a-ha – The Sun Always Shines on T.V.
December, in the northern half of the world, is not exactly the month when the sun shines. Then of course, some countries have a better weather than others. Generally England and Norway are not among them, which probably explains why Norwegians who are working in England can be adversely affected by the weather. And indeed the story of this song begins just like that, like a funny story: there are three Norwegians in London. Except that the three Norwegians are a-ha, always written with a in italic, and they are in London to work on their album. Right now Pål and Magne are in a hotel room, and it’s raining outside, as usual. The television in the room tries to offer a minimum of support and fun, and the presenter says more or less: “Don’t worry if it’s raining outside, the sun always shines on T.V.”
Pål is impressed by this phrase, and begins to write a song around it. In his intentions, the song speaks exactly of the power of television, of how it can portray life and in fact also give a different vision from reality, as Pål himself explained later. To tell the truth, reading the lyrics, the song seems to have become somewhat detached from the original intentions, at least looking at the words.
In a way, the concept of bad weather accompanies a-ha during the making of the song, also because when the day of the recording comes, the boys are hit by a strong flu and find themselves playing all with a high temperature! Evidently the final outcome of the song was not affected.
When the song is ready, there is another important moment, because the production company doesn’t seem to be completely convinced. This time, fate involves the secretary of their producer, who is absolutely convinced that this song will have a resounding success. The producer decides to trust her: the song will then be included on the album Hunting High and Low.
Eventually the song came out on December 16, 1985 (except in some European countries and the United States, where it came out a couple of months earlier). At that moment a-ha were absolutely the band of the moment, just three months after Take On Me was released. Three months that were enough to really get them into the elite of European pop groups, along with Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Alphaville, Simple Minds and others. The keyboard riff of Take On Me, the video shot by Steve Barron with the technique of rotoscoping, and the charm of Morten Harket had really brought the three Norwegian boys to the center of the stage. And so the production decided to continue on the same path, explicitly, as if trying not to break the spell.
For this reason the video of The Sun Always Shines on T.V. literally begins where the video of Take On Me ended: near a tree we find the two lovers of Take On Me, Morten Harket and actress and model Bunty Bailey, but suddenly Morten turns into a cartoon again, and at this point begins the real video of this song. The setting is suggestive, the gothic church of St. Alban in Teddington, a suburb in southwest London. In the church we see a-ha singing, with the support of a couple of additional musicians, and above all there are hundreds of mannequins, many acting as audience among the benches, other in formal suits seem to play like an orchestra, other faces are hanging on the walls.
There is something disturbing: at any moment we expect the mannequins to come to life, but it will not happen. The video ends with a frame a little different from the others for setting and color, and obviously from this frame the video of the next a-ha song will start, which by the way will be Train of Thought.
The Sun Always Shines on T.V. was a real success. In many countries it came very close to the success of Take on Me, but without being able to match it. In other countries, including England, it even came in first position, while Take On Me had stopped in second position. In short, with any song, at that time really the sun always shone on a-ha!
a-ha on Wikipedia