A-Ha's "Take On Me" Becomes the Second '80s Video to Break 1 Billion YouTube Views

On Wednesday, A-ha's "Take On Me" became the second music video from the '80s to pass one billion views on YouTube, after Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine."

In a tweet, the band thanked their fans for helping the video hit the billion views milestone.

🎉Take On Me has hit ONE BILLION views on YouTube 🎉

Thank you to all our fans old and new for helping us to reach this milestone moment. #takeonme1BN pic.twitter.com/1uAjeggFwK

— a-ha (@aha_com) February 18, 2020

The iconic video was directed by Steve Barron, who also directed videos for classic songs like Toto's "Africa" and Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue." He went on to direct seven more videos for A-ha. According to Entertainment Weekly, the video took four months to create, with illustrator Mike Patterson creating 3,000 sketches for the video.

The Norwegian synth-pop group's video, originally released in 1985, has transported viewers to an imaginative world where both animation and live-action film meet. The following year, the video won six MTV Video Music Awards, including Best New Artist in a Video and Viewer's Choice.

In a 2019 making-of video about the song and video, the members of A-ha spoke about the song's staying power. Vocalist Morten Harket chalked up the song's continued popularity to its "buoyant melancholy" and honesty. "Melancholy is about things that are valuable to you," he said. "I think it's a genuine piece."

Keane drummer Richard Hughes added that the video doesn't just get plays for the visual, but because it is "brilliant music, and that's never going to change."

The song has been covered by countless artists in a number of styles, and the video has been parodied and inspired a number of videos to follow.

In a season four episode of Family Guy, Chris Griffin finds himself transported into the music video's iconic animated sequences while going to get milk.

In 2013, a Volkswagen ad paid tribute to the video. The ad showed a man envisioning himself in the music video while driving a Volkswagen. The video cuts away to reveal the man doodling similar illustrations, while singing the song's chorus.

Many artists who have covered the song also released videos that paid tribute to the iconic video.

English comedian Harry Hill parodied the original video by a near-perfect reconstruction, except the comic brought sausages and utensils to the forefront.

When Weezer covered the song for their 2019 Teal self-titled album, they recruited Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard and his band Calpurnia to play a young version of frontman Rivers Cuomo and his band. Mimicking the style of the original video, a mullet-sporting Wolfhard shoots a music video with his band.

Keyboardist Magne Furuholmen said that he's fond of Weezer's take on the video and song. "The Weezer thing is almost like a remake of the song and the video for a young generation," he said in the making-of video. "I loved Stranger Things. So, there's already a lot of things I already like about the idea. I thought Weezer's a cool outfit."

Comedian Brian Posehn also included a metal version of the track on his 2020 comedy album Grandpa Metal, featuring Anthrax's Scott Ian, Fall Out Boy's Joe Trohman, Dethklok's Brendon Small, and Death Angel's Rob Cavestany with guest vocals from Testament's Chuck Billy, Exodus' Steve "Zetro" Souza, and Huntress' Jill Janus.

The song has been featured in many different movies and TV shows, with covers and different versions of the song appearing in La La Land, Deadpool 2, and This is 40.

Some covers of the song have become famous in their own right. Ska-punk band Reel Big Fish's popular cover version was included in the BASEketball soundtrack.

British musician Aqualung covered the track for the season 10 finale of Grey's Anatomy.

The record's producer Alan Tarney summed up A-ha's legacy and how the video will endure. "It has a universally appealing riff. The video has enhanced it greatly," he said. "Everybody seems to love it, and it's just gone on and on. It's timeless."

Magne Furuholmen, Pal Waaktaar-Savoy and Morten Harket of A-ha attends a press conference at Nordische Botschaften on September 12, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The trio's iconic "Take On Me" passed one billion views on YouTube on Wednesday. Sebastian Reuter/Getty