“Top Gun: Maverick” is one of the best received movie sequels in years, earning rave reviews from critics and dominating the box office on its opening weekend. Almost everyone seems to agree that it’s a major improvement over the original “Top Gun,” trading in the campy 1980s vibes for a more serious tone (by blockbuster standards). But one thing did not change: the use of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone.”
To many, the synth-heavy song, composed and produced by Giorgio Moroder, is synonymous with “Top Gun,” a sentiment that is apparently shared by Tom Cruise. In a new interview with Vulture, Loggins revealed the moment he learned that his iconic song would be used in the sequel. The singer explained that he actually did not know Cruise in the 1980s, and only met him when they both appeared on a 2016 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Backstage, Loggins couldn’t help but inquire about the fate of his song.
“That evening, I said, ‘I know you’re going to do the new one. Is ‘Danger Zone’ a part of the new Top Gun?'” Loggins said.
As for Cruise’s reply? “‘It wouldn’t be Top Gun without ‘Danger Zone,’” Loggins recalled the actor saying. “He stuck with that.”
Of course, “Danger Zone” is not the only song Loggins sang for “Top Gun.” He and Peter Wolf also provided “Playing With the Boys,” which was used in the film’s infamous beach volleyball scene. Loggins said he was inspired to write that song before he was certain he had the job. He was one of several musicians being considered for the film, and he thought that writing a song for the volleyball scene might set him apart.
“So we watched it, and we could tell when the opening scenes came on — the aircraft-carrier scenes — that everybody was salivating: ‘Oh my God. This is where most of these people are going to write for,'” Loggins said. “But when the volleyball scene came on, Peter and I went, ‘Yeah, that one. No one’s gonna write for that scene. Let’s make that happen.’ I knew that the main thing was to get in on the album, get a strong cut somewhere where they wouldn’t have a lot of choices.”
While it’s easy to laugh about certain parts of the original movie, Loggins had nothing but positive things to say about the film. He also loved “Top Gun: Maverick” and has high expectations for the sequel.
“I think it’s going to be a huge hit,” he said. “It is amazing that it’s over 30 years since the first one. It feels like it was ten or 12 years ago, and then doing interviews at the premiere, they’re saying it’s 36 years. I had no awareness of how long it’s been. To have it still stick around as such an iconic film and still matter, it’s incredibly lucky.”