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Steve Stevens dishes on the recording of the iconic Top Gun Anthem

Steve Stevens dishes on the recording of the iconic Top Gun Anthem
Steve Stevens performs with Billy Idol at the Poplar Creek Music Theater in Hoffman Estates, Illinois on June 1, 1984



(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Top Gun: Maverick has been burning up the box office of late, and is already one of 2022’s most successful (opens in new tab) films, less than a month after its release. 

Last week, it was revealed that session ace and PRS endorsee Lexii Lynn Frazier was the player behind the film’s goosebump-inducing electric guitar highlights. It was Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens, however, who lent his six-string talents to the soundtrack of the original Top Gun film, which was released way back in 1986.

With the Top Gun franchise fresh in mind then, Guitar Techniques (opens in new tab) recently asked Stevens about his experience recording the original’s iconic Top Gun Anthem – how he came to play on it, the gear he used, and how he structured his parts and the solo.

“The guitar used [on Top Gun Anthem] was a Charvel San Dimas that I had grown really fond of back then,” Stevens told Guitar Techniques. “The amp is my ’68 Marshall plexi which is completely stock. I used a Boss GE7 pedal to push the gain a bit on the amp.”

Stevens said that he first met the piece’s composer, Harold Faltermeyer, when the latter was recruited to play on an Idol album. 

“Harold Faltermeyer had come in to record keyboards for the third Billy Idol record, Whiplash Smile,” Stevens said. “He was friends with our producer Keith Forsey. He then asked if I’d be interested in having a crack at recording guitars on the film’s theme after hours.”

The song, Stevens says, “was completely composed by Harold. When I recorded my guitars I was able to track to a completed recording. I thought since the ending of the solo stayed on the same G chord for four bars climbing intervals, tapping those intervals on the open third string would be a great finale.”

Aside from his ongoing work with Idol, Stevens has kept plenty busy with other projects lately, lending a blinding solo to Derek Sherinian’s recent solo single, The Vortex, and covering Yes’s Starship Trooper with an all-star ensemble to raise funds for Roadie Relief.

To read the full Guitar Techniques interview with Stevens, pick up a copy of the issue at Magazines Direct (opens in new tab).

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.

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