The original Top Gun starring Tom Cruise has an iconic soundtrack that is part of the reason why the movie became so memorable. Top Gun: Maverick doesn’t have the exact same soundtrack but it was important to have a great one that doesn’t fully rip off the original. “Hold My Hand” by Lady Gaga did become a hit after being featured in the Top Gun sequel, but director Joseph Kosinski was concerned he wasn’t going to like it.
The original ‘Top Gun’ has an amazing soundtrack
Top Gun debuted in 1986 and it features a soundtrack that resembles that era. Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone” opens up the movie as planes take off and zoom through the air, setting the tone for the film. “Playing With the Boys” by Loggins plays over the goofy but charming volleyball scene.
“Take My Breath Away” by Berlin might be the most important song as it became a repeating motif. The song ended up winning Best Original Song at the Academy Awards and is used as a love anthem for the romance that blossoms between Cruise’s Maverick and Kelly McGillis’ Charlie. The instrumental from “Take My Breath Away” was infused into the score to enhance the romantic scenes. Top Gun: Maverick took this idea but instead used the new song from Lady Gaga.
Joseph Kosinski was worried he wouldn’t like Lady Gaga’s ‘Top Gun’ song
Director Kosinski wanted Top Gun: Maverick to have its own iconic song. In an interview with Collider, Kosinski said when he first went to go hear Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand”, he was initially worried about not liking it and what would he do. Fortunately, he really liked it and so did composer Hans Zimmer. They first heard the song back in 2019 and were able to infuse it into the score by the time the movie was released in 2022.
“She wrote the song, and we heard it played at the record label, went down there and they played it for us, which is nerve-wracking as Jerry would say, because they’re about to play a song from a superstar, and what if you don’t like it? What do you say?” Kosinski admitted. “Luckily, from the first time we heard it, we were like, ‘That’s it.’ Somehow she just wrote a classic melody that works. Then when Hans Zimmer heard it, he orchestrated the score, the love theme around that melody. So, it was pretty amazing to see how powerful that song is, and how he was able to weave it into the score.”
“Hold My Hand” became the new love anthem for Top Gun: Maverick, with an instrumental motif being used between Maverick and Penny (Jennifer Connelly). Zimmer worked it into the score, making the song even more impactful when Lady Gaga comes on as the credits for Top Gun: Maverick roll.
The song became popular outside of the movie
“Hold My Hand” debuted before Top Gun: Maverick was released. However, after the movie premiered, the song received a boost in popularity, landing in the top 50 of the US Billboard Top 100. Lady Gaga also uses it as her encore song on her Chromatica Ball stadium tour. It definitely has a chance to win Best Original Song at the next Academy Awards, but we’ll have to wait and see if it can repeat Berlin’s success.
Top Gun: Maverick is still in theaters.