About The Song

“Take My Breath Away” is hardly the first soundtrack ballad to get to #1. But even so it feels like the start of something, a harbinger of the soon-come glory age of the film tie-in, when balladosaurus rex bestrode the charts, roaring and beating its chest and weeping for week upon emotional week. Of course the evolution of this sonic megafauna was gradual. Play “Take My Breath Away” next to something later, and functionally similar, like “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”, and “Breath” seems thoughtful, almost delicate.

Super producer Giorgio Moroder wrote the musical backing to what would become the famous song. Lyricist Tom Whitlock wrote the lyrics while driving home from the studio, and then spent a few hours at home perfecting them.

It was written specifically for the movie Top Gun, one of the movies that made Tom Cruise a star in 1986. A demo of the song, sung by a background singer, impressed the film’s director Tony Scott and producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson. Because of this, they decided to film more romantic scenes between Cruise and co-star Kelly McGillis in order to feature the song.

The song was first offered to American new wave band The Motels, who later released their original demo on their compilation album Anthologyland. Columbia Records suggested other artists, but Moroder thought of the band Berlin, who he had produced the song ‘No More Words’ for. Whitlock made a few lyrical changes, before Berlin singer Terri Nunn recorded the vocals.

Berlin are an American new wave band, originally formed in California (not Germany!). They had a few hits before ‘Take My Breath Away’, and its members included John Crawford (bass, vocals), Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums). Moroder has since said that of all the many hits he has had, he is most proud of this song.

Amazingly, it was actually the second single from Top Gun after ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins. It was a UK and US number one hit in 1986, and also topped the charts in Canada, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and Belgium. It was also the fifth best-selling single of 1986 in the UK


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