The Sun Always Shines on T.V.

"The Sun Always Shines on T.V."
Single by A-ha
from the album Hunting High and Low
  • "Driftwood"
  • "The Sun Always Shines On T.V." (Instrumental)
Released 16 December 1985
Recorded 1985
  • 4:40 (Single Version)
  • 5:08 (Album Version)
  • 7:09 (Extended Version)
  • 8:28 (U.S. Steve Thompson Dance Mix)
  • 6:38 (Instrumental Version)
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Pål Waaktaar
Producer(s) Alan Tarney
Certification UK: Silver[1]
A-ha singles chronology
"Love is Reason"
"The Sun Always Shines on T.V."
"Train of Thought"
2003 re-release chronology
"Did Anyone Approach You?"
"The Sun Always Shines On T.V. A-ha Live"
2003 cover

"The Sun Always Shines on T.V." is a song by Norwegian pop rock music band A-ha. It was released as the third single from their hit debut album Hunting High and Low. In some commercial markets the single was not as popular as their previous (debut) single "Take On Me", which had achieved #1 in the United States and several other countries around the world, but in the United Kingdom, and Ireland, it improved upon the #2 charting of Take On Me, reaching #1 on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in January 1986, having been released there on 16 December 1985. Its success secured for the band the prestige of having achieved #1 single status in both the primary Anglo-American popular music charts on either side of the Atlantic.[2][3]

The song was re-released by the band as a live version in 2003 with some minor success in Eastern Europe. It has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.[4]

Origin and recording

The band's Paul Waaktaar-Savoy said,

… we wrote "The Sun Always Shines On T.V.," that Andrew Wickham's secretary felt was a hit. She convinced him to make room for it. When we recorded it, we were really sick with influenza. Magne and Morten were lying in the studio on camping beds with high fevers.[5]

Waaktaar-Savoy wrote and composed the complete drum track for this song.

The bass line for the song was performed using a Yamaha DX7. Other synthesizers include PPG Wave, Roland Juno-60 and sampled instruments such as the oboe during the introduction.

Portions of the song's main lyrics were first used on the unreleased track "Never Never".

Release and reception

"The Sun Always Shines on T.V." was released in autumn 1985, becoming the second successful single from Hunting High and Low and one of the band's most recognizable and popular songs. The song peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also went Top 5 in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, as well as in the band's home country of Norway. The single reached number one in Ireland and on the British Singles Chart which was a bigger chart position there than for "Take On Me".

Tim DeGravine of Allmusic later wrote of the song,

"The Sun Always Shines on T.V." is just as thrilling [as "Take on Me"]. Starting as a sad ballad, it explodes into something much more, as chugging guitars and operatic synths keep pace with Harket's evocative vocal stylings. If ever a 1980s song qualified as Wall of Sound, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." would be it.[6]

None of the versions released on the single were available on the band's album. The single mix was shortened down to 4:30, while the 12" featured an extended mix and instrumental version mixed by Steve Thompson. The b-side, "Driftwood" is a non-album track produced by the band.

There are two versions of the extended mix. The first UK release is 7:09, it starts with a slow piano intro, while the second one is the commonly known remix by Steve Thompson.[7]

Music video

In early October 1985 A-ha recorded the video for The Sun Always Shines On TV at Saint Alban the Martyr Church and Udney Hall Gardens at Teddington, Middlesex, in England over three days with the Director Steve Barron.[8]

The video opens with an epilogue scene to the highly successful Take on Me video, continuing with the use of rotoscoped animation. The romantic young lovers (played by Morten Harket and Bunty Bailey) having survived the ordeal of the first video's story now face one another in a night wood. Suddenly the male youth begins physically reverting to his original animated condition from the Take on Me video's story-line. The female youth in distress realizes that he cannot remain in her world. In pain, he flees the scene into the distance back to his comic book world, she being left behind, sundered from him. At this point the camera rises vertically away from her alone and closing credits roll in the style of the end of a Hollywood classic film bearing the legend: The End, A Warner Bros. First Picture, followed by an animation of a television graphic with the text: you are watching channel 3, [Note 1][9] followed by the A-ha stylized brand logo. The next scene opens on A-ha performing The Sun Always Shines on TV (with a session drummer (Lindsay Elliot) [8] and a bass player also being present) within the dramatic setting of the interior of an English Victorian Gothic church. The performance is filmed mainly in black-and-white footage, with splashes of pastel coloring; spectating at the performance is a dense crowd throughout the church of bare mannequins, some being clothed in formal concert dress holding musical instruments to represent the song's classical instrumentation arrangement. The video ends with A-ha being cut out from the background and becoming a still frame. The music video for the band's next single, Train of Thought, would pick up from this cue shot, making a visual & story trilogy of Take On Me, The Sun Always Shines on TV and Train of Thought. At the 1986 MTV Video Music Award the video won in the category Best Editing in a Video (Editor: David Yardley) and "Best Cinematography in a Video" (Director of Photography: Oliver Stapleton) it also received a nomination for "Best Art Direction in a Video" (Art Director: Stefan Roman).

Formats and track listing

7": Warner Bros. / W 8846 United Kingdom

  1. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." – 4:30
  2. "Driftwood" – 3:04

12": Warner Bros. / W 8846T United Kingdom

  1. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." (U.S. Steve Thompson Dance Mix) – 8:25
  2. "Driftwood" – 3:04

12": Warner Bros. / W 8846(T) United Kingdom

  1. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." (Extended Version) – 7:09
  2. "Driftwood" – 3:04

7": Warner Bros. / 9 28846-7 United States

  1. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." – 4:40
  2. "Driftwood" – 3:04

12": Warner Bros. / 20410-0 United States

  1. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." (U.S. Steve Thompson Dance Mix) – 8:25
  2. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." (Instrumental) – 6:38
  3. "Driftwood" – 3:04

Notable live performances

A-ha performed this song at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in 1998 alongside the new song "Summer Moved On."[6]

A live version of "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." was the only single released from the 2003 A-ha album How Can I Sleep With Your Voice In My Head, the music video for it being directed by Pal Waaktaar's wife Lauren Savoy.


U2 stated that "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." heavily influenced the composition of their 2000 single release, "Beautiful Day."[10] Bono paid tribute to it by combining the two songs together a concert in Oslo, Norway in 2005.[11]


Weekly charts

Year Chart Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 19
Austrian Singles Chart 8
Belgium Singles Chart 8
Danish Singles Chart 2
Dutch Top 50 4
Finnish Singles Chart 6
French Singles Chart 10
German Singles Chart 5
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 11
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart 81
New Zealand Singles Sales 12
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
South African Singles Chart 8
Swedish Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 7
UK Singles Chart[13] 1
US Billboard Hot 100 20
US Airplay Hot 100 17
US Hot Dance Music Club Play 4
US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 5
US Top Mainstream Rock 24
1986 Canadian RPM Singles Chart[14] 11
2003 German Singles Chart live version 53
Hungarian Singles Chart live version 9
Spanish Singles Chart live version 31

Year-end charts

Chart (1985-1986) Position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[14] 95
German Singles Chart 39
Italian singles Chart 56
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 49
UK Singles Chart[13] 21


Country Provider Certification Sales/shipments
France SNEP Silver[16] 200,000+
Italy FIMI Silver[16] 200,000+
Germany IFPI Silver[16] 250,000+
United Kingdom BPI Silver 405,000


Diva version

"The Sun Always Shines on T.V."
Single by Diva
from the album Compromise
B-side Remix
Released 1994
Format CD single
Length 4:58
Label PolyGram
Writer(s) Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Producer(s) Ole Evenrud, G. O. Bøkestad
Diva singles chronology
"The Sun Always Shines on T.V."
"Stand And Deliver"
Music video
"The Sun Always Shines on T.V." on YouTube

A cover version of "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." was released 1994 single by Norwegian Eurodance group Diva, consisting of the singers Helene Sommer and Elene Nyborg.[29] It is a cover of the 1985 single by Norwegian band A-ha. The song reached number 9 on the charts in Norway.[30] In 1995 it reached number 53 on the charts in UK.[31] A music video was made to promote the song, directed by Lauren Waaktaar-Savoy. The video was banned by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK, they found the video too controversial.

Track listing


  1. "The Sun Always Shines On TV" (Radio Edit) - 4:58
  2. "The Sun Always Shines On TV" (Long Version) - 6:15

Maxi-single (remix)

  1. "The Sun Always Shines On TV" (Remix) - 4:58
  2. "The Sun Always Shines On TV" (Club Mix) - 6:15
  3. "The Sun Always Shines On TV" (Original Mix) - 4:58

Chart performance

Chart (1994) Peak
Norway (VG-lista Topp 20)[32] 2
United Kingdom (UK Singles Chart)[33] 53

Other cover versions


  1. "BPI : Home". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  2. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 458. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. Archived 10 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Buskin, Richard (March 2011). "Classic Tracks: A-ha - Take On Me". Sound On Sound magazine. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  5. "Videos. The Official Website of a-ha". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  6. 1 2 Tim DiGravina (4 December 2010). "Hunting High and Low - a-ha | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  7. 1 2 Suzie Dent. "a-ha diary 1984 - 2010.".
  8. The Sun Always Shines on TV video 0.52-1.03 mins.
  9. "U2 admits taking melody line from a-ha". The Official Website of a-ha.
  10. 'U2 Beautiful Day/the sun always shines on tv, Oslo 2005' on Youtube
  11. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). Sydney: Australian Chart Book. p. 13. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. 1 2 "Home". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  13. 1 2 "Top Singles - Volume 43, No. 23, March 1, 1986". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. 1 March 1986. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  14. "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1986" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. "Norwegian Singles Chart". VG-lista. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  17. "American Single Charts". VG-lista. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  18. "American Single Charts". Billboard. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  19. "British Single Chart". UK Top 40. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  20. "Swedish Singles Chart". Hitlista. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  21. "French Singles Chart". Palmares. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  22. "Austrian Singles Chart". Austria Top 40. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  23. "Swiss Singles Chart". Schweizer Hitparade. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  24. "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Chart. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
  25. "German Singles Chart". Charts-Surfer. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2008.
  26. 1 2 "Italian Singles Chart". hitparadeitalia. Retrieved 7 June 2008.
  27. Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales
  28. "Diva". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  29. "VG-lista - Diva / The Sun Always Shines on T.V.". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  30. "UK Singles Chart - Diva / The Sun Always Shines on T.V.". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  31. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", Norwegian Singles Chart (Retrieved September 11, 2015)
  32. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.", UK Singles Chart (Retrieved September 11, 2015)
  33. "Milk Inc* - The Sun Always Shines On TV". Discogs.


  1. A possible subliminal image joke is contained within this graphic in the shape of a hidden phallic image utilizing the word and number 'channel 3'.
Preceded by
"West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys
UK number one single
25 January 1986 – 8 February 1986
Succeeded by
"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" by Billy Ocean
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/19/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.