Top Gun Anthem (HAROLD FALTERMEYER/ STEVE STEVENS)
1 5 4
Danger Zone (5/10/86) #2 US, #45 UK, #7 AR
Take My Breath Away (6/21/86) #1 US, #1 UK, #3 AC, sales: 1 million
Heaven in Your Eyes (8/2/86) #12 US
Playing with the Boys (8/16/86) #60 US
Notes: A 1999 expanded edition added added Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” Harold Faltermeyer’s “Memories,” “Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and another version of Loggins’ “Playing with the Boys.”
In 2006, another edition was released that included all those bonus tracks as well as REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings,” Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” and Jennifer Rush’s “The Power of Love.”
“Top Gun (1986) must be counted one of the most influential movies of the 1980s. It propelled Tom Cruise to superstar status, and jetted director Tony…Scott’s career into the stratosphere. It also allowed producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer to perfect their multiplex-friendly blockbuster formula of join-the-dots plot, MTV-inspired visuals and rapid-fire action” (Dalkin). However, as “one of the best-selling soundtrack albums of all time, Top Gun” (Donkers)’s music may have become bigger than the movie. The soundtrack “remains a quintessential artifact of the mid-‘80s” (Donkers).
While the movie has no tie to 1984’s Footloose, it’s hard for the Top Gun soundtrack not to feel like a sequel to Footloose’s. Both led off with Kenny Loggins’ smashes; his “Footloose” went to #1 on the pop charts while Top Gun’s Danger Zone got to the runner-up spot. Both soundtracks featured multiple follow-up hits, including a second Kenny Loggins’ hit from each soundtrack, although Playing with the Boys stalled at a much less impressive #60, compared to the #22 peak of Footloose’s “I’m Free.”
As if those parallels weren’t enough, each soundtrack featured a #1 hit with a female-led vocal – Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” from Footloose and Berlin’s Take My Breath Away from Top Gun. Both soundtracks also featured a power ballad with Mike Reno on vocals (the #7 “Almost Paradise” duet with Ann Wilson from Footloose) and his band Loverboy on Top Gun’s #12 Heaven in Your Eyes.
Saleswise, both soundtracks flirted with the 10 million mark for U.S. sales and 20 million worldwide. Ultimately, you have two soundtracks cut from the same cloth that “define the bombastic, melodramatic sound that dominated the pop charts of the era” (Donkers).
One of the specific players who made Top Gun huge was Giorgio Moroder, who co-wrote “Take My Breath Away” and “Danger Zone,” after previously writing Blondie’s #1 hit “Call Me” for 1980’s American Gigolo and scoring 1978’s Midnight Express.
Harold Faltermeyer, “the man behind ‘The Heat Is On’ from Simpson and Bruckheimer’s previous box-office bonanza, Beverly Hills Cop (1984)” (Dalkin), turns in “the electro-instrumental Top Gun Anthem” (Dalkin). Then there’s the presence of “up-beat, energetic American AOR stadium pop-rock by bands like Cheap Trick and [the aforementioned] Loverboy, huge names at the time of the film’s release” (Dalkin). “All in all, a landmark soundtrack” (Dalkin).