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Tom Whitlock, Co-Writer Of Top Gun Classics Take My Breath Away And Danger Zone, Dies At 68

Songwriter Tom Whitlock has passed away at the age of 68, according to a report from Deadline. Whitlock is best known for his contributions to the 1986 action film "Top Gun," writing the lyrics for the hit songs "Danger Zone," sung by Kenny Loggins, and "Take My Breath Away," sung by Berlin. The "Top Gun" soundtrack became the best-selling soundtrack of the year and marked the beginning of a career that included working on the theme song for the 1988 Summer Olympics, held in Seoul, and the 1990 FIFA World Cup, held in Italy.

Whitlock died on February 18 in Gallatin, Tennessee, as confirmed by the Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home. The cause of death has yet to be provided to the public, though The Washington Post reports that Whitlock was suffering from Alzheimer's disease at the time of his death. He is survived by his daughter Yohanna Sherman, his older sister Mary Whitlock Schweitzer, and his ex-wife Hollie Whitlock.

Whitlock contributed songs to a number of famous soundtracks over his career

Tom Whitlock was born in Springfield, Missouri, on February 20, 1954. He picked up instruments at a young age, playing the drums for a number of local bands in his teen years, and he was proficient at the piano during this time as well. He also worked as a session musician, playing backing tracks for composers, as well as writing his own songs.

Whitlock moved to Los Angeles in 1983, where he met composer Giorgio Moroder. The story goes that Moroder complained about the brakes in his Ferrari, and Whitlock took the initiative to fix it, buying brake fluid on his own. Moroder ended up hiring Whitlock at his studio, where he worked with engineer Brian Reeves.

In 1986, finding his regular songwriting collaborators busy, Moroder turned to Whitlock for "Top Gun." Whitlock eventually received credit for five songs on the film's soundtrack, namely "Radar Radio," "Lead Me On," "Through the Fire," "Danger Zone," and "Take My Breath Away." He went on to contribute to the soundtrack of films such as "Beverly Hills Cop II," "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise," and "Rambo III." His last song for movies was "Best Day Of Your Life" for the 2000 film "An Intimate Friendship."

He continued to receive credit for every use of his songs, the most popular of which were "Take My Breath Away" and "Danger Zone." The latter song was used in the 2022 sequel "Top Gun: Maverick," which became Whitlock's last film credit.