Synopsis of Pop Music
“Watching in slow motion,
As you turn around and say,
Take my breath away...”
In the early 1980’s, MTV opened new doors for bands who knew how to mix a strong visual image with their music. Berlin quickly took advantage of this opportunity, mixing a cutting-edge electronic sound with a futuristic look built around the eye-catching style of lead singer Terri Nunn. As a result, they became a favorite of the growing alternative-rock scene and scored some memorably stylish hits in the process.
Berlin was the brainchild of bassist/composer John Crawford. He began experimenting with different lineups of the group in 1979 and found his core team when vocalist Terri Nunn and keyboard player David Diamond joined up in 1981. They independently released their first EP, Pleasure Victim, the next year. It blended provocative, insightful lyrics with a sleek, electronic-based sound on songs like “Sex (I’m A…)” and “The Metro.” The EP became a fast-selling underground favorite in Los Angeles and soon earned Berlin a major-label record contract.
Pleasure Victim was reissued nationally in 1983 and became an alternative-radio favorite. Berlin also attracted attention on MTV, thanks to videos for “The Metro” and “Sex (I’m A…)” that were just as stylish and provocative as the music itself. These videos also made Terri Nunn into a role model and icon for a generation of young female new-wavers. Berlin consolidated their success the next year with their first full-length album, Love Life. They also scored a pop hit with “No More Words,” a synth-rocker that boasted a stylish video that presented the band as outlaws in a Bonnie and Clyde style.
However, Berlin’s biggest success was yet to come. In 1986, they lent their talents to the soundtrack of the hit film Top Gun. Their contribution was “Take My Breath Away,” a dreamy and romantic ballad with a lush synthesizer sound. It became a massive #1 hit on the pop charts and was also featured on their second album, Count Three and Pray. This album featured guest guitarists like David Gilmour, Ted Nugent, and The Cars' Elliott Easton, which is a pretty good sign of how well-respected Berlin was by their fellow musicians.
In 1987, Berlin disbanded when Terri Nunn left to pursue a solo career. She would eventually release the album Moment of Truth and would also collaborate with The Sisters of Mercy and Porno For Pyros. Meanwhile, Crawford and Brill went on to form Big F. However, Berlin stayed in the minds and hearts of alternative-rock fans everywhere, and Terri Nunn was frequently encouraged to revive the group. In 1996, she put together a new lineup of Berlin and they returned to touring and recording with great success.
The newly-revitalized Berlin remains a presence on the music scene today. Most recently they have released the concert recording collection Live: Sacred and Profane and the all-new EP Fall Into Heaven 2. Meanwhile, the group continues to be a favorite in the live arena, with Terri Nunn proving that she has lost none of her alternative-diva charm. Their combination of attitude, style and music will no doubt continue to influence alternative-minded rockers for years to come.
Artist Release History1982 - Pleasure Victim (e.p.)
1984 - Love Life Geffen
1986 - Count Three and Pray
1989 - The Best of Berlin 1979-1988
1999 - Master Series
2000 - Berlin Live: Sacred and Profane
2000 - Greatest Hits Remixed
Pop Sub Categoriesrock
Essential Music AlbumsPleasure Victim (Geffen)
Best of Berlin: 1979-1988 (Geffen)
Band MembersTerri Nunn lead vocals
John Crawford bass, keyboards
David Diamond synthesizers
Ric Olsen guitar
Matt Reid keyboards
Rob Brill drums