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Berlin, 1982. L-R: David Diamond, Rob Brill, Terri Nunn, John Crawford, Matt Reid, and Ric Olsen.
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Genres||New Wave, synthpop|
|Labels||Enigma, Geffen, Columbia|
|Associated acts||The Big F|
|Past members||Mitchell Sigman
Dan Van Patten (deceased)
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). 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.
Despite its name, Berlin did not have any known major connections with Germany, but instead was formed in Los Angeles, 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. (At one point, Nunn auditioned for the role of Leia Organa in the movie Star Wars.) This was followed by the album Information. The team had trouble gaining success, as the music industry at the time thought "new and exciting" meant upbeat guitar-oriented skinny-tie power pop bands with male lead singers, and thus did not understand their synth punk sound and more adventurous subject matter.
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. 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. 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 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: 1982–1987) and Rod Learned (drums: 1979–1982). 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 Ty 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.
Dissolution and re-formation
Berlin officially disbanded in 1987, partly due to the lack of success of their album Count Three & Pray and because of 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 not having been written or composed by any of them. 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 1998. In 1999, Berlin opened for The Go-Go's on their West Coast reunion tour.
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.
The classic version of Berlin was featured on the VH1 show, Bands Reunited where all members (except for Rob Brill; early drummer Rod Learned participated) agreed to reunite, not only as friends, but as a band. 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. Gerald Casale of Devo created a video for Berlin which was scheduled to debut at a late November 2011 performance. Nunn herself was scheduled both to debut a radio show on KCSN-FM, and to record a new album, in 2012.
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.
- Information (1980)
- Pleasure Victim (1982)
- Love Life (1984)
- Count Three & Pray (1986)
- Voyeur (2002)
- 4Play (2005)
- Animal (2013)
- Terri Nunn at the Internet Movie Database
- Worley, Gail. "Beyond The Metro: Terri Nunn". Ink 19. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- [dead link]
- "Go-Go's Set Dates for Reunion Tour". Vh1.com. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "INXS Announce North American Tour, Select Dates With Berlin". Popinstereo.com. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Pascal, Susan (2012-03-22). "Berlin's Terri Nunn: An Agoura Girl at Heart - Entertainment - Agoura Hills, CA Patch". Agourahills.patch.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "New Album 'Animal' Set For Release on September 17". Berlinpage.com. Retrieved 2013-08-0-9.
- The official Berlin website
- "Berlin > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Berlin Guitarists Ric Olsen's Page dedicated to original Berlin
- Berlin's producer Giorgio Moroder complete Discography
- Producer Giorgio Moroder tribute Website
- Electronic Music Articles, including early Berlin History