Speaking with Billboard, frontman Ryan Tedder recalled being shown a rough cut of the film’s dogfight football scene and Cruise asking him, “What do you hear?”
“I said, ‘I hear a little Beach Boys … Gorillaz … and this kind of whistle thing,'” he recounted — and got to work on packaging a song around the whistle note with bandmate Brent Kutzle.
That song proved to be a hit. Not only does it feature in the new Top Gun movie, it is climbing up the Billboard charts. The song received an even bigger boost thanks to the powers of TikTok, with the birth of the “Rooster wiggle.”
The trend pokes fun at a scene in the movie where Miles Teller‘s character wiggles shirtless on the beach as “I Ain’t Worried” is playing.
“Rooster wiggle” has now become a top tag, earning over 1.5 billion views on TikTok, which has been a boon for “I Ain’t Worried.”
But, had Tom Cruise not asked Tedder to really listen to the sounds going on in that dogfight football scene, we never would have had that awesome song.
“The beauty of it was that I wasn’t trying to write some huge global record — it’s not following any pop math,” he recalled. “It wasn’t written to sound obvious.”
So, after creating the song, he approached Cruise to ask him what he thought about “I Ain’t Worried.” The award-winning actor apparently told him, “I think it’s a bull’s-eye.”