The iconic video from A-ha, which combines live action with pencil-sketch animation, is only the second song from the 1980s to reach the elite YouTube milestone, after Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” crested the one-billion-views mark last fall (and currently has 1.05 billion). The “Take On Me” video is averaging over 480,000 daily views so far in 2020, according to YouTube.
The A-ha music video for “Take On Me,” directed by Steve Barron and first released in 1985, won six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, including for directing and best new artist in a video. It also was nominated for favorite pop/rock video at the 13th American Music Awards in 1986. More recently, “Take on Me” was sampled in Pitbull’s 2013 dance hit “Feel This Moment” featuring Christina Aguilera. On YouTube, it’s available in 4K format in a remastered version.
In a tweet celebrating the milestone, A-ha said on Twitter, “We couldn’t have done this without you, our fans.” The group also announced a new merchandise collection timed for the video reaching 1 billion views, including a T-shirt designed by Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger (the “Take On Me’s” video animators and designers), a 12-by-12-inch art print, and a VHS tape of the official music video.
Other ’80s hits that have racked up hundreds of millions of views to date include Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (currently with 808 million views); Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” (746 million); and The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” (738 million).
Meanwhile, also this week, Eminem’s 2013 release “Rap God” surpassed 1 billion views, joining the rapper’s videos for “Not Afraid” (1.3 billion views) and “Love the Way You Lie” (1.9 billion views). Eminem is currently No. 3 on the U.S. top artists chart and No. 15 on the global top artists chart.