For almost the last nineteen years my working day revolves around driving a van. So far in that time I’m yet to have a vehicle with any capability to play my 2,000 plus tracks stored on my iPhone through the inbuilt stereo. I’ve got a load of CD’s stashed in the groove box that I’ve gone through numerous times, so I just end up listening to the radio. I listen to a local radio station early doors as they play no music until 9am then chop and change as the FM signal strength dictates.
At 9 they have the staple local radio feature of guess the year, renamed differently here and there but essentially the same thing. This morning was 1985 so that’s spoilt that for you then! They actually played some half decent stuff from the 52 week period which got me thinking to my musical life before I bowed down to the altar of metal. Unbelievably I wasn’t born with heavy metal pre loaded into my cerebellum.
Over the course of almost twelve months I’ve posted a few pop songs from my pre teen years, so I thought I’d dial down on the speed and aggression that has been on display lately and reminisce of a bygone era.
First up one of the songs that was featured on the radio today, Take On Me by Norwegian trio A-ha. It reached number two in the UK charts in 1985 on its second release, this song is taken from their debut album Hunting High and Low. This sub four minutes of synth-pop is backed up by one of the most iconic music videos of the era. I’m sure most people have seen the comic book drawings coming to life and manoeuvring people between its pages and the real world with the use of rotoscoping – a combination of live action and animation.
In my early days of my first year at high school in 1985 when I was nearly 13, I knew a boy in what was then the second year through a cub and scout pack I was associated with. I don’t think I owned any music then and one lunch time we went to his house and he was going to knock up a mix tape and this track was going to be on it. To try and save time he was going to press record and fast forward on the tape player and play the 7″ single at a faster speed. Needless to say I’m still waiting for that tape! Thirty one years later though and in the safe, solitary confines of my van I still sing along (badly) and try (and fail) to hit Morten Harket’s high notes.
A-ha are my go to answer when the topic of band member longevity is brought up in conversation on the way to a show. Can you name any bands that have been together for say fifteen years and still have the same line up from day one? The only two I can think of are these guys and London hardcore band Knuckledust. It’s a harder task than you suspect.