“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 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.
“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.
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. 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.