Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy birthday Morten Harket

I'm sure there are umlauts, or other Norwegian-type symbols missing from his name. Sorry. This morning's birthday list was a challenging mix: Faith Ford (liked her 20 years ago), Melissa Leo (reminds me I need to watch Frozen River), the lead singer for a-ha (they were a band)... I did a quick search, I'd hate to limit my options to currently living pop culture types and miss someone relevant like Billy Wilder, and I found Margaret Sanger which is one of those names, like Sojourner Truth, that I kinda know I should know, but oh god it's not even 7:30 a.m. so I don't remember (thank you inter-tubes: she was pivotal in the early 20th century in the birth control movement--her organization, the American Birth Control League, went on to become Planned Parenthood [although someone recently commented that Unplanned Parenthood was a more appropriate name] and considering how much of her work happened before suffrage for women, it's all the more impressive).

But Todd R. never pretended to be Margaret Sanger at a restaurant in Atlanta back in 1986. So Morten wins.

And in Todd's defense, he didn't start it. He looked enough like Morten (in fact, I'll bet they still look alike--which would not be a bad look to have) that someone asked him if he was the guy from a-ha, and if I recall correctly, Todd replied "yes, I'm trying to have some quiet time where no one recognizes me" (or something like that). It's not like he was walking around demanding free booze ("look at me, I'm Morten Harket!")... that's not Todd's style.

Well, it wasn't 20-something years ago. But it's also not his birthday.

Back in 1995 (it seemed so recently) Morten swept the Spellemannsprisen (the Norwegian Grammys) winning Spellemannsprisen of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Artist. It was a big night for him, where were you?

Of course we all remember his big hit from the year, "A Kind of Christmas Card." Here it is, underscoring Norway's higher-than-average suicide rate (this is a Christmas song? did he mention Fairuza Balk?):

There were 2 James Bond movies between Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan, starring Timothy Dalton (I liked them both--they were a good break from the campiness of the last few Roger Moore movies, but the box office dropped considerably). The first of these, The Living Daylights (also starring Joe Don Baker of Mitchell fame), featured a theme by a-ha--I assume they were hoping for a hit as big as Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" but it was't. Which is a shame, I still think it's a pretty good single, although re-hearing it for the first time in at least 10 years, I'll say it feels like some producer played the Duran Duran song for them and said "give us something like that" and let them go to it.

"Cry Wolf" was the first single from a-ha's second album:

And of course, the most famous a-ha song, courtesy of Family Guy:

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