Top Gun's Infamous 'Danger Zone' Singer Recalls Seeing Movie For The First Time And Why The Shirtless Volleyball Scene Was Super Important

Tom Cruise during volleyball scene in Top Gun
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures )

There is a great number of memorable songs we still jam out to today that we associate from very specific films of the 1980s. Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” for The Breakfast Club, Michael Sembello's "Maniac" from Flashdance, and Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love” for Back to the Future are just a few examples. Very notable among this group is Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” for Top Gun – which makes a standout comeback in the new sequel, Top Gun: Maverick. With the Tom Cruise movie already a hit, Loggins recently recalled his experience finding his way on the 1986 blockbuster's soundtrack. 

The 74-year-old singer recently shared that the relationship between “Danger Zone” and Top Gun didn't simply see filmmakers going straight to the artist and have him pen the song. When remembering how he first got involved in Top Gun, Kenny Loggins told Vulture that he and and his co-producer, Peter Wolf, were invited to a screening of the movie by Jerry Bruckheimer with the opportunity to write for the soundtrack, but when they arrived over 20 other songwriters were at the screening with them. Said Loggins,

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. 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.

Kenny Loggins and Peter Wolf were perhaps intimidated by all the competition and decided to write for the famous shirtless volleyball scene (which Top Gun: Maverick has its own version of) instead of going right to the throat for the big aerial sequences. They turned up with “Playing With the Boys,” which does indeed play during the scene. After that, Giorgio Moroder, who oversaw the movie’s soundtrack, penned “Danger Zone.” All they needed was a vocalist to sing the future iconic movie song. 

Apparently artists like Toto, Bryan Adams, Mickey Thomas and Jefferson Starship were under consideration to sing “Danger Zone.” Loggins said that he doesn’t know to this day why he was the vocalist who was ultimately was chosen. According to Loggins, he added his own elements to the track,– including a different melody for the bridge, changing up some chord progressions, and also adding some lyrics. When performing, he recalls being inspired by Tina Turner when getting to the chorus. Check out the classic music video for "Danger Zone" below: 

For Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise was very much aware about how important the music of Top Gun, and he was “concerned” the sequel might not be able to top that shoundtrack. However, when he heard Lady Gaga’s song “Hold My Hand,” which has a double meaning within the movie, his fears dissipated. The Gaga song replaces “Take My Breath Away” for a good reason, per the director Joseph Kosinski. 

Top Gun: Maverick is now playing in theaters. Check back here on CinemaBlend about more news about upcoming 2022 movies as the summer season kicks off. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.