A-Ha's 10 best songs ever, ranked

20 March 2024, 17:44

A-Ha. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

A-ha, the Norwegian synth-pop trio, emerged from the neon-lit '80s with a sound that was both melodic and slightly eccentric.

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Their music resonated with audiences worldwide, and their influence extended to artists like Chris Martin and U2’s Adam Clayton.

From their iconic hit 'Take On Me' to lesser-known gems, A-ha’s discography spans 10 studio albums and over 40 singles.

Join us on a musical journey through the Norwegian band's celebrated catalogue, where icy synths, anthemic melodies, and lyrical depth collide. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a curious listener, these tracks are bound to captivate you.

  1. Forever Not Yours

    a-ha - Forever Not Yours (Official Video)

    'Forever Not Yours' is a poignant synthpop track released as the first single from their album Lifelines in 2002.

    The song, with its melancholic yet uplifting melody, captures the essence of A-ha’s signature sound.

    The song's lyrics evoke longing and bittersweet memories, emphasizing the pain of good memories hurting more than bad ones. Morten Harket’s emotive delivery adds depth to the heartfelt message.

    The music video was filmed in Cuba and draws inspiration from the Biblical floods and Noah’s Ark. Notably, the VIP entrance scene humorously reveals itself to be a work hall for the crew, poking fun at celebrity culture.

  2. You Are the One

    a-ha - You Are the One (Official Video)

    'You Are the One' emerged as the fourth single from their third studio album, Stay on These Roads (1988). The song, remixed by Justin Strauss, oozes a lighthearted charm that contrasts with the album’s heavier themes.

    The music video, shot in the vibrant streets of New York City, adds to the song’s charm. Scenes from and around The Moondance Diner, a SoHo landmark, feature prominently.

    The song portrays a one-sided love affair. The narrator expresses deep feelings for someone who remains seemingly indifferent. Despite being let down, the narrator clings to love, creating an emotional tension that resonates with listeners.

  3. I've Been Losing You

    A-Ha - I've Been Losing You (1987) [1080p]

    This track was released as the lead single from their second studio album, Scoundrel Days (1986). The track reached number one in Denmark and Norway, and number eight in the UK.

    The song’s lyrics delve into themes of regret, loss, and relationship breakdown. The narrator reflects on the gradual deterioration of their connection with their partner.

  4. Analogue


    'Analogue (All I Want)' is a captivating track that graced their eighth studio album, aptly titled Analogue. Released as a single in late 2005, it swiftly climbed the charts, becoming a top-10 hit in both Norway and the UK.

    Originally, the song was known as 'Minor Key Sonata (Analogue)'. The entire album was produced by Martin Terefe, however, the band enlisted the talents of Max Martin to give it a radio-friendly makeover.

    Martin tweaked the lyrics, making them less surreal, and crafted a more memorable chorus. The result? The rechristened 'Analogue (All I Want)'.

  5. Crying in the Rain

    a-ha - Crying in the Rain (Official Video)

    'Crying in the Rain' is a moving song that different artists have interpreted over the years.

    Co-written by Carole King and Howard Greenfield, American duo The Everly Brothers recorded it, and their version was a big hit in 1962.

    In 1990, A-ha released their rendition of the song. It was the first single taken from their fourth studio album, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Following its success, A-ha became close to the Everly Brothers. The band members were presented with a set of guitars by the duo that A-ha continued to use.

  6. Stay on These Roads

    a-ha - Stay On These Roads (Official Video)

    This is a haunting synthpop ballad that transcends the icy grip of despair. Released in 1988 as the lead single from their third studio album of the same name, the song weaves layers of human experience, resilience, and unwavering companionship.

    The song serves as a quiet anthem for endurance, resonating with those burdened by adversity.

    Pal Waaktaar-Savoy, a-ha’s songwriter, drew inspiration from his long-distance relationship with his wife, Lauren. The lyrics encourage perseverance, assuring that love will endure despite physical separation.

  7. The Living Daylights

    The Living Daylights • Theme Song • A-ha

    'The Living Daylights' is the theme song from the 1987 James Bond film of the same name. Written by guitarist Pal Waaktaar, it captures the intrigue and action synonymous with Bond.

    The film marked Timothy Dalton’s debut as 007, and 'The Living Daylights' set the tone for his serious portrayal of the iconic spy.

    A-ha collaborated with legendary score composer John Barry, who had worked on numerous Bond themes. However, their relationship was fraught with tension. Barry compared working with them to “playing ping-pong with four balls.”

  8. Hunting High and Low

    a-ha - Hunting High and Low (Official Video)

    'Hunting High and Low' was the fifth and final single from a-ha’s debut studio album of the same name, released in 1986.

    While it didn’t chart in the United States, it reached the top five in both the UK and Ireland.

    The original album version was produced by Tony Mansfield and features a synth-driven sound. For its single release, the track underwent a remix, incorporating additional production by Alan Tarney and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

  9. The Sun Always Shines on TV

    a-ha - The Sun Always Shines on T.V. (Official Video)

    'The Sun Always Shines on TV' is a stunning track that blends melancholy with an infectious melody. Released in 1985, it became one of the band’s most recognizable and popular songs.

    The song was penned by Pal Waaktaar, a-ha’s guitarist. He and keyboardist Mags Furuholmen were in a hotel room, watching English television on a rainy day.

    The announcer declared, “It’s a rainy day, but, as always, the sun always shines on TV.” This phrase sparked the song’s theme: the power of television and how it shapes our perception of life.

  10. Take on Me

    a-ha - Take On Me (Official Video) [Remastered in 4K]

    There could only really be one number one, couldn't there?

    'Take On Me' is a truly iconic track that has left an unforgettable mark on music history.

    The song’s roots trace back to Pål Waaktaar and Magne Furuholmen’s previous band, Bridges. They composed a number called 'The Juicy Fruit Song', which eventually morphed into 'Take On Me'.

    The trio, including singer Morten Harket, worked on demos, refining the song’s catchy keyboard riff and transforming it into the hit we know today.

    The original 1984 version, produced by Tony Mansfield, failed to chart in the UK. The 1985 international hit version, produced by Alan Tarney, propelled the band to global fame.

    The innovative music video, directed by Steve Barron, featured live-action pencil-sketch animation, captivating audiences worldwide. It has been seen over 1.5 billion times on YouTube.