A-ha has unveiled a 4k restoration of their revolutionary rotoscoped video for their Eighties smash “Take on Me.”
A-ha famously released two versions of “Take on Me” and two videos for the song. The first arrived in 1984, and the second appeared on the Norwegian outfit’s 1985 debut album, Hunting High and Low. The video for the second version of the song was directed by Steve Barron and used rotoscoping — a mix of live-action and pencil animation — to tell a fantastical love story.
As a press release for the 4k version of “Take on Me” notes, most music videos from this time were edited in tape format, while this clip was uniquely restored from the original 35mm film reels. A-ha also shared a short side-by-side video to show how the 4k restoration has made the clip more vibrant and crisp.
Upon its release, “Take on Me” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the video became a mainstay on MTV. Almost 35 years later, the clip’s revolutionary look continues to compel viewers and it’s primed to join a select group of older songs to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. Other pre-2000 tracks to hit the milestone include Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
In November, A-ha shared a three-part docuseries that delved into the making of “Take on Me,” both the song and video. A month before that, the band found itself pulled into a minor controversy when President Donald Trump posted a video on Twitter that also used rotoscoping in a way that recalled the “Take on Me” video.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, keyboardist and co-songwriter Magne Furuholmen said, “You want to be careful about deciding who’s allowed to do what with what you put out in the world. …We make our music for everybody. We didn’t intend to make our music part of a divisive campaign and, all things equal, would have preferred it not to have been.”