One Hit Wonders: John Parr

St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) by John Parr

by Robert Mishou

This is not the only One Hit Wonder from a soundtrack to a film, but it might be the best one. No need to mention (but I will) that this song was featured on the soundtrack to the film St. Elmo’s Fire, the classic ‘80s film with that mega- cast (Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson). This song reached #1 on the AT 40 for two weeks in September of 1985. One of my favorite bands in the ‘80s is Toto – I love their sound and musicianship. Toto began as studio musicians who played on other artist’s albums and several members of Toto play on this song: Steve Porcaro and David Paisch on keyboards with Steve Lukather on guitars (Lukather also played most of the guitars on Michael Jackson’s Thriller). Quick note that Richard Marx is one of the backing vocalists on this song as well. While the lyrics may fit the film, they are more importantly directed at Rick Hansen who was on an important journey, taking himself in his wheelchair around the work in an effort to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries. Hansen himself became paralyzed at the age of fifteen due to a car accident. Now the song takes on an inspirational twist, which makes sense with:

Play the game, you know you can’t quit until it’s won
Soldier on, only you can do what must be done
You know in some ways you’re a lot like me
You’re just a prisoner, and you’re trying to break free
The song hits inspirational heights in the memorable chorus:
I can see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky
I’ll be where the eagles flying higher and higher
Gonna be your man in motion
All I need it a pair of wheels
Take me where the future’s lying: St. Elmo’s Fire

This anthemic song becomes one of pushing yourself to succeed and to never let anything get in your way. I love the movie, but I love this song more. It is a true testament to the power and inspiration a simple song can have. “I can climb the highest mountain, cross the proudest sea / I can feel St. Elmo’s Fire burning in me.”

3 thoughts on “One Hit Wonders: John Parr”

    1. Maybe – I like that song, but it received nowhere the attention of “Man in Motion”. Even today, how often do you hear “Naughty Naughty” on the radio. In fact a different song with the same title by Danger Danger, get more airplay. This is not an exact science.


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