Top Gun Anthem

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"Top Gun Anthem"
Single by Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens
from the album Top Gun
Released1986 (1986)
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Harold Faltermeyer
Producer(s) Harold Faltermeyer

"Top Gun Anthem" is an instrumental rock composition and the theme for the 1986 film Top Gun . Harold Faltermeyer wrote the music. Steve Stevens played guitar on the recording. In the film, the full song is heard in the film's ending scene.


An edited version of the song without the electric guitar is played in the opening sequence set aboard the aircraft carrier deck during launch preparations - the music is set so that after the F-14's engines are on full afterburner and the aircraft subsequently launches from the catapult, it immediately changes to "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins.

"Top Gun Anthem" won a 1987 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song's music video, directed by Dominic Sena, shows Faltermeyer playing the piano and Stevens on electric guitar in a hangar with naval aircraft. This video was re-released within the 2004 Top Gun Collector's Edition DVD.

The song was written by composer Harold Faltermeyer, who was recording keyboard parts for Billy Idol's Whiplash Smile album. According to Faltermeyer in an interview for RedBull Academy in 2014, at the same recording facility as Idol, Faltermeyer was in a control room composing a melody for a scene in the movie Fletch . Billy Idol passed by the control room on a break and opened the door for a listen. He liked the melody and pumped his fist in the air, saying it was “Top Gun“. Initially taken aback by any suggestion to turn a comedy theme into anything serious, Faltermeyer soon warmed to the idea. Faltermeyer asked Stevens, Idol's longtime guitarist, to play guitar on the track. Stevens was shown a clip of the film, and agreed to play on the track because he felt the film would be a hit. A guitar track had already been recorded on the demo that was given to Stevens. Stevens wanted to record his parts using one track, and avoid any overdubbing.

Stevens used a Hamer SS signature guitar in the music video but for the recording he used his Charvel San Dimas Glow and a 100-watt Marshall amplifier to record his part. He also used a small Boss compressor pedal to add more sustain.[ citation needed ] There is only one guitar track throughout the entire piece, with the exception of the ending.

The song is available on both the original Top Gun soundtrack album and the expanded edition.


Other uses

The theme was used in Bollywood movie Darr .

The theme was played on organ as an intro to "Don't Need a Gun" during Billy Idol's Whiplash Smile tour.

A similar tune was found in the 1988 Amiga flight simulator F/A-18 Interceptor .

Rapper T.I. sampled the guitar riff for his song "Big Things Poppin'."

On July 3, 2008, Activision released a free downloadable version of the "Top Gun Anthem" covered by Steve Ouimette for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock . [1]

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  1. Ludwig Kietzmann (2008-07-01). "Guitar Hero III Getting Free Top Gun Anthem DLC". Joystiq . Retrieved 2008-07-02.