• New wave band formed in 1978 from Los Angeles California. Their best known line-up was Terri Nunn (vocals), John Crawford (bass guitar, vocals, songwriting), David Diamond (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Ric Olsen (guitars), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rob Brill (drums). Crawford wrote the songs, with occasional contributions from the other members of the band.
  • In high school, Crawford was sidelined from the basketball team due to an injury, so he learned to play bass guitar. His music teacher introduced him to guitarist Chris Ruiz-Velasco and drummer Daniel VanPatten. Needing a vocalist, they discovered Tyson Cobb, and they formed a punk rock band named the Toys in 1976. In 1978, they changed the name of the band to Berlin, wanting to have a name that sounded European and exotic. Cobb left the group, and he was briefly replaced Toni Childs, and then with Nunn, after Nunn answered an ad in a local music magazine. Nunn previously had some acting roles on television shows, and she also posed for Penthouse magazine (even though she was underage at the time).
  • In 1979, they released the single A Matter of Time on a small independent record label. Soon after, Nunn left the band to focus on acting. She was replaced by Virginia Macolino, and they released their debut studio album, Information, in 1980. The album included a re-recorded version of A Matter of Time with Macolino on vocals. Going nowhere without Nunn on vocals, Crawford and VanPatten started a new band called Farenheit.
  • Crawford had written several songs that he felt would sound great with Nunn on vocals, and the band contacted her. Nunn agreed to rejoin Berlin as vocalist in 1980. They recorded a double A-side single with the songs Tell Me Why and The Metro. It was well received, and their record label encouraged them to record an album. The group expanded membership for the album, adding Diamond and Olsen to the roster. In 1982, Pleasure Victim was released, which included a remixed version of Tell Me Why and The Metro, as well as five other tracks. The single Sex (I’m A…) received considerable attention, and the re-release of The Metro received heavy airplay on MTV. Both songs charted on the Hot 100, and the album eventually was certified platinum in sales.
  • Their followup album, Love Life, was released in 1984. The album included Brill as their new drummer and Reid as an additional keyboardist, while Velasco departed. It included their first Top 40 single, No More Words, which peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 and at #6 on the Dance Club Songs chart.
  • One of the producers for the album was songwriter Giorgio Moroder. Moroder has been dubbed “the father of disco” who pioneered synthesizer and EDM music. Moroder was hired as a songwriter for the soundtrack to the film Top Gun, and he co-wrote several songs for the film, including Take My Breath Away. Moroder brought the song to Berlin to be recorded for the soundtrack, and it was released as a single in 1986. It topped the Hot 100 chart as well as charts in the UK, Ireland and Belgium. Eventually it won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The song was included on Berlin’s fourth studio album, Count Three & Pray. For this album, the band was a trio – only Nunn, Crawford and Brill were noted as official members.
  • Already losing members, and with Nunn and Crawford bickering over the direction of the band, Berlin broke up in 1987. Nunn began a solo career, and Crawford formed another band. In the 90s, Nunn went to court for ownership of the Berlin name, and in 1997 she began to tour and record as Berlin with a new lineup of musicians. Albums were released in 2002, 2005 and 2013. In 2015, Crawford and Diamond rejoined Nunn and her other band members, performing in Reno, and in 2019 they released an album titled Transcendance. In 2020, Berlin released an album titled Strings Attached – it features new versions of previously recorded songs backed by a symphony orchestra.
  • Sappy Berlin (Take My Breath Away) doesn’t appeal to me – I much prefer the new wave version of the band. Here’s their video for No More Words.

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