Top Gun Anthem

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"Top Gun Anthem"
Single by Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens
from the album Top Gun (soundtrack)
Released 1986 (1986)
Format CD
Recorded 1985
Genre Instrumental rock, glam metal, hard rock
Length 4:12
Label Columbia Records
Songwriter(s) Harold Faltermeyer
Producer(s) Harold Faltermeyer

"Top Gun Anthem" is an instrumental rock song composed by Harold Faltermeyer, and played on guitar by Steve Stevens. It was the theme for the 1986 film Top Gun. An edited version of the song without the electric guitar is played in the opening scene when an F-14 Tomcat is being prepared to take off from an aircraft carrier. After the F-14's engines are on full afterburners and the aircraft subsequently launches from the catapult, the music changes immediately to "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins. The full song is heard in the film's ending scene.

"Top Gun Anthem" won a 1987 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song's music video, directed by Dominic Sena, shows Harold 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. 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.[citation needed]

Stevens used a Hamer SS 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[edit]

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]


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