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 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. (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.”