‘The Fox’ tops YouTube 2013 chart

A zany Norwegian music video originally intended as a joke was the most popular video of the year on YouTube, the video streaming website revealed on Wednesday.

'The Fox' tops YouTube 2013 chart
Ylvis: Brian Friedman for iHeartRadio
Since its release on September 3rd, the clip — featuring people in animal costumes dancing in a forest to the refrain "What does the fox say?" — has had more than 276 million views on YouTube, the site said.
"The Fox" shot to eighth place in the popular music chart compiled by US music magazine Billboard in October, ahead of major artists such as Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey. It even led to a children's book deal for the Norwegian comedy duo Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker, who first released the music video to promote a TV comedy show.
The brothers, simply known as Ylvis, were not available to comment on their latest success, but they have previous called their unexpected viral hit a "rubbish song".
Some have compared it to the global Korean YouTube phenomenon "Gangnam Style" which still maintains a comfortable lead with more than 1.8 billion views.
However, "The Fox" is far ahead of this year's equally cheesy second contender, (95.3 million views), also from Norway: the country's national army dancing the Harlem Shake to the US electronic music artist Baauer.

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‘Take On Me’ tops a billion YouTube views: What makes 80s Norwegian hit so enduring?

It’s arguably the biggest success in the history of Norwegian pop, and A-ha’s 1984 pop classic ‘Take On Me’ this week reached a new milestone.

'Take On Me' tops a billion YouTube views: What makes 80s Norwegian hit so enduring?
A-Ha performing in 2015. Photo: AFP

The song combines synthpop with acoustic guitars, keyboards and drums and is indisputably the band’s signature tune and one of the most evocative pop songs of the decade.

That is complemented by a memorable music video which combined live action sequences with black-and-white pencil sketch animated overlays, in what was then an innovative technique called rotoscoping. It won six awards at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards.

Perhaps the combination of both music and visuals has driven Take On Me into the realms of YouTube royalty. The official video, originally released in 1985, was recently restored and upgraded to 4K resolution to improve visual quality, Warner Music Norway wrote in a press statement.

In any case, A-ha now join a small list of artists with music videos that have tipped the 10-figure mark for total views on the social media website.

While South Korean rapper Psy’s 2012 hit Gangnam Style and Despacito by Luis Fonsi (2017) have famously garnered monstrous numbers of YouTube views, it’s arguably harder for songs which pre-date widespread use of the Internet to rack up those kind of figures.

Take On Me joins two Guns N’ Roses songs (November Rain, Sweet Child o’ Mine), Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in an elite club of just five songs from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with over a billion views.

Numb by Linkin Park was the first pre-YouTube video from the 2000s to reach a billion views.

“Obviously the video is unique and it has some features that stand up and stand the test of time,” he shared. “It’s hand drawn which makes it what it is,” A-ha guitarist Magne Furuholmen told Billboard last year.

“The song also seems to resonate with people across time. It’s just very fortunate to have such a big song in our catalogue,” Furuholmen said.

“We probably spent a few years talking it down, trying to get people to focus on new stuff we’re doing. At this point, certainly speaking for myself, I’m just surprised and proud that the song has done so well and still finds an audience,” he added.