Watching in slow motion, as you turn my way and say…where are Berlin now?
Although they had formed in 1976, it wasn’t until 1986 that US band Berlin hit the big time and achieved a cross-Atlantic chart topper as well as a big global hit with the love theme from a movie. But no sooner had they ‘landed’, Berlin vanished into the abyss. So what happened? Founded in Los Angeles by guitarist and singer John Crawford (b.1960), Dan Van Patten (drums), Chris Ruiz-Velasco (guitar), and Ty Cobb (vocals), Berlin soon ‘disposed’ of Cobb’s services in favour of singer Toni Childs (b.1957). But Childs herself wasn’t to last even a year as the band soon recruited Terri Nunn (b.1961), who would become their best known and most successful front person.
It was with Nunn that the band finally released their first single, “A Matter Of Time”, in 1979, although this did nothing, as did their first album, “Information”. It seemed the band had already set its sights on fresher and better material as they were soon writing and recording what became their second long player, “Pleasure Victim”, in 1982. The album was preceded by the single “The Metro”, which reached No.58 on the singles chart and its follow up, “Sex (I’m A…)”, which stopped four places lower but was a top five hit in Canada. “Pleasure Victim” would prove a hit, selling over a million copies in America alone. Their next album, “Love Life”, and its singles would become slightly more popular as the lead single, “No More Words”, peaked at No.23 with the album also charting at No.23.
“Love Life” was a big hit in New Zealand which it made No.5, while the single “No More Words” went top five. Berlin had already written and recorded their fourth album, “Count Three And Pray” when the call came to record a new song for an upcoming film starring rising Americal actor Tom Cruise. Giorgio Moroder had written and produced “Take My Breath Away” and the band The Motels were due to record it for the film, ‘Top Gun‘s, soundtrack. Moroder has produced Berlin’s “No More Words” and soon became convinced that Berlin would be the better option for the song. It proved a correct judgement as the film became the top earner of the year at the box office and catapulted Cruise to movie stardom. “Take My Breath Away” was key to the narrative and the song, released in June 1986, would become a huge global smash hit.
“Take My Breath Away” went to number one or number two in over twenty countries worldwide including the much sought after top spot on both the US and the UK singles charts. Selling over four million copies, “Take My Breath Away” would win the 1987 Academy Award for Best Original Song, although amid all this exposure, Berlin’s album, “Count Three And Pray”, did less well than its predecessor had, peaking at No.61 in America. The album spawned one more notable hit, “Like Flames”, in early 1987, which could only reach No.82 at home and No.47 in the UK. While 1986 had been Berlin’s year, 1987 was not and after the release of “You Don’t Know” (UK No.39), Berlin called it a day. Citing the lack of success accorded to their last album, coupled with the fact that their biggest hit was not written by them. A “Best Of” was released in 1988 and that was that. Or was it?
Terri Nunn continued to perform alone under the name of ‘Berlin’, although her debut solo album, “Moment Of Truth” (1991), was released under her own name. She reformed Berlin, albeit with new members, in 1996 both touring and recording new material. An EP, “Fall Into Heaven”, was released in 1999, while a live album, “Voyeur”, turned up in 2002. The new band’s first new material came in 2005 with the album “4play”, while one more release, “Animal”, was issued in 2013. Finally in early 2019, Terri, along with original members John Crawford and David Diamond, reformed and recorded the album “Transcendance”, their first together since “Count Three And Pray”, 33 years earlier. And it looks set to be permanent as the band have plans to tour the new album along with their back catalogue…hopefully including their best known number!
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