The three members of Norwegian rock band “a-ha” announced they’re breaking up, to get on with their lives, but folks in the music business don’t think the break-up will last very long. “They’ll be back,” claimed their biographer. “Most certainly.”
Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy released a statement that they “wanted to get more involved in other meaningful aspects of life, be it humanitarian work, politics or whatever else.”
They noted, however, that future projects also included “new constellations in the field of art and music,” and claimed they’re “retiring as a band, not as individuals.”
The band, founded by the three Oslo natives in 1985, has achieved legendary status in Norway. A-ha’s smash hit “Take on me” topped singles lists all over the world, and today the band has sold more than 70 million albums and made the top-10 hit list no fewer than 15 times in Great Britain alone. Norwegian pop music has never been so successful.
They’ve gone their separate ways over the years, launching singles on their own and getting involved in other projects, like Furuholmen with his artwork. They’ve gotten back together, though, gone on new concert tours and recorded new albums. Their most recent album, “Foot of the mountain,” has been wildly popular in Germany and received good reviews all over Europe.
Many in the music business in Norway thus think the band will continue to reunite. “They’ll be back, for sure, maybe in about five years,” Jan Omdahl, who wrote the a-ha biography “The Swing of Things,” told newspaper Aftenposten . “At the same time, I’m not so surprised they’re retiring now. It’s exhausting for three old men to be pop stars.” The success of their latest album, Omdahl noted, also allows them to quit while on top.
Asbjørn Slettemark, another music journalist, was also skeptical that the band’s “retirement” would last. “At some point I expect we’ll see them together on the same stage again,” he said. Nor was he surprised by the announcement, noting that it neatly coincided with that for a new world tour in 2010. The last concert of that tour is to be held in Oslo on December 4 next year, and tickets sold quickly on Friday.
“When a band chooses to announce that they’re quitting, it’s not something we always take very seriously,” Slettemark said.
Several others covering the music business had similar reactions. All agreed a-ha has played a huge role in Norwegian musical history. “They’ve been the biggest pop success in Norway of all time and have been our big source of pride and inspiration,” said Jan Fredrik Karlsen a judge for Idol and X-faktor. “We have a lot to thank them for.”
A-ha’s members thanked their fans for allowing them to live “the ultimate boy’s adventure tale, through a longer, more rewarding career than anyone could hope for.”
The band added that “change is always difficult and it is easy to get set in one’s ways. Now it is time to move on.”