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On 30th Anniversary of “Top Gun,” Kenny Loggins Recalls “Cattle Call” that Led to Movie’s Smash Soundtrack


Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When you think ’80s movies — and ’80s movie soundtracks — Top Gun definitely comes to mind. The Tom Cruise action romance just celebrated its 30th anniversary a couple weeks ago, but Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” are still radio staples today.

Loggins, who had not one but two songs on the Top Gun soundtrack, recalls that it was a something of a dogfight to even get to be part of the project.

“That was a cattle call back then,” the singer-songwriter tells ABC Radio. “All the top acts of that era came in for a number of screenings of the rough cut of Top Gun.”

The idea was that all the artists would then submit material for consideration. Loggins was a bit intimidated, so he came up with what he thought was a clever plan.

“There were so many top-40 acts in the room when I went to see it that the producer and I decided to write for the volleyball scene, because we knew nobody else was gonna write for that,” he laughs. “So the main thing was get a song in the movie and then see what happens from there.”

That song, “Playing with the Boys,” ended up on the soundtrack, but then Loggins also was tapped to record a song he didn’t write — “Danger Zone” — after several other artists passed on the opportunity.  The result: a #2 smash on a #1 soundtrack that’s sold more than nine million copies.

As for why the movie itself is still such a touchstone, Kenny tells ABC Radio, “Well, it was groundbreaking at the time. It was the best aerial footage that had ever been shot and I think that made a big difference in the way military movies are filmed and presented.”

He adds, “And then, of course, it was a breakthrough movie for Tom Cruise. And that’s probably one of the main reasons it’s still around.” 

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