Why Kenny Loggins's re-recording of 'Danger Zone' for 'Top Gun: Maverick' was scrapped

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Kenny Loggins attends the premiere of
Kenny Loggins attends the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick on May 4 in San Diego, Calif. (Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Top Gun: Maverick is packed with references to the original Tom Cruise hit, throwbacks that have been gently tweaked for the update. Goose's son Rooster has a mustache just like his dad did; Maverick once again cruises through the streets on his motorcycle, but this time with a different woman; and the gang plays football, not volleyball, on the beach. But one thing stayed exactly the same, as if frozen in 1986: movie soundtrack master Kenny Loggins's original version of "Danger Zone."

In a new interview published Tuesday in Variety, Loggins explained that it wasn't supposed to be that way. Director Joseph Kosinski had met with him when he was playing with Michael McDonald at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, where they talked about a fresh version of the song that's become synonymous with Top Gun.

"I tried to do a re-recording where it... sounded, if not exactly like the original, as close as possible — but with better audio and sounds. Because that was 36 years ago and the audio had only gone so far," Loggins said. "But he wanted the original vibe that song had. It was recorded at Musicland Studios so it was well-recorded, but it would have had a lot more punch if I could have done it in 5.0. But that said, he wanted to keep it reminiscent of the first Top Gun and set that mood right from the beginning."

Moviegoers seemed to approve. Not only did the sequel wildly succeed at the box office, clinching the title of the most successful Memorial Day weekend release ever, but Loggins's song is currently among the most popular tracks at the iTunes Store.

Loggins said "Danger Zone," part of Top Gun's smash hit soundtrack, was always going to play a part, according to none other than Cruise.

"Six years ago, I ran into Tom [Cruise] when we were both booked on Jimmy Kimmel," Loggins told Variety. "I said, 'I know you’re doing the new Top Gun, but what's the deal? Is "Danger Zone" a part of it?’ He said, ‘It wouldn’t be Top Gun without "Danger Zone."' He stayed true to this word."