[Scoundrel Years] -- 35 years ago this week, Norwegian new wavers A-ha released their sophomore record, Scoundrel Days. This studio album featured the huge hit ... well ... um ... if you were part of the casual US record buying market in 1986, you probably don't recall any hits from this album. Of course, you might not recall any A-ha songs beyond "Take On Me" and "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." from their 1985 debut, Hunting High and Low. And maybe you've heard their 1987 Bond theme, "The Living Daylights." But you probably gave a pass to Scoundrel Days which peaked at a mere #74 on the US Billboard 200 and had one top 50 track in the states.
Let's back up. You see, after the success of A-ha's debut album, their record company was hungry for a cookie-cutter follow up. But the band was ready to move on, and they basically responded with, "No, we don't want to record another 'Take on Me,' we're doing our own thing" (Rolling Stone, 2010). And that was a good decision. While the US largely ignored Scoundrel Days, it turned out to be an international hit. The record racked up Platinum sales as it hit #2 in the UK and #4 in Belgium, Germany, and New Zealand; it even broke into the top 10 in Austria, the Netherlands, France, Japan, and Switzerland. Three of the singles -- "I’ve Been Losing You," "Cry Wolf," and "Manhattan Skyline" -- were top 40 hits in the UK and many other countries. "Cry Wolf" was the only single released in the US and it performed admirably (if still disappointing for record execs) on several US charts; it peaked at #14 on US Dance Club Songs, #30 on US Dance Singles Sales, #51 on US Cash Box Top 100 Singles, and #50 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
It's a solid record, and you owe it to your 1980s-loving heart to give it a listen. And, uh, let me know what you think of "We're Looking For The Whales" and "The Weight of the Wind," would ya? You'll find them as tracks #7 and #8 on the CD (or the YouTube playlist), or the second and third tracks on side B of the vinyl or cassette.
Flashback: Scoundrel Days (1986)
That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!