Berlin on Lady Gaga’s ‘Hold My Hand’ and the original hit ‘Top Gun’

With high anticipation ahead of Top Gun: Maverick’s May 27th release, Lady Gaga takes to the skies with “Hold My Hand,” the new single from the film’s soundtrack.

But when Berlin recorded “Take My Breath Away” — the Oscar-winning hit that got Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis hearts beating in the original 1986 film — the band were far from in Gaga’s superstar stratosphere.

“We were really lucky because we were nothing at the time,” Berlin lead singer Terri Nunn told The Post. “We didn’t score at all. We were an underground band.”

But while working on another material with Giorgio Moroder – legendary producer of Take My Breath Away – Nunn and Berlin had their big break. “He reached out to a couple of other artists who were a lot bigger than me and Berlin, and some of them were doing demos, but they [‘Top Gun’] Producers didn’t like them,” Nunn said. “So I finally got a chance. And they loved it.”

Berlin
Berlin in its electro-pop heyday in the 80s.
Michael Och’s archive

Thirty-six years after the release of Berlin’s synth-pop swooner, Nunn can hear echoes of the tune in Gaga’s retro ’80s power ballad ‘Hold My Hand,’ which was released earlier this week.

“What I love about it is this nod to Giorgio Moroder’s production, because the drums are so big and reverberant,” she said, noting that Gaga was the perfect singer to pilot a Top Gun song. “She’s a great writer, she’s a great artist. If they can get her to do it, yes, it’s a good choice.”

After Nunn infused a chilled sensuality into the 1986 Berlin chart-topping song, the Moroder-Tom Whitlock co-written tune followed Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” as the second hit single from the blockbuster Top Gun soundtrack. But after “Take My Breath Away” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1987, Nunn turned down an offer to perform the cut tune as part of a medley at the Academy Awards.

Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise will be there "top gun"
Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” was the romantic subject for Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.”
Getty Images

“I said, ‘Well, no, because if I can’t do the whole song, I’m not doing it,'” said Nunn, who was touring with Berlin when Lou Rawls and Melba Moore performed her song instead. “That night I was watching the Oscars on TV in Taiwan. And we won.”

To this day, Nunn regrets that decision. “I was just young and stupid,” she said. “That’s just stupid.”

After Berlin – which despite its name is actually a Los Angeles band – broke up in the late ’80s, the group was resurrected in 1998 and they’ve been recording and touring ever since. In fact, the group are now back on the road after a pandemic hiatus to support their latest 2019 album, Transcendance.

Berlin's Terri Nunn
Terri Nunn’s Band Berlin released their latest album “Transcendance” in 2019.
Ludwig Rodiger

And while 62-year-old Nunn has never had the chance to meet “Top Gun” star Cruise after all this time, she did have an emotional encounter with McGillis about 10 years ago.

“I met Kelly McGillis in Italy [an event]to honor great songs from movies,” she said. “And she cried when we met. She said, “I just can’t tell you what this song means to me.” She was very emotional about it. So it was great to finally meet her.”

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