'Top Gun' vs. 'Dirty Dancing': Which is the ultimate 80s soundtrack?

Things could change when someone decides to remake any/all of John Hughes' movies
'Top Gun' / 'Dirty Dancing' promotional images
'Top Gun' / 'Dirty Dancing' promotional images Photo credit Paramount Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images
By , Audacy

Ah, the 80s... arguably the greatest decade for music and fashion, with both of these out of control cultural juggernauts meeting time and again on the big screen. Of all the flicks to feature incredible soundtracks throughout the eighties, two have stood the test of time as the decade's most powerful. Now with the successful release of Top Gun: Maverick over the Memorial Day weekend, we're feeling reminiscent, so it's time to look back on the original film's 1986 soundtrack, while comparing it to another blockbuster score, 1987's Dirty Dancing.

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We know, we know... nobody puts Baby in a corner, but we have to start somewhere. 1987's Dirty Dancing original soundtrack was heavily influenced by the film's storyline, which takes place in the summer of 1963, giving moviegoers a throwback 50s and 60s score featuring classics from The Ronettes, The Five Satins, and more. Also included on the soundtrack are a trio of beloved ballads -- Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' "(I've Had) The Time of My Life;" "She's Like The Wind," by the film's star, the late Patrick Swayze; and "Hungry Eyes," from Eric Carmen, which was written by songwriters Franke Previte and John DeNicola, who also penned
"(I've Had) Time of My Life."

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack would eventually go on to sell over 32 million copies worldwide, solidifying it as one of the best-selling albums of all time, certified 11-times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Fortunately for Maverick and Iceman (not so much Cougar and Goose) in this comparison, the original soundtrack for 1986's Top Gun arrived with an arsenal of Giorgio Moroder synths, upbeat 80s jams, and a peppering of downtempo ballads for good measure. Included in the Harold Faltermeyer-produced soundtrack are Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine ("Hot Summer Nights"), Cheap Trick ("Mighty Wings"), Kenny Loggins ("Danger Zone"), and Loverboy each making appearances, while Berlin's ballad "Take My Breath Away" would go on to receive Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song.

The soundtrack became one of the best-selling of all time, reaching number one in the US charts over five non-consecutive weeks in 1986, and was the best-selling soundtrack of that year which also saw the release of Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Rad, and more. A few key tracks from the flick are missing though. Actor Anthony Edwards' character Goose plays piano and sings Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls Of Fire" for his wife Carole, played by Meg Ryan, but let's not talk about that... too sad. Another is Tom Cruise’s character Maverick's go-to serenade, The Righteous Brothers' "You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling," which is sung during his "crash and burn" bar scene with civilian flight instructor Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis -- but we'll let that slide too. We hate it when she does that.

In the end, we're pretty excited about the new Top Gun: Maverick sequel in theaters now, so there's likely some bias here. We're picking Top Gun as the ultimate 80s soundtrack right now, but things could change when someone decides to remake any or all of John Hughes' movies. Anyway, kick the tires and light the fires on these soundtracks and more -- on Audacy!

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images