The song was recorded in two versions and went through three releases, and the video was done twice, but A-ha’s classic 1985 music video for Take On Me has now passed the one billion views mark on YouTube.
The Norwegian group’s biggest hit and one of the staples of early MTV took wings thanks to the vision of Warner Bros. executive Jeff Ayeroff, who came up with the video’s concept, and video director Steve Barron.
The video features the band in a live action and pencil-sketch sequence called rotoscoping in which the live action footage is traced over frame-by-frame to give the characters realistic movements. Approximately 3,000 frames were rotoscoped, a process that took 16 weeks.
The video went on to win six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards. A-ha joins Guns N’ Roses (November Rain) and Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody) in the billion-views club for videos on YouTube.
Take On Me was originally released in 1984, but didn’t find an audience. When it was re-released the following year, it connected, and went on to hit No. 1 in 36 territories.
The group is still together and starts an Australian tour today.