a-ha receive Royal Order of St. Olav

Magne, Morten and Paul with their medals

The three members of a-ha were today appointed Knights First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for their “outstanding musical contribution”.

The invite-only ceremony was held at Gamle Logen in Oslo, and was attended by family, friends and fans.

The ceremony, which was broadcast live online, included music by a string quartet and speeches by Viggo Bondi (bassist in Bridges), Terry Slater (a-ha manager 1983-1994), Trond Giske (Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry) and Anders Flågen (representing the Royal Palace) who presented a-ha with their medals.

After receiving the medals, Morten spoke on behalf of the band. Here is a translation of his speech:

Morten speaking

“If only I could have said as my aunt Magny, when the Mayor of Kristiansand told her that uncle Bernt would be awarded the King’s Medal of Merit.

“What was that?” I heard her say, as people around her started clapping.

“Bernt is to be awarded The King’s Medal of Merit”, someone repeated to her.

“Is that so? Then it can’t be very prestigious.”

[Audience laughing]

When Paul, Magne and myself set a course for England, we had great plans. But we didn’t imagine that 30 years later, we would be here at Gamle Logen to be appointed Knights. We had to leave Norway to become a-ha. Norway is a leader on natural resources, but not on refining them. That’s true within most fields, including our own. Talents have to be refined and managed. No one can succeed on their own. You need to have the right people around you. If you don’t find them here [in Norway], you have to leave in time. And here comes my little case in point:

We have great resources in Norway, not least of the human kind. But we have to focus more on the unknown, if we want to be part of discovering the future. If not, it will just be presented to us. In Norway we have an immature view on failure. It brings with it a sense of shame. We don’t like to take risks. Risk-taking is seen as irresponsible. We need a more realistic view of what it actually takes to succeed.

If there’s one reason to honour us here today, it has to be this: We have stayed true to what we believed in. Together and on our own. Congratulations guys!”
If you missed the live broadcast, it can be seen again at VG.no.

Related articles and video clips:
Heder for å gjøre det umulige mulig (Aftenposten)
Ridderlige a-ha (VG)
Kongens orden til kongene av pop (NRK)
Nå er de riddere av 1. klasse (Dagbladet)
A-ha fikk St. Olavs Orden (Adressa)
– Jeg er mer forlegen enn stolt (VG)
Morten Harket: Jeg føler meg stolt, men kanskje mest forlegen (Aftenposten)
A-ha hedret med St.Olavs Orden (TV2)
– Det bringer skam med seg å feile (Se og Hør)
A-ha hedret av Kongen (Budstikka)

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