a-ha – Hunting High and Low
June 2, 1986 was one of those days when it seemed that the big groups of the 80s had gathered to release their new songs and especially their fabulous videos. In fact, on that same day, in addition to When Tomorrow Comes by Eurythmics, a-ha released the last single taken from their first.
The album was Hunting High and Low, and had been a worldwide success. Driven by the irresistible Take on Me, which was released in September of the previous year with an unforgettable video, the album had launched other great songs, including The Sun Always Shines on T.V.
Thus we arrive at the fateful June 1986, when the song that titles the whole album comes out. The Norwegian guys had released the album eight months before, so the song was well known and appreciated, but the video helped make it one of the absolute symbols of a-ha’s career.
The song starts slowly, and has an absolutely melodic, very romantic tone. In the final part, however, the drums take over and the song gains strength, almost becoming overwhelming. As we said, the combination of this crescendo with an exceptional video made it one of the most loved songs by the fans of the group.
In the video, the backlit images of a-ha in the recording room alternate with images of wild nature, where the iconic Morten switches between human and animal form, becoming first an eagle, then a shark, and then a lion. The views are truly sensational, and Morten in his animal nature becomes part of these wild environments just to be close to the woman he loves. And indeed the woman, when she sees the shark, is not afraid of it, but she approaches and enters the water.
But we know that love is never easy, and even as a shark Morten has to face the wickedness and jealousy of people, in the form of fishermen who try to hurt him and pull him ashore. And even when he transforms into a lion, he becomes a target for hunters ready to shoot. Luckily for him, the woman will be able to dissuade them from firing. A story that represents everything we are willing to do to be close to the people we love.
The director of this exceptional video was once again the great Steve Barron, who had also directed Take on me, probably the most loved video of all the 80s. Barron was one of the two directors (along with Russell Mulcahy) who with their art had determined the worldwide success of music videos, literally defining their characteristics since the early 1980s. It is fair to remember that from his camera were born absolute masterpieces such as Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Africa by Toto, Don’t you want me by Human League, and Money for Nothing by Dire Straits.
In short, even if the title speaks of highs and lows, thanks to this beautiful song and this fantastic album the popularity of a-ha had really reached stratospheric levels !!!
a-ha on Wikipedia