Lady Gaga does not appear in "Top Gun: Maverick," but she's a huge part of the promotion for the upcoming movie because she wrote and performs the movie's love theme, "Hold My Hand." It's out now a few weeks in advance of the May 27, 2022, theatrical release.
Gaga co-wrote and co-produced "Hold My Hand" with BloodPop® with additional production by Benjamin Rice, who produced Lady Gaga's Oscar-winning Best Song from the 2018 version of "A Star Is Born." The song is much more interested in taking your breath away than heading down the highway to the danger zone.
After she did not receive an Oscar nomination for her performance opposite Marine veteran Adam Driver in 2021's "House of Gucci," the singer/songwriter seems a lock for a nomination next year with "Hold My Hand." After all, "Take My Breath Away" from the first movie won the Best Song Oscar for 1986.
Times have certainly changed since 1986 when the original "Top Gun" soundtrack LP and cassette sold more than 9 million copies in the U.S. and spawned three hit singles, including Kenny Loggins' #2 hit, "Danger Zone;" Berlin's #1 hit, "Take My Breath Away;" and Loverboy's #12 hit, "Heaven in Your Eyes."
Movie soundtracks were a huge business back in the 1980s, mostly because studios were willing to pony up big bucks to pay hit artists to create original songs that could then be promoted on MTV with music videos that featured footage from the movie. Artists got paid, motion pictures got relatively free airtime on the most popular channel for America's youth, and audiences bought a lot of tapes so they could relive their favorite movie moments.
Movie producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer pretty much invented the movie soundtrack-to-MTV pipeline with their 1983 movie, "Flashdance," another movie that featured a #1 single that also won the Oscar for Best Song with "Flashdance (What a Feeling)." "Top Gun" joins "Footloose," "Purple Rain," "The Bodyguard" and "Dirty Dancing" on a list of movies whose soundtracks were at least as popular as the films themselves.
Since those golden days, it's become virtually impossible to see a music video when watching MTV, and the songs at the top of the pop charts don't necessarily dominate the culture the way they did back in the day. Movie soundtrack albums are no longer a music industry profit center, nor a cost-efficient way to promote a new movie, so no one's going to invest the big bucks in a collection of all-new songs for an action movie like "Top Gun: Maverick."
When they see the new movie, classic rock fans will enjoy an impressive collection of tunes that were already hits when the first movie came out, plus some musical callbacks to Harold Faltermeyer's original theme with new score by Hans Zimmer. Aside from the Lady Gaga single, there's a new song from OneRepublic, and that's pretty much it.
Of course, two new songs is one more than most contemporary movies get if they get any at all. Will "Hold My Hand" have the same impact as "Take My Breath Away"? Will "Top Gun" fans be disappointed that Kenny Loggins isn't back with a sequel to "Danger Zone"? We'll finally find out later this month.
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