Connect
To Top

BERLIN

Berlin is an American new wave band. The group was formed in Los Angeles in 1978 by John Crawford (bass guitar). Band members included Crawford, Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums). The band gained mainstream-commercial success in the early 1980s with singles including “The Metro”, “Sex (I’m A…)”, “No More Words” and then in the mid 1980s with the chart-topping single “Take My Breath Away” from the 1986 film Top Gun.

Early years

Despite its name, Berlin did not have any known major connections with the capital of Germany, but instead was formed in Orange County, California in 1978. They were inspired by the keyboard work of Kraftwerk, Devo, Sparks and The Screamers. Their first single, “A Matter of Time,” was released in early 1979 on Zone-H Records. The single was re-issued in 1980 featuring a replacement vocalist, Virginia Macolino, after Terri Nunn had temporarily left the band to pursue an acting career; at one point, Nunn auditioned for the role of Leia Organa in the movie Star Wars. This was followed by the album Information. At this point, the band was having trouble gaining the attention and respect of the recording industry: according to Nunn, “It was all skinny ties and a lot of upbeat, happy guitar stuff. The record labels just didn’t understand what we were doing.”
Eventual success

Terri Nunn rejoined the band as singer in 1980, and they signed to independent label Enigma Records on which they released a double A-sided single, “Tell Me Why” / “The Metro”. The single was intended as a one-off, since Crawford was by then focusing on his new band Fahrenheit and regarded Berlin as a “just for fun” side project. However, the single was a success, helping to finance the EP album, Pleasure Victim, which was recorded on a $2,900 budget. The EP included their first significant hit: the controversial synth-driven “Sex (I’m A…)” (1982), which was banned by some radio stations due to its graphic lyrics. The song was intentionally written and composed to get airplay on Los Angeles radio station KROQ, which specialized in playing music that was not heard on other stations, and of which members of the group were fans. Due to the attention brought on by the single, wider release offers were made by larger record labels for Pleasure Victim. Geffen Records’ offer was accepted and the label re-released Pleasure Victim worldwide in early 1983. The label also re-released “The Metro”, which then became another hit.

In 1984, the band released their next album, Love Life, and the single “No More Words,” whose subsequent video saw Terri Nunn and bandmates re-enact a Bonnie and Clyde-style car chase and shoot-out, became their first top-20 hit. “Take My Breath Away” (from the movie Top Gun) became their best-selling single in 1986 and a huge international hit, but also their last big hit.

Members
Aside from Nunn, members of the band were founding member John Crawford (primary songwriter, bass guitar and synthesizer), and David Diamond (synthesizer & guitar). Ric Olsen (lead guitar) was brought in during the final recording of Pleasure Victim. Other members added were Matt Reid (synthesizer), Rob Brill(drums: 1983–1987) and Rod Learned (drums: 1979–1983). Berlin’s breakout EP, 1982’s Pleasure Victim, featured Nunn, Crawford, and Diamond, as well as guitarist Ric Olsen, drummer, synthesist and producer Dan Van Patten and guitarist Chris Ruiz-Velasco. (These last two were founding members, along with Crawford and original male vocalist Tyson Cobb.) Before Pleasure Victim was completed, Van Patten and Ruiz-Velasco parted ways with Nunn, Crawford, and Diamond. Ric Olsen was brought in to complete tracks on Pleasure Victim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Artist

  • EMILIE AUTUMN

    Emilie Autumn Liddell (born on September 22, 1979), better known by her stage name Emilie Autumn, is an American singer-songwriter, poet,...

    DragonOctober 16, 2016
  • PRETTY RECKLESS

    The Pretty Reckless is an American rock band from New York City. The current members are Taylor Momsen (lead vocals, rhythm...

    DragonOctober 15, 2016
  • MARILYN MANSON

    Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969), better known by his stage name Marilyn Manson, is an American singer, songwriter, musician,...

    DragonOctober 15, 2016
  • THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE

      The Birthday Massacre (abbreviated TBM) is a Canadian band, formed in 1999 in London, Ontario, and currently based in Toronto,...

    DragonOctober 6, 2016
  • FALLING IN REVERSE

    Falling in Reverse is an American rock band based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and formed in 2008, signed to Epitaph Records....

    DragonOctober 5, 2016
  • HIM

    HIM (previously known as HER in the United States) is a rock band from Helsinki, Finland. The band was formed in...

    DragonOctober 5, 2016
  • DEPECHE MODE

    Depeche Mode /dᵻˌpɛʃˈmoʊd/ are an English electronic band formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group’s original line-up consisted of Dave...

    DragonSeptember 20, 2016
  • OTEP

    Otep is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California formed in 2000. They have released two EPs, six studio...

    DragonSeptember 14, 2016
  • THE 69 EYES

    The 69 Eyes are a multi-platinum selling Finnish rock band. They are currently signed to EMI Finland. The band’s albums are...

    DragonSeptember 14, 2016