Berlin (band)

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Berlin Regency Geffen.JPG
Berlin, 1982. L-R: David Diamond, Rob Brill, Terri Nunn, John Crawford, Matt Reid, and Ric Olsen.
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres New wave, synthpop
Years active 1978–1987, 1997–present
Labels Enigma, Geffen, Columbia
Associated acts The Big F
Past members
  • Mitchell Sigman
  • Rob Brill
  • John Crawford
  • David Diamond
  • Rod Learned
  • Virginia Macolino
  • Jo Julian
  • Ric Olsen
  • Dan Van Patten (deceased)
  • Matt Reid
  • Chris Ruiz-Velasco

Berlin is an American new wave band. The group was formed in Los Angeles in 1978 by John Crawford (bass guitar). Bandmembers included Crawford, Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums). Learned left during the first EU tour and was replaced by Rob Brill (drums).[citation needed] 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 '80s with chart-topping single "Take My Breath Away" from the 1986 film Top Gun.


Early years[edit]

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 what they were convinced was the unique 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.[citation needed] (At one point, Nunn auditioned for the role of Leia Organa in the movie Star Wars.[1][unreliable source?]) 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."[2]

Eventual success[edit]

Terri Nunn rejoined the band as singer in 1980, and they signed to independent label Enigma Records where they had 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.[2] Due to the attention brought on by the single, wider release offers were made by larger record labels for the accompanying EP album, Pleasure Victim.[citation needed] Geffen Records' offer was accepted and the label re-released Pleasure Victim worldwide in early 1983. The album also included the hit, "The Metro."

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.


Aside from Nunn, members of the band were founding member[citation needed] John Crawford (primary songwriter, bass guitar and synthesizer),[citation needed] and David Diamond (synthesizer & guitar).[citation needed] Ric Olsen (lead guitar) was brought in during the final recording of Pleasure Victim.[citation needed] Other members added were Matt Reid (synthesizer),[citation needed] Rob Brill (drums: 1982–1987)[citation needed] and Rod Learned (drums: 1979–1982).[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Dissolution and re-formation[edit]

Berlin officially disbanded in 1987, partly due to the lack of success of their album Count Three & Pray and because of personal disagreements over the single "Take My Breath Away." Nunn viewed it as a fresh new song that allowed the band to perform globally, while others disliked it as it had not been written or composed by any of them.[citation needed][3] Later after the release of the 1991 solo album Moment of Truth, Nunn retained the legal rights to usage of the band's name after legal wranglings with the founding member of the group, John Crawford. Nunn recreated Berlin, with a new lineup of musicians, in 1997.[citation needed] In 1999, Berlin opened for The Go-Go's on their West Coast reunion tour.[4]

After 2000[edit]

In 2000–2001, Berlin contributed to several artist tribute albums. The only track to make it on to a full Berlin release is a cover of Marilyn Manson's "The Dope Show," which is included on Berlin's 4play album as well as the Marilyn Manson tribute album Anonymous Messiah (2001, Vitamin Records). Other tributes include material by Madonna, Blondie and Depeche Mode.[citation needed]

The classic version of Berlin was featured on the VH1 show, Bands Reunited[5] where all members (except for Rob Brill; early drummer Rod Learned participated) agreed to reunite as a band and as friends. They played one show at The Roxy in California to a sold-out crowd.}}

The band toured with rock band INXS during the summer of 2011.[6] Gerald Casale of Devo created a video for Berlin which was scheduled to debut at a late November 2011 performance.[7] Nunn herself was scheduled both to debut a radio show on KCSN-FM, and to record a new album, in 2012.[7]

In July 2013, it was announced that a new album called Animal would be released on 17 September, from which a single "It's The Way" would also be issued.[8]


Main article: Berlin discography


  1. ^ Terri Nunn at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ a b Worley, Gail. "Beyond The Metro: Terri Nunn". Ink 19. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Go-Go's Set Dates for Reunion Tour". Retrieved 2010-12-22. [dead link]
  5. ^ {{cite web|url:// Reunited: Season 1, Episode 1|accessdate=February 10,2015
  6. ^ "INXS Announce North American Tour, Select Dates With Berlin". Retrieved May 26, 2011. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b Pascal, Susan (2012-03-22). "Berlin's Terri Nunn: An Agoura Girl at Heart". Agourah Hills Patch. Patch Media. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  8. ^ "New Album 'Animal' Set For Release on September 17" (Press release). Retrieved 2013-08-09. 

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