A-Ha was Mrs. Life In The Vinyl Lane’s first favorite band and is still probably in her Top 3 (and maybe still #1), and we all know what an impact your first favorite band has on your musical life – you never ever forget them. So when I saw there would be a Record Store Day release of early alternate mixes of their seminal album Hunting High And Low I knew I needed to be on the lookout for a copy. Frankly I didn’t expect it to be that hard to find, even though the edition size was fairly small (2,450 copies… not 2,500 mind you, 2,450…) for such an iconic band, but we struck out locally. Fortunately, however, Al Gore invented the internets I and was able to secure a copy for pretty much the retail price online via Discogs. Thanks Al!
I’m not an expert on the A-Ha catalog. Certainly I know the mega-hits from Hunting High And Low (“Take On Me” and “The Sun Always Shines On TV”) because, well, if you watched MTV at all in 1985-86 you couldn’t miss these videos – “Take On Me” in particular seemed to be played about once an hour for six months straight. I also don’t have nearly enough experience with this record to hear the differences between the studio version and these alternate takes, though Holly certainly could. What I can tell you is that this thing sounds perfect – no cracking, no hissing, pure sonic clarity. In fact I’d say it’s probably one of the 10 best sounding records I own. So if you’re interested, have no fear – these “early” takes are fully produced and sound tremendous.