Practically every element of Top Gun: Maverick feels precision-tooled to press a certain generation’s nostalgia buttons, but one person who wasn’t brought back from the first film was Steve Stevens, the man who originally played the soaring guitar part on Harold Faltermeyer’s Top Gun Anthem.
Instead, the iconic melody was piloted on some parts of the soundtrack by a relative newcomer, 21-year-old session guitarist Lexii Lynn Frazier, who got the call at the last minute and was asked if she could turn round a recording in a matter of hours. “They were asking a couple people and no-one could do it,” Frazier told Guitar World.
Having accepted the gig, Frazier hit her first problem when she received the score. “At the time, I couldn’t read music,” she says. “Because I’m self-taught, I’ve done everything by ear since I was little. I literally was on Google: one page with Google and one page with the score, just going back and forth teaching myself how to read music. It took way longer than it should have, so I learned my lesson and started learning how to read music after that.”
Frazier’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact that she’d never seen Top Gun, and because this all took place during lockdown, she was stuck at home and not able to go to a studio.
“We did it during the pandemic and I recorded on my laptop, an old MacBook Air,” she confirms. “I sent it in and didn’t hear anything until like a week before the movie came out!”
Despite a certain amount of nervousness - “I was like, ‘God, I hope it was OK!’” - Frazier’s recording worked out just fine, but the guitarist is modest when comparing her version to the original.
“I had heard the Anthem before because I love Billy Idol, so I know of Steve Stevens,” she says. “I’ve seen a lot of comments saying the original is the best, and they’re right! The original is always going to be the best, but I’m excited and I’m happy that I got to pay tribute, because Steve is awesome.”
You can hear Lexi's playing on the first track of the Top Gun Maverick soundtrack (Main Titles). The soundtrack also features guitar from Stuart Thomas, who played on album closer Top Gun Anthem, and can also be heard on Lady Gaga track Hold My Hand.