Saturday, September 13, 1986

Berlin hit #1 with “Take My Breath Away”

First posted 11/28/2020.

Take My Breath Away

Berlin

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


Released: June 15, 1986


First Charted: June 21, 1986


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


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 154.9 video, -- streaming

Awards: (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 the song “Danger Zone.” When Bruckheimer liked it and asked for a slower song to fit a romantic scene, Moroder responded with “Take My Breath Away.” He recorded a demo on a synthesizer which had a distinct bass sound. It ended up on the final recording.

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. BR1 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. BR1 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.” BR1 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. BR1

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.


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Berlin
  • DMDB page for parent album Count Three and Pray
  • DMDB page for Top Gun soundtrack
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. Page 647.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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