In the flag-waving mid-1980s, Top Gun was, well, top gun. The fighter-pilot film ruled the box office, established Tom Cruise as a blockbuster star, and, to hear U.S. Navy recruiters tell it, inspired a surge of enlistments. Its soundtrack wasn’t merely along for the ride, it helped propel the hit film higher.
Led by a contribution from Terri Nunn’s Berlin, the original Top Gun soundtrack fired off four Billboard Hot 100 hits. The Berlin track won an Oscar, its instrumental theme claimed a Grammy. Overall, the collection sold nine million copies, per Recording Industry Association of America stats, more than any 1980s soundtrack not named Purple Rain or Dirty Dancing.
Perhaps its greatest achievement was its spot-on capturing of a bombastic decade. If you didn’t know what the 1980s sounded like, then you’d know after one listen to Top Gun. And, with the sequel – Top Gun: Maverick– on the way in 2019, now is the right time to relive the songs from the original.