the 1990 hit 'I call your name'. Well, at least the A-side was interesting. 'Angel' was written as a wedding present for Lauren, the wife of A-ha's principal songwriter Paul Waaktaar-Savoy.

'Angel' was taken from A-ha's last pre-breakup album, 'Memorial beach'. It reached number 41 in the UK singles chart. Soon after the band reunited in 1998, they performed live at Valhall, a concert that was later released on dvd. 'Angel' was played during the concert but it was the only song to be omitted from the dvd. It is unclear why this happened.

My collection: 7" single no. 1997
Found: HMV, London, October 18, 1993
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Angel' / 'I call your name'

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Dark is the night - A-ha

A-ha was going through troubled times when they released their 1993 album 'Memorial beach'. There were internal conflicts and conflicts with their record company. And on top of it all, the chart performance of the album was disappointing. The album was entirely recorded at Prince's Paisley Park studios and lacked a lot of what made previous A-ha albums so special.

'Dark is the night' was the first single taken from the album, and the only single from the album to reach the top 20 outside of Norway: it reached number 19 in the UK. It was also the last A-ha single to be released in the United States.

My collection: 7" single no. 1948
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 25, 1993
Cost: 8 guilders
Tracks: 'Dark is the night' / 'Angel in the snow (instrumental)'

Monday, 17 August 2009

The blood that moves the body (The Gun mix) - A-ha

After 'Move to Memphis', one more single was released to promote A-ha's 1992 compilation album 'Headlines and deadlines'. It was a remix of the 1988 single 'The blood that moves the body'. Since that single was the first A-ha single to land outside the UK top 20 in 1988, the record company probably thought it had some room for improvement.

So this remix was made, adding, well, not very much to the original version. The release went by largely unnoticed, and it did not chart. I only found out about the single a year after its release, and had to search for a few more years to finally find this 7" single.

My collection: 7" single no. 2741
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 1996
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'The blood that moves the body (The gun mix)' / 'The blood that moves the body (Two-time gun mix)'

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Move to Memphis - A-ha

'Move to Memphis' was a new track by A-ha, released in 1991 to coincide with the release of 'Headlines and deadlines', their first ever compilation album. The single showed a more mature-sounding A-ha than ever before, already foreshadowing what their next album would sound like. A a new version of 'Move to Memphis' would actually appear on that next album.

The single became A-ha's least successful release up until then, only managing to reach number 47 in the UK singles chart during a two week chart run. The single didn't chart in the Netherlands.

My collection: 7" single no. 1559
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, December 14, 1991
Cost:
3 guilders
Tracks: 'Move to Memphis' / 'Crying in the rain (live)'

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Early morning - A-ha

I wasn't very impressed with the third single off A-ha's 1990 album 'East of the sun west of the moon'. It was 'Early morning', a track that didn't stand out in any way. What's more, it didn't come with any interesting remixes, B-sides or somesuch. However, there was one interesting thing after all: in the UK, the record company released a limited edition 7" box set, which included three postcards and a tourpass. I am a sucker for extras and limited editions, so obviously I went for it.

The single was not a big success, stalling at number 78 in the UK singles chart. It was the last single to be released from the album.

My collection: 7" single no. 2929
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, January 17, 1998
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Early morning' / 'East of the sun'

Friday, 17 July 2009

I call your name - A-ha

'I call your name' was released as the second single from A-ha's fourth album 'East of the sun west of the moon'. As a single release, it was another disappointing one for the fans because it only contained two album tracks. At this point in the band's career, they were very greedy with bonus tracks and remixes.

Maybe this is why the sales were disappointing: the single only charted in France, Germany in the UK, reaching number 45, 37 and 44 respectively.

My collection: 7" single no. 1367
Found: Melody Maker, December 29, 1990
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'I call your name' / 'The way we talk'

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Crying in the rain - A-ha

'Crying in the rain' was written by Howard Greenfield and Carole King and originally recorded by The Everly Brothers. Their version peaked at number 6 in the UK singles chart and number 30 in the Netherlands.

Almost three decades later, in 1990, A-ha recorded their version of the song, making this the only cover version in their career so far. The single reached number 13 in the UK but rose to number 11 in the Netherlands, outperforming the Everly Brothers. The single was their first release from the album 'East of the sun west of the moon', released in November 1990.

My collection: 7" single no. 1314
Found: HMV, London, October 15, 1990
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Crying in the rain' / '(Seemingly) Non-stop July'

Monday, 29 June 2009

You are the one - A-ha

The fourth and final single from A-ha's third album 'Stay on these roads' was 'You are the one'. The track was remixed by Justin Strauss to give the track some extra 'punch'. The strategy worked in some countries: in the UK, for instance, the single reached number 13. In the Netherlands the audience was less impressed: the single did not chart.

The B-side was one of the album's strongest tracks, the lengthy 'Out of blue comes green'. After two rather disappointing singles (for me at least), the band was back on track.

My collection: 7" single no. 696
Found: Present, December 5, 1988
Cost: -
Tracks: 'You are the one (remix)' / 'Out of blue comes green'

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Touchy! - A-ha

Although I was a fan of A-ha's music ever since they hit it big with 'Take on me', I grew increasingly unimpressed by their choice of singles in 1988. The album 'Stay on these roads' was decent enough, but the record company had a knack for choosing the most bland tracks as a single. Things hit rock bottom - in my opinion, of course - when 'Touchy!' was released in the summer of 1988. It was A-ha's most 'autopilot'-inspired track. The audiences still fell for it: the single peaked at number 11 in the UK and number 14 in the Netherlands.

I only bought the single when I found this limited edition with an extra outer sleeve. It features the A-ha logo with green liquid in it. Unfortunately, time has caused a leak in this logo, so my copy does not contain much liquid anymore. I'm curious if anyone reading this still has an intact copy of this.

My collection: 7" single no. 1852
Found: Record fair, January 23, 1993
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Touchy!' / 'Hurry home'

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The blood that moves the body - A-ha

'The blood that moves the body' was released as the second single from A-ha's third album 'Stay on these roads' in June 1988. The enigmatic lyrics of this song have been attributed to many things, including teen suicides in Japan and literary references to 'eyes of a blue dog'. World sales reportedly amounted to 400,000 copies.

Personally I thought this was one of the weaker tracks on the album. It was re-released in March 1992 as a remixed version.

My collection: 7" single no. 648
Found: Free Record Shop, Leiden, August 19, 1988
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'The blood that moves the body' / 'There's never a forever thing'

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Stay on these roads - A-ha

The first single from A-ha's third album 'Stay on these roads' was the title track. The music of this song was created on a Roland D-50 synthesizer, the sound patch is called 'staccatto heaven'. The wind sound during the instrumental was made on a Roland Juno 60 or Juno 106 synthesizer.

As always, Morten Harket's crystal clear voice sways through this song like there's no tomorrow. The single was a number 1 hit in Norway (of course) and went top 10 everywhere else in Europe. The first single from this album was also the best.

My collection: 7" single no. 601
Found: LP top 100, Den Haag, March 25, 1988
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Stay on these roads' / 'Soft rains of April (original mix)'


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Manhattan skyline - A-ha

A day at the record company's office

'So we're going to release a third single from A-ha's album 'Scoundrel days''.
- 'Oh? Which one?'
'I think we should take 'Manhattan skyline.'
- 'Really? You do know it's almost five minutes long, don't you?'
'I know. We should make an edit.'
- 'An edit? How in God's name would you do that?'
'Well, you start by cutting the intro'.
- 'Okay, done. Now what?'
'There's bound to be some repetitive bits in that song. Aren't there?'
- 'Well, there are. But should we really edit them all out?'
'Yeah, no problem. No-one's paying attention to that stuff, it fills up the album nicely but on the single you need to keep up the pace.'
- 'Well if you say so... it's a waste, but okay... done. Now what?'
'What's the running time now?'
- 'We're down to 4 minutes 15 seconds.'
'Okay, good enough. We don't have to spend too much time on this.'
- 'B-side? What do we stick on the B-side?'
'Oh, just take a live track or something.'
- 'A live track? I do have a few, but they all sound horrible.'
'Doesn't matter, no-one ever plays the B-side anyway. Are we done?'
- 'Well, I guess so...'

My collection: 7" single no. 510
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1987
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Manhattan skyline [edit]' / 'We're looking for the whales (live version)'

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