Jason Kempin, Getty Images Each year the CMA Awards is known for starting…
- Posted on Aug 4th 2010 4:00PM by Pat Pemberton
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
"Back then CNN was using it as background music for the bombing of Baghdad, and it turned my stomach," Loggins tells Spinner. "So, I didn't perform the song for quite a while."
Of course, the song had already been associated with the military, having been famously used in the fighter pilot flick 'Top Gun' with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Because of that, it became associated with real-life fighter pilots during the Gulf War a few years later. While that displeased Loggins, he eventually decided the up-tempo song was crucial to his act, so he paired the tune with extreme sports videos during concerts, hoping to establish a new association.
"At least it reinvented it for me so it didn't have to be about the war any more in my imagination," says Loggins, who is currently touring solo and working on an album with Richard Marx.
Not only was 'Danger Zone' a huge commercial hit, it also marked an important phase in Loggins' career. After initial success with Loggins and Messina, he hit his peak as a solo act largely due to his work on movie soundtracks.
"I was fortunate enough to be one of the first pop artists to be invited to write music for movies," he says.
His first movie hit was 'I'm All Right,' used in the 1980 comedy 'Caddyshack.' Then came the No. 1 hit 'Footloose,' the title track from the Kevin Bacon movie in 1984. While Loggins landed those two songs through friends in the industry, the soundtrack for the 1986 movie 'Top Gun' was more competitive.
"Every writer and musician in Hollywood was called in for the screenings," he says. " I was up against maybe a couple of hundred other writers, so I figured, 'I'll write for the scene that nobody's going to write for. I just wanted a cut on the soundtrack album and I figured that whole jet fighter scene was gonna be some rock band. They had tried to get Toto to do 'Danger Zone.' There was another rock band, too -- maybe Foreigner or something like that -- but the lawyers were screwing it up."
Loggins was in the studio recording 'Playing With the Boys' for a volleyball scene when producer Peter Wolf (not the J. Geils singer) approached and said, "I need a singer here tomorrow -- we've got to drop this song into the movie in two days."
Loggins had never heard the song, written by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock, so he asked, "Is it up-tempo?" When Wolf said it was, he replied, "I'm there."
The song reached No. 2 for Loggins, who would follow with two more soundtrack hits -- 'Meet Me Half Way' (for 'Over the Top') and 'Nobody's Fool' (for 'Caddyshack II'). While Loggins was hesitant to be associated with movie music for a time, he now wishes he might have gone the direction of Phil Collins and Elton John, who reinvented themselves writing music for Disney flicks.
"I could have headed in the direction that Phil Collins did with Disney -- which I probably should have because it's a pretty cool turn-on when you get a great movie like 'Tarzan' -- but I didn't go there," he says.
Once known for soundtrack hits, Loggins hasn't had a song placed on a soundtrack since 1988. But there is hope for more big-screen success, as a remake of 'Footloose' is scheduled to open next spring. Loggins hasn't heard if they will use his single from the original, which was used during a pivotal Bacon dance scene. He admits an appearance on the remake would introduce his music to a new generation.
"It would be a huge break for me," he says.
Interestingly, Bacon -- who performs music with the Bacon Brothers -- has been known to perform 'Footloose' live, sometimes with Loggins.
"I take it as a compliment," Loggins said. "The fact that he's willing to do it means he likes it."