Released today in 1986: Hunting High And Low

Warner Bros W6663

Warner Bros W6663

A-Ha used the phrase ‘hunting high and low’ not only for the name of featured song on the single shown above, but also for the title track of their debut album and the slogan for their first world tour.

The single

The song was chosen to be the last single taken from the album in late spring 1986. A special mix of the track was used, featuring an orchestra. The orchestra was portrayed in what would become another memorable promotional clip filmed to promote the release. Images of the group and members of the orchestra were depicted in silhouette as if captured in a rotating shadow lantern. The imagery was then continued when this footage was intercut with film of a silhouetted Morten Harket morphing into various animated creatures that were either hunters or the hunted.

The album

Designers Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff and Jeri McManus (who were also responsible for Madonna’s Like A Virgin sleeve, which had a similar colour palette) used a photograph by Just Loomis for the album cover artwork, and they were nominated for “Best Album Package”, the award for cover art and packaging, at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards held on 25 February 1986. First issued in Norway and the US on 10 June 1985, the album was already certified by the RIAA as having sold half a million copies in America by the time it appeared in the UK in late October 1985. Sales here quickly caught up with the States. It had earned a silver disc from the BPI by Christmas that year, indicating around 60,000 copies shipped, but it was during 1986 that the bulk of its sales were made. It went gold the following month (over 100k sales) shortly before it reached #2 on 18 January, a position it would hold on to from then until the end of February. (It never made it to the top.) By that time, sales were estimated to have exceeded 300 thousand copies (a platinum disc was awarded), and that figure would be doubled by September. It ended 1986 as the seventh best-selling album of the year in the UK, fifth best if the two Now That’s What I Call Music compilations that were issued during the year are disallowed.

The tour

The Hunting High And Low world tour began at The Concert Hall in Perth, Australia, the day after the single of the same name was released in the UK. The set-list for shows in the tour included all the tracks from the Hunting High And Low album plus some other tracks that had recently been recorded for their forthcoming second album. The running order was amended slightly as the tour progressed as new songs for this album were written, but in Australia it ran as follows:

1. Train Of Thought (from Hunting High And Low, also issued as a single worldwide)
2. Love Is Reason (from Hunting High And Low, also issued as a single in Norway in March 1985. It was also used as the B-side to the second issue of Take On Me in the UK and other territories)
3. Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale (from Hunting High And Low)
4. Cry Wolf (recorded for Scoundrel Days album, a forthcoming international single)
5. The Blue Sky (from Hunting High And Low, a demo version of the song was used on the Hunting High And Low single.)
6. Manhattan Skyline (recorded for Scoundrel Days album, a forthcoming international single)
7. The Sun Always Shines On TV (from Hunting High And Low and a single worldwide.)
8. Driftwood (the B-side to the single directly above)
9. Here I Stand And Face The Rain (from Hunting High And Low)
10. We’re Looking For The Whales (from Scoundrel Days. The performance of the song on 19 January 1987 at Fairfield Hall in London was recorded and used as the B-side to forthcoming single Manhattan Skyline)
11. And You Tell Me (from Hunting High And Low, also the original B-side of Take On Me; a demo version of the song was used as the B-side to the Train Of Thought single)
12. Hunting High And Low
13. Dream Myself Alive (from Hunting High And Low)
14. Scoundrel Days (title track of the forthcoming second album)
Encore. Take On Me (from Hunting High And Low and international single)

The tour itinerary was as follows:

Country First date Final date
Australia 3 June 1986 24 June 1986
Japan 2 July 1986 24 July 1986
USA and Canada 8 August 1986 24 October 1986
Continental Europe:
Austria 1 November 1986
Switzerland 3 November 1986
France 6 November 1986 12 November 1986
Germany 14 November 1986 22 November 1986
Belgium 23 November 1986
Holland 25 November 1986
Denmark 27 November 1986
Sweden 28 November 1986 29 November 1986
UK and Ireland 4 December 1986 27 January 1987
Norway 30 January 1987 10 February 1987

NEW SINGLES on sale from Jun. 2
1986
A-HA Hunting High And Low (Warner Bros W6663)
EURYTHMICS When Tomorrow Comes (RCA DA7)
FAT BOYS Sex Machine (Atlantic A8674)
The MISSION (Wayne Hussey) Serpent’s Kiss (Chapter 22 CHAP67)

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