a-ha vs. U2 – Song Parallels
In a recent edition of Song Parallels, we explored the possibility that Kris Allen might have lifted a page from the U2 songbook -- but as it turns out, Bono and his pals may have been guilty of doing a little borrowing without asking themselves.
Just ask Norwegian pop legends a-ha, whose worldwide hit 'The Sun Always Shines on TV' served as the follow-up to their smash 'Take On Me' -- and seems to have provided U2 with a few of the ingredients for 'Beautiful Day,' the leadoff single for 2000's 'All That You Can't Leave Behind.'
For the most part, 'Beautiful Day' doesn't really sound like 'The Sun Always Shines on TV.' Where the latter song is all sweeping melody and dramatic synths, the former is more of a surging rocker, an expression of hope in the face of uncertain times. But while the verses and chorus look forward to the future, the bridge looks inward -- and all the way back to 1985, when Top 40 fans were busily phoning in to request the latest from a-ha.
To their credit, the members of a-ha didn't make a fuss about the similarity between the songs, even as 'Beautiful Day' rose to the top of the charts -- but then again, they didn't really need to; despite being thought of as one-hit wonders on American shores, the band remained a solid draw throughout Europe until their farewell tour in 2010.
Listen to a-ha, 'The Sun Always Shines on TV'
Listen to U2, 'Beautiful Day'