Kenny Loggins was excited to record an updated version of his classic Top Gun adrenalin-pumping anthem “Danger Zone” for the new Top Gun: Maverick reboot. And the iconic song about pushing it to the limit does in fact appear in the opening sequence of the Tom Cruise-led fighter pilot drama that just smashed box office records over the Memorial Day weekend.
But in an interview with EW, Loggins, 74, revealed that his song reboot ended up on the cutting room floor. “I did re-record ‘Danger Zone’ to make a 5.0 version that would wrap around the audience,” he said. “But Tom Cruise really wanted to conjure up the original version, the original feeling. So in the long run, it turned out to be the old track coming back.”
Which is why if you were one of the millions who went out to see the movie over the weekend you might have noticed that director Joseph Kosinki opted for an opening sequence that is pretty much the same as the iconic one in the 1986 original, down to the use of the vintage “Danger Zone” track. The director previously told EW that the intention all along was to tell the audience, “‘This is a Top Gun movie, we love it as much as you do… From there, our story goes in a very different direction, but I wanted the first few minutes to let the audience know: Don’t worry, we love it too, this is going to be a Top Gun movie.”
Loggins said he just found out last month that “Danger Zone” was going to be reprised in the opening sequence, then recalled the time he ran into Cruise on Jimmy Kimmel Live! 6 years ago and they had a chat about the franchise. “I knew he had the property at that point,” Loggins said. “I said, ‘So, tell me, is ‘Danger Zone’ in or out?’ And he said, ‘It wouldn’t be Top Gun without “Danger Zone.”‘ He stayed true to his word. When we first talked about it, they were thinking it might go in a scene in the middle of the movie or somewhere near the end where he comes to the rescue. Instead, Tom opted to use it at the beginning of the movie so that it really conjures up the energy and excitement of the original Top Gun.”
And though his new version got the boot, Loggins said he had no hard feelings. “It really does capture that vibe from the very first time [I saw it], 36 years ago,” he said.