When Aha took cheekbones and pop tunes to the top of the charts, record companies suddenly decided that there must be loads of other Scandinavian bands hidden away. As a result there were one or two signings and releases but with no one looking quite as good in leather wrist bands and denim shirts they soon lost interest.
However one band stood out from the rest. Norway's Fra Lippo Lippi were already on their 3rd lp by the time Virgin snapped them up.
Virgin should have known that they weren't going to get quite the pure pop machine of Aha, the fact that the band had named themselves after a 15th century Italian painter kind of gave the game away. However this didn't mean that they couldn't pen a good tune and the lp Songs had 10 of them.
The lp did enough for Virgin to ask for another lp. This time they worked with Walter Becker (Steely Dan's producer) with a aim of breaking the US market. The lp suffers for it as they lost some of that european sound that made them stand out in the first place. In another case of record company brilliance the label then promptly dropped them. A strange popularity in the Philippines meant that more lps followed but none really lived up to Songs.
This was one of those lps that for some reason I only had on tape and so it got played in the car a lot. When i moved to Glasgow I used to have to go back to Leeds a lot and so these songs are forever linked with driving at night and struggling along the A1 and across the A66
I've posted a couple tracks that show the 2 styles of the lp , mid tempo and melodic , slow and melodic (also I'm a sucker for any song with home in the lyric/title).
So I guess something good came of Take on Me and that annoying Steve Barron video.
You can buy Songs here, they also have a compilation of the 2 lps that they did for Virgin, but if you like melodic pop then I'd stick with Songs