Scoundrel Days

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Scoundrel Days
Scoundrel Days album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released6 October 1986 (1986-10-06)
StudioRG Jones (Wimbledon, London)
LabelWarner Bros.
A-ha chronology
Hunting High and Low
Scoundrel Days
Stay on These Roads
Singles from Scoundrel Days
  1. "I've Been Losing You"
    Released: 22 September 1986
  2. "Cry Wolf"
    Released: 24 November 1986
  3. "Maybe, Maybe"
    Released: December 1986 (Bolivia only)
  4. "Manhattan Skyline"
    Released: 16 February 1987

Scoundrel Days is the second studio album by Norwegian new wave band A-ha. It was released on 6 October 1986 by Warner Bros. Records. A remastered edition with additional tracks was released in 2010.


Scoundrel Days was the second long-player release from A-ha, which was highly anticipated after the success of their critically acclaimed first L.P., Hunting High and Low (1985), which had reached #2 in the United Kingdom's Album Chart, and #15 in the United States' Billboard 200 Chart in the previous year. Scoundrel Days was recorded in England in early 1986 at R.G. Jones Studio in Beulah Road in Wimbledon, South-West London. The record was produced by Alan Tarney, who had produced the band's big hit single releases "Take On Me" and "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." in the previous year, and it was engineered by Gerry Kitchingham.[1]

The music and lyrical content of the songs were composed by Pal Waaktaar, Magne Furuholmen, and the band's vocalist Morten Harket, unlike the first L.P., not writing any of its material. Waaktaar and Furuholmen also self-produced three of the record's tracks, "I've Been Losing You", "Maybe Maybe", and "The Soft Rains of April".[2]

Yamaha DX7 and Roland Juno-60/106 synths were used in the recording of this album, the Roland Juno 60 was used on opening of the song "Manhattan Skyline" - (which is the same synth used on the "Take On Me" riff) - and the Yamaha DX7 drum sound was used on the opening of "October". "Scoundrel Days" and "Swing of Things" signature sounds were obtained from a PPG Wave. The drums and several other sound effects were from drawn from a Fairlight CMI.[citation needed]

Single releases[edit]

"I've Been Losing You" was the first single from the album. It reached #1 in Norway and #8 in the United Kingdom's Singles Chart. "I've Been Losing You" became the most commercially successful single from the album in Europe.

"Cry Wolf" was the second single from the album. It was the most successful single from the album in the United States, where it peaked at #14 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the band's last entry on the latter chart. The single reached the top 40 nearly everywhere else it was released, including top-five chartings in the United Kingdom, Poland and Ireland, reaching #2 in Norway. (The lyrics "Night I left the city I dreamt of a Wolf..." are credited to Lauren Savoy whom Pål later married).

"Maybe, Maybe" was the third single released from the album, but was released only in Bolivia.[3]

"Manhattan Skyline" was the forth and final single released from the long-player, reaching #13 on the United Kingdom's chart. The song was co-written by keyboardist Magne Furuholmen and guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy. The song starts with a calm verse in F major, before kicking into a hard rock-style chorus with a guitar riff in D minor. In the official A-ha biography, The Swing of Things, Furuholmen said it was "perhaps one of the most inspired cut and paste-projects that Paul and I did. I wrote the quiet part. Paul wrote the rock part."[4]


The cover photography was taken by Norwegian photographer Knut Bry at the Haleakala volcano on Maui, Hawaii, in 1986.[5]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[6]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[7]
Musicfolio3/5 stars[8]
Q3/5 stars[9]
Rolling StoneFavourable[10]

The album's peak on the Billboard 200 was 74. The album was another big hit by A-ha and sold over 6 million copies worldwide which gave the band international recognition. Scoundrel Days achieved Platinum status in the UK and Switzerland as well as Germany and Brazil. The album reached #2 in the European top-100 albums sales chart.

Ned Raggett of AllMusic Guide said, "The opening two songs alone make for one of the best one-two opening punches around: the tense edge of the title track, featuring one of Morten Harket's soaring vocals during the chorus and a crisp, pristine punch in the music, and "The Swing of Things," a moody, elegant number with a beautiful synth/guitar arrangement (plus some fine drumming courtesy of studio pro Michael Sturgis) and utterly lovelorn lyrical sentiments that balance on the edge of being overheated without quite going over...The '80s may be long gone, but Scoundrel Days makes clear that not everything was bad back then."[11]

Scoundrel Days included the singles "I've Been Losing You", "Cry Wolf", "Maybe, Maybe", and "Manhattan Skyline". All the singles with the exception of "Maybe, Maybe" charted on the UK Singles Chart. "I've Been Losing You" and "Cry Wolf" were the most successful singles from the album, "Cry Wolf" became a minor hit in the US and charted on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #50, while "I've Been Losing You" was the most successful single in Europe.

As part of a re-release of their first two albums, Scoundrel Days was expanded and remastered in 2010.

On 6 July 2010 the A-ha albums Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days were released as deluxe editions in the US through Rhino Records and both albums debuted in the top 40 Billboard Top Internet Sales Chart; Hunting High and Low at #34 and Scoundrel Days at #36.[12]

The remaster of Scoundrel Days reached #52 in Germany, #27 in Norway, #190 in the UK.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Furuholmen/Waaktaar unless noted otherwise:

Side one
  1. "Scoundrel Days" – 3:56
  2. "The Swing of Things" – 4:14 (Waaktaar)
  3. "I've Been Losing You" – 4:24 (Waaktaar)
  4. "October" – 3:48 (Waaktaar)
  5. "Manhattan Skyline" – 4:52
Side two
  1. "Cry Wolf" – 4:05
  2. "We're Looking for the Whales" – 3:39
  3. "The Weight of the Wind" – 3:57 (Waaktaar)
  4. "Maybe, Maybe" – 2:34 (Furuholmen)
  5. "Soft Rains of April" – 3:12

Produced by Alan Tarney, except tracks 3, 9 and 10 produced by Furuholmen and Waaktaar.

2010 Deluxe edition[edit]

Disc 1
  1. "Scoundrel Days"
  2. "The Swing of Things"
  3. "I've Been Losing You"
  4. "October"
  5. "Manhattan Skyline"
  6. "Cry Wolf"
  7. "We're Looking for the Whales"
  8. "The Weight of the Wind"
  9. "Maybe, Maybe"
  10. "Soft Rains of April"
  11. "I've Been Losing You" - Extended Version
  12. "Cry Wolf" – Extended Version
  13. "Manhattan Skyline" – Extended Version
Disc 2
  1. "Scoundrel Days" – Demo
  2. "The Swing of Things" – Demo #3
  3. "I've Been Losing You" – Octocon Studios Demo
  4. "October" – Demo
  5. "Manhattan Skyline" – Demo
  6. "Cry Wolf" – Demo
  7. "We're Looking for the Whales" – 1984 Demo
  8. "The Weight of the Wind" – Demo
  9. "Maybe, Maybe" – Demo
  10. "Soft Rains of April" – Guitar Version
  11. "Scoundrel Days" – Octocon Studios Demo
  12. "This Alone is Love" - Original Version
  13. "Days on End"
  14. "Train of Thought" (Live)
  15. "I’ve Been Losing You" (Live)
  16. "The Blue Sky" (Live)
  17. "We're Looking for the Whales" (Live)
  18. "Cry Wolf" (Live)


Note: There are four bonus download-only tracks on each release, available in most countries:

  1. "I've Been Losing You" (Dub)
  2. "Soft Rains of April" (Piano Version)
  3. "The Swing of Things" (Demo #1)
  4. "I've Been Losing You" (Early Demo)

Scoundrel Club EP[edit]

  1. "Cry Wolf" (Extended Version) – 8:13
  2. "We're Looking for the Whales" (live version) – 3:50
  3. "I've Been Losing You" (Dub Version) – 4:28
  4. "Manhattan Skyline" (Extended) – 6:49
  5. "Hunting High and Low" (Extended Version by Alan Tarney) – 6:02




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[35] Platinum 250,000*
France (SNEP)[36] Platinum 400,000*
Germany (BVMI)[37] Platinum 500,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[38] Platinum 100,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[39] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Platinum 300,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


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  2. ^ Cover sleeve production credits for Scoundrel Days (1986).
  3. ^ Discogs entry for 'Maybe Maybe' single release in Bolivia, 1986.
  4. ^ " discography/videos/manhattan skyline". Archived from the original on 18 June 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2006.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Scoundrel Days - a-ha - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th Concise ed.). United Kingdom: Omnibus Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-84609-856-7.
  8. ^ Musicfolio Review Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Q Magazine - Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviewsQ Magazine - The world's best music".
  10. ^ "Rolling Stone Review".
  11. ^ Scoundrel Days info Archived 20 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Deluxe albums enter US Billboard charts | The Official Website of a-ha". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Upcoming special releases | The Official Website of a-ha". Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 13. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ " – a-ha – Scoundrel Days" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0863". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  17. ^ " – a-ha – Scoundrel Days" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  18. ^ "European Hot 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 4 no. 2. 17 January 1987. p. 15. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  19. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  20. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Retrieved 13 May 2018. Select "A-HA" from the drop-down menu and click "OK".
  21. ^ " – a-ha – Scoundrel Days" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 98 no. 50. 13 December 1986. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 13 May 2018 – via Google Books.
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  28. ^ "a-ha Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Charts. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Hot 100 of the Year 1986 – European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3 no. 51/52. 27 December 1986. p. 35. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  31. ^ "Top 100 Albums". Music Week. London. 24 January 1987. p. 25. ISSN 0265-1548.
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – LP 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Charts. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  33. ^ "European Charts of the Year 1987 – Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 4 no. 51/52. 26 December 1987. p. 35. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 7 February 2019 – via World Radio History.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1987" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  35. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – A-ha – Scoundrel Days" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  36. ^ "French album certifications – Aha – Scoundrel Days" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 27 December 1987. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
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