Number Ones: #107


  • a-ha The Living Daylights (Warner Bros.)
  • Week Ending July 25th 1987
  • 2 Weeks At #1


Chart-topper No. 107 comes courtesy of 007, as the James Bond franchise underwent what is now called a “reboot” with Timothy Dalton replacing Roger Moore and a back-to-basics approach replacing the sillier excesses of lightweight outings A View To A Kill (1985) and Octopussy (1983).

For the coveted theme song, step forward those Nordic titans of moody, windswept and dramatic pop: a-ha. John Barry was still orchestrating the soundtracks (it would be his penultimate Bond project), and the combination appeared to work rather well. The synths were turned down a little, making way from some typically Barry-esque stabs and flourishes, but The Living Daylights wasn’t a million miles from the single remix of Hunting High & Low in tone, just a little more uptempo.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t entirely convinced at the start; a #13 debut for a brand new a-ha single was lower than usual by my standards (previous release Manhattan Skyline had debuted at #1), but it soon got under my skin. In a month when another of my favourite acts – Pet Shop Boys – left me distinctly underwhelmed with It’s A Sin, and George Michael’s I Want Your Sex was effectively off-limits for a while, there was a moment when I feared the top of my charts might begin to have a different complexion and the likes of Alexander O’Neal, Janet Jackson and Terence Trent D’Arby would dominate instead.

The Living Daylights would be a-ha’s last single for some time, the trio not returning until early 1988. The song surprisingly turned up on their next studio album, albeit in remixed/reworked form; Morten, Mags and Pal preferred a funkier, more electronic arrangement of their own, which they would perform in concert, rather than the Barry version. The original 7″/soundtrack mix did however grace a-ha’s greatest hits set Headlines & Deadlines in 1991, so their revisionism clearly had limits (and common sense).



  1. Excellent decision – for more than 4 years that single would have been the only place to get the proper 7″ mix. Guess who didn’t buy it?!


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