Zach's Facts: Top-Notch Knowledge About Top Gun

By Zach Fairbrother for Boston Compass (#124)

June 27, 2020


American propaganda film, Top Gun starring Tom Cruise, is like a high gloss 80’s fashion mag at 30fps. Besides the aviators, cool bomber jackets and clean haircuts, one of the defining aspects of the film is the soundtrack, and in particular the title song, “Danger Zone”, written by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock, and sung by Kenny Loggins. Despite Loggins iconic performance, he was the 5th choice to perform the track. While having over 300 songs to choose from for the title scene, the producers felt like nothing fit. So they approached Moroder to compose a song. The artist who sung the track had to be on Columbia because they owned the distro rights to the soundtrack. They first approached the band TOTO, but they had ended up having legal conflicts with the producers. Next was Bryan Adams, but he turned the offer down because he felt the film glorified war. REO Speedwagon was asked but declined because they weren't allowed to include their own compositions in the soundtrack. The same response was given from Corey Hart. Finally they asked Loggins, who in his words on deciding to do it was, “a very snap judgement.” “Danger Zone” would be his second highest selling record bested only by Footloose, but despite the success of the soundtrack, and its era defining sound Loggins appears to regret doing it going as far to say “it doesn’t represent who I am as an artist.”

—Zachary Fairbrother

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