Saturday, September 13, 1986

Berlin hit #1 with “Take My Breath Away”

Take My Breath Away


Writer(s): Giorgio Moroder, Tom Whitlock (see lyrics here)

Released: June 15, 1986

First Charted: June 21, 1986

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 5 GR, 2 RR, 3 AC, 1 CO, 14 UK, 2 CN, 2 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.83 UK, 2.41 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1022.30 video, 423.13 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Jerry Bruckheimer, the co-producer for 1986’s Top Gun, approached Giorgio Moroder, a pioneer of electronic dance music best known for work with Donna Summer, to write a song for the film. Moroder responded with “Danger Zone.” When Bruckheimer liked it and asked for a slower song to fit a romantic scene, Moroder responded with the “smoldering tune” TB “Take My Breath Away.” He recorded a demo on a synthesizer which had a distinct bass sound. It ended up on the final recording. WK

Moroder turned to Tom Whitlock to write lyrics for both songs. “Take My Breath Away” was originally offered to the Motels WK but then both songs were offered to the new wave group Berlin. FB The group found an audience on college rock radio in the early ‘80s with “The Metro” and “Sex (I’m A…)” before hitting the top 40 with “No More Words.” Moroder was interested in the band recording “Danger Zone” as a duet, but they liked “Take My Breath Away” more. FB The other song was given to Kenny Loggins, who had a #2 hit with the song.

The title phrase had been running through Whitlock’s head. His idea was a song that captured, as he said, “asking for that kind of awe, something so striking that you can’t breathe.” FB He wrote the words after listening to Giorgio’s music and seeing most of the movie. The love scene was actually reshot to better fit the song. FB

While a #1 song would seemingly be good fortune, it had a detrimental effect on Berlin. Lead singer Terri Nunn wanted to record it, but John Crawford, the band’s songwriter and keyboardist, didn’t think it was the right direction for the band and didn’t want to record a song they hadn’t written. SF While “Take My Breath Away” gained new audiences on adult contemporary stations, the rock stations where Berlin had built a following thought it was too top 40. The band struggled to get future spins on rock stations and disbanded in 1987 after releasing their fourth album, Count Three and Pray. Nunn revived the group in 1999, but without any of the other members. She eventually reunited with Crawford and David Diamond, the band’s co-founders, for the 2019 album Transcendance.


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First posted 11/28/2020; last updated 4/29/2024.

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