Unreleased a-ha Demos

This page is designed to document some of the a-ha demos which are out there! Thanks to Chris Hopkins for providing this information.

Using the "The Swing Of Things" demo CD as a guide, here's a look at some a-ha demo's and their different versions. This is just a guide and is by no means complete.

The Swing Of Things Book   The Demo Tapes

  1. Take On Me - This demo was recorded at Rendezvous studio in Sydenham in April 1983. It was the first version featuring the complete song as we know it. An earlier version with a different refrain called "Lesson One" was recorded at Naersnes, Norway between September-November 1982. This featured different lyrics and the chorus was different. Previous to this, Bridges had recorded a version entitled "The Juicyfruit Song" in 1981. This again has a different chorus.
  2. Presenting Lily Mars - Inspired by the 1942 film of the same name, this version was recorded at Naersnes in autumn 1982. a-ha re-recorded this in Rendezvous studio in 1984 as a possible B-side or album track but this version, sadly, remains unissued. The song is less fragile in the 1984 recording.
  3. Dot The i - This version was recorded at Naersnes in autumn 1982. It has been edited for the CD release as the original mastertape features Morten yodelling. Obviously, a-ha were worried about releasing that! It was re-recorded at Rendezvous in April 1983 and was in fact the first track a-ha recorded there.
  4. Days On End - Rendezvous Demo from October 1983, features Paul on piano and Morten on trombone (Mags was absent). Interestingly, it was not the original title...On the tape box from the studio it is written as "If You Do".
  5. The Love Goodbye - Another Rendezvous demo from Spring '83. This had also been recorded at Naersnes in Autumn 1982 with different lyrics and refrain.
  6. Monday Mourning - Rendezvous demo late 1983.
  7. Never Never - As track 6.
  8. Na Blaser Det Pa Jorden - Translated as "Now It Blows On The Earth", this is a-ha's virgin performance, the first song they ever committed to tape in September 1982. It is not however, contrary to some sources, the only song a-ha recorded in Norwegian.
  9. Go To Sleep - Rendezvous demo, late 1983. The opening lines were re-used in "And You Tell Me".
  10. Hunting High And Low - Rendezvous demo, 1984.
  11. I've Been Losing You - Rendezvous demo, 1984. Another demo of this was recorded at Octocon studio, Oslo in 1985. Additionally, there is a version by Bridges dating from 1981.
  12. The Swing Of Things - There are at least three demo's of this song. It is unclear where this one was recorded.
  13. Living A Boys Adventure Tale - Although this is a bonus track on the demo CD, it is in fact NOT a demo. It is an early mix of the album version with different drums and vocals. There was a demo of this song recorded at Naersnes in 1982 which features different lyrics.

Additionally, there are several other unreleased songs/versions known to exist and are detailed below.

  1. What's That You're Doing To Yourself - Recorded at Rendezvous studio, Autumn 1983. This is a very upbeat and rhythmic song with a catchy bassline.
  2. Touchy! - 1983 Rendezvous demo with different lyrics about hay fever!
  3. Train Of Thought - 1983 Rendezvous demo. Completely different lyrics in parts and also features the guitar riff from "Cold River".
  4. Nothing To It - 1983 Rendezvous demo. Upbeat pop song. This is the song where the name a-ha originated. a-ha re-recorded this with a full band and saxophone later that year but both versions remain unreleased.
  5. All The Planes That Come In On The Quiet - Recorded at Rendezvous late Autumn 1983. This song was originally recorded by Bridges for the POEM album. An absolutely stunning song, very melancholy and reminds of The Doors and Procul Harum. It's difficult to understand why this wasn't on a-ha's first album.
  6. You'll End Up Crying - Slightly stripped down but otherwise identical to the version on "Stay On These Roads". Recorded at Rendezvous, Autumn 1983.
  7. You're So White - Rendezvous demo 1984.
  8. This Streetful City - Written By Magne Furuholmen. Rendezvous demo.
  9. Maybe Maybe - 1985 demo. Features different lyrics.
  10. Scoundrel Days - Recorded at Octocon studios, Oslo, June 1985. This was the template for the album version.
  11. Umbrella (often referred to as "Telephone") - This track features samples of Lauren Savoy and Viggo Bondi doing the opera voice. Rendezvous demo 1984.
  12. She's Humming A Tune - Rendezvous demo 1983/84
  13. Innocence - Rendezvous demo 1983/84
  14. They To Me And I To Them - Rendezvous demo 1983/84
  15. Am I What? - Rendezvous demo 1983/84

Note: The track Something's Real is often mistaken as an a-ha demo. According to a close source, this is not an a-ha track.

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