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This Week in Billboard Chart History: 30 Years Ago, a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ Topped the Hot 100

In 1985, the pop classic reigned, thanks in part to its memorable video. Plus, remembering chart feats by Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins & Tim McGraw.

Your weekly recap celebrating significant milestones from more than seven decades of Billboard chart history.

Oct. 19, 1985

With its memorable comic book style video, a-ha‘s “Take on Me” topped the Billboard Hot 100. The band has released a 30th-anniversary edition of parent album Hunting High and Low, while a new version of the song, remixed by Kygo, recently hit No. 25 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. (In 2013, the song even returned to the Hot 100’s top 10: as incorporated into Pitbull’s No. 8-peaking “Feel This Moment,” featuring Christina Aguilera.) The Norwegian trio last month also released Cast in Steel, its first album of new material since 2009. The new set debuted at No. 8 on the Official UK Albums chart.

“The obvious highlight [was] when ‘Take On Me’ made number one in America,” a-ha’s Morten Harket has mused. “That was a real turning point for the group.”

Oct. 20, 2007


Bruce Springsteen became boss of the Billboard 200 with his album Magic. The set arrived as his eighth No. 1. Now with 11, only the Beatles (19) and Jay Z (13) have more.

Oct. 21, 1995

Twenty years ago today: the song in which Darius Rucker was man enough to admit that the Dolphins make him cry, Hootie & the Blowfish‘s “Only Wanna Be With You,” wrapped a two-week reign on Adult Pop Songs.

Oct. 22, 1988

Phil Collins‘ “Groovy Kind of Love” topped the Billboard Hot 100. The original version by the Mindbenders peaked at No. 2 in 1966.

Oct. 23, 1999

Santana‘s late-’90s comeback was in full force, as “Smooth,” featuring Rob Thomas, began a 12-week command on the Billboard Hot 100. Parent album Supernatural also spent 12 weeks atop the Billboard 200.

Oct. 24, 1942

An historic date: Billboard premieres its first R&B singles sales chart, the 10-position “Harlem Hit Parade.” The list ranked the “most popular records in Harlem,” based on sales reports from six area retailers. The first No. 1? Andy Kirk‘s “Take It and Git.”

Oct. 25, 1997

Tim McGraw notches his fifth Hot Country Songs No. 1 with “Everywhere.” He’s since upped his count to a whopping 25 toppers.