“Top Gun” was one of the most anticipated films of the mid- to late- 1980s. Released in 1986, it lived up to the hype, becoming one of the biggest box office hits that year. Even all these years later, it’s still a movie that remains popular with many fans (there’s even a sequel scheduled to come out some time this year). The soundtrack was just as well regarded as the film. It didn’t include a ton of songs (only 10), but it was immensely popular. Here is the soundtrack listing, with all 10 songs ranked from worst to best. If the notion strikes you, click on the YouTube link for each song and listen for yourself.
10. Playing With the Boys (Kenny Loggins)
You can probably guess easily enough what the song is about. In the movie, it’s used during one of the relatively few scenes that don’t involve flying. In fact, all of the characters in the film that are supposed to be pilots are playing beach volleyball while the song is playing. The lyrics to the song itself are fairly self-explanatory, talking about being with someone on a more intimate level, but not necessarily for reasons of intimacy. For the most part, the song simply talks about hooking up.
9. Hot Summer Nights (Miami Sound Machine)
There are actually quite a few songs in the movie that refer to having an intimate relationship from a physical standpoint, yet not really being close to the individual in question. In some ways, that’s a theme that runs at least part way through the film. While it’s obviously not the main subject of the film, songs like this and the one listed in the paragraph above help move the story forward when it comes to advancing the plot for some of the things that are going on in the background.
8. Lead Me On (Teena Marie)
Depending on who’s listening to the lyrics in the song, it could potentially mean a lot of different things. Most people agree that it is a song about knowing full well that someone is trying to talk you into something because they want to have a physical relationship, all while knowing that they’re not particularly interested in anything more serious or long-term. The lyrics to the song also indicate how in some cases, that’s perfectly fine because that might be what both people are actually looking for.
7. Mighty Wings (Cheap Trick)
Some of the songs in the film do actually refer to flying or at least have some type of connotation that relates to the subject. Depending on your point of view, this is a song that could be taken quite literally, as it talks about depending on the strength of the wings to carry one through something. Obviously, that could mean the wings of an airplane, especially since the movie is about flying. However, it could also be a metaphor for practically anything else in life when someone is displaying strength through adversity.
6. Through the Fire (Larry Greene)
Having strength in the face of adversity is one of the main themes of this film. It’s on full display in this song, as the lyrics talk about being put to the test in various ways, all so the individual in question can come out on the other side stronger and more resilient. It’s definitely a good song for those moments when you need to feel motivated about something, especially if you’re facing something that makes you feel full of trepidation.
5. Destination Unknown (Marietta Waters)
As you’ve probably noticed by now, most of the songs in this film fall into one of two categories. They’re either about developing a sense of self and strength in the wake of some type of adversity or they’re about developing a physical relationship. This song sort of walks the fine line between the two because it can actually be taken both ways, depending on your point of view. Some people listen to it and feel like it talks about going into some unknown destination with wild abandon as far as a physical relationship is concerned. Others see a deeper meaning, one that involves running toward something better, even when you don’t know what’s around the next corner.
4. Top Gun Anthem (Steve Stevens, Harold Faltermeyer)
This is the only instrumental song on the soundtrack. It’s unfortunate that some people have a tendency to refrain from listening to it simply because it is instrumental. It’s actually one of the best songs on the soundtrack. It features powerful notes that are extremely inspirational in their own right. It’s definitely worth a listen, even if you don’t consider yourself a big fan of instrumental music.
3. Take My Breath Away (Berlin)
Of course, you have to have the slower ballads in any soundtrack in order to round things out. They are an integral part of any soundtrack and this is no exception. There’s a couple of them here which shouldn’t be ignored. This one talks about falling in love and being so stricken by the very idea of that love, that it becomes hard to breathe.
2. Heaven in Your Eyes (Loverboy)
This is another strong ballad included in the soundtrack. If you’ve ever been in love and you see every possibility that the two of you share together when you look into your partner’s eyes, then you already know what this song is about.
1. Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins)
Here, you have what many consider the title song for the film. It’s loud, fast and maybe even a little aggressive (at least in terms of the way it sounds). That makes it the near-perfect choice for a film like this, one that is ch ock-full of male testosterone from beginning to end. It’s so popular that some oldies radio stations still play it today, 35 years after it was released. That fact alone proves that just like the film, this is a song that is more than capable of standing the test of time.