Playing With the Boys

Album: Top Gun Soundtrack (1986)
Charted: 60
Play Video


  • This was the first song Kenny Loggins did for the film Top Gun before he was given "Danger Zone," his big hit song from the film. Loggins co-wrote it with Starship producer Peter Wolf. The song is heard during the volleyball scene with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sara - Silver Spring, MD
  • Loggins credits the Synclavier, an early digital synthesizer, for producing the distinct drum sounds: "It had a way of processing the sounds and the math that was really... everything came out beautiful. You could really hear Synclavier drums different from all the other drums."
  • The film producers did a cattle call for top songwriters and performers to pitch their ideas for songs for the movie. Loggins and Wolf, along with many others, went to a screening of an early cut of the film to get a feel for the scenes. Loggins said he and Wolf decided to write a tune for the beach volleyball scene because they figured everyone else would be scrambling for a shot at the main theme. While it was hardly central to the film's plot, the sequence was famous for its homoerotic display of the actors' oiled-up physiques and gratuitous flexing, soundtracked by a tune about cavorting with members of the same sex.

    It has been parodied often on TV shows like Family Guy ("Veteran Guy" - 2018), Future Man ("Operation: Fatal Attraction" - 2017), Hawaii Five-0("Poniu I Ke Aloha (Crazy in Love)" - 2017), It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia ("The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6" - 2013"), and Cougar Town ("Here Comes My Girl" - 2009).
  • This was used in the 1990 volleyball movie Side Out, starring C. Thomas Howell.
  • In the music video, Loggins performs this in a gymnasium while a battle-of-the-sexes volleyball game is under way.
  • In 2021, Loggins released a new version featuring the Australian punk rocker Butterfly Boucher. He wanted to re-write it as a boy/girl duet because the 2022 sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, features both male and female pilots. He asked Boucher how she would rearrange the song if she were doing it with her band. "She came up with a pretty vibey groove and approach to it, added a couple new chords to it, and we wrote a new verse to it for our duet version," he told the Jeremy White podcast.

Comments: 5

  • Top Gun from AnonIs definitely a coded homosexual story.
    “I'm moving in slow motion
    Feels so good
    It's a strange anticipation
    Knock, knock, knocking on wood
    Bodies working overtime”

    This is the gayest song ever.
  • Otherone from Alt PennAlways thought Loggins got a bum deal w this song and his whole career. I always thought playing w the... was referring to competition w men but ( girls play 2)
  • Fatboy from UkThe gay connotations come from Tarantino...that is it. And actually this can be interpreted as sexist...could the whole volleyball scene not be classed as eye candy for women. It’s Tarantinos own single minded view about this that is wrong
  • AnonymousI believe the meaning of this song is so far from amplifying any gay undertones of the Top Gun volleyball scene. In fact, it seems the song portrays a man keen on enjoying valuable time with his close buddies after gaining the courage to walk away from a toxic relationship (“said it was the right time to walk away”, “I don’t wanna be the moth drawn to your fire”, “I’m staying, you play too rough”). A great message for both guys and girls in the same situation
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdWhen people hear this they think it has gay allusions because Top Gun has something of a gay following. But the song is basically about having fun whether you're a boy or girl.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Classic Metal

Classic MetalFact or Fiction

Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.


KissFact or Fiction

Kiss is the subject of many outlandish rumors - some of which happen to be true. See if you can spot the fakes.

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin Popoff

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin PopoffSong Writing

A talk with Martin Popoff about his latest book on Rush and how he assessed the thousands of albums he reviewed.

Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

Graham Nash

Graham NashSongwriter Interviews

Graham Nash tells the stories behind some of his famous songs and photos, and is asked about "yacht rock" for the first time.

Ian Gillan of Deep Purple

Ian Gillan of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan explains the "few red lights" in "Smoke On The Water" and talks about songs from their 2020 album Whoosh!