The song was initially a hit when it was featured in the original film and on the soundtrack. “Danger Zone” was composed by Giorgio Moroder and the lyrics were written by Tom Whitlock. Before Loggins entered the door and added his thoughts to the melody, the song went through various singers including Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, but Cronin couldn’t get to the high notes.
Loggins could and did.
The soundtrack for “Top Gun” would go on to become one of the best-selling movie albums of all time, so the sequel to “Top Gun: Maverick” seemed a natural place to revisit the song.
Loggins talk to diverse About the re-recording of “Danger Zone,” but why the original was considered better, and his upcoming autobiography, “Still Alright,” released June 14.
Are you looking forward to discovering a new generation “danger zone”?
The last thing I expected was a “Top Gun” remake after 36 years, but we’ve been talking about a sequel since the first movie came out.
Six years ago, I met Tom [Cruise] When we both got booked into Jimmy Kimmel. 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 that word.
The director met me when I was playing the Hollywood Bowl with Michael MacDonald. He wanted to see if I would try to remake “Danger Zone” and wanted to try a new version of “Playing With Boys” because there are now female pilots. So, I did a duet with Butterfly Boucher, an Australian rock musician, but it didn’t fit the movie. It’s out there flowing…somewhere.
Is this an updated version of “Danger Zone” what we hear in the movie?
No, I’ve tried re-recording where it looked, if not quite like the original, as close as possible – but with better sound and sounds. Because that was 36 years ago and the sound had just gone too far. But he wanted the original vibe of that song. It was recorded at Musicland Studios so it was well recorded, but it could have made more of an impact if I could have done it in 5.0 but after that, he wanted to keep it reminiscent of the first “Top Gun” and set that mood from the start.
How was that song originally written?
I kind of cheated on it because I came in late. Giorgio Moroder wrote the core of the song and when I came in I said, “Okay, it needs new chords here and there.” I helped build the song bridge and I massaged it.
Giorgio is a great writer. So writing the song was easy. I also wasn’t supposed to be the guy to sing it.
When I met Kevin from REO Speedwagon, he was someone they approached to sing it, but he couldn’t reach the high notes. He said, “I can’t imagine anyone but you singing it.”
You mention in your book that you saw Jimi Hendrix play the role in the Hollywood Bowl in 1968. How did you feel about going back to that stage in July with Jim Messina?
It’s an exciting thing. The Bowl is where status is. In LA, the audience has always been good to me. They know my stuff. When I get up there, I can play anything and they will respond to it. In other cities, where it’s just “Footloose” and “Danger Zone”, these are tougher fans.
We’ll do Loggins and Messina for an hour, and then I’ll go out and do Kenny Loggins for another hour. So you get that full experience. There will be a lot of nostalgia to offer.
Do you make more offers out of the bowl?
No, it is a one time special offer only.
Jimmy and I design it as our gift to the audience who is still out there that wants to go and buy that ticket. There is a very strong nostalgia factor for him and me, but this might be the last time we play together.
What made this a good time to tell your story?
I’ve come to an age where I’m starting to think about things like selling a post or announcing a final round, or what do I want to do now? I came up with the idea of retirement but what does that look like? I know I need emotionally to stay creative. I don’t need to be a successful songwriter, but I do need to keep writing.