On this day (September 7) in 1985, John Parr hit #1 in the U.S. with “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)”, where it would remain for 2 weeks.
David Foster and John Parr wrote this song specifically for the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, but the song itself is about a Canadian athlete named Rick Hansen, who was paralyzed from the waist down after a car crash when he was 15. On March 21, 1985 Hansen began his “Man In Motion” tour, traveling about 70 miles a day to raise money for spinal cord research. At first, Hansen had trouble getting media attention and donations, but when this song was released with the movie in June, it became his anthem, and as the song rose up the charts, interest in Hansen’s journey grew. By the time the “Man In Motion” tour was completed on May 22, 1987, Hansen had put over 40,000 Kilometers (24,856 miles) on his wheelchair in 34 countries on four continents, raising $26 million. He became a national hero in Canada, where he is closely associated with this song.
In the movie, St. Elmo’s Fire is the name of a bar. A group of young actors known as “The Brat Pack” starred in the film: Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy. The phrase “St. Elmo’s Fire” refers to the spectral light sometimes seen around a ship’s mast.
This smash hit was #1 around the world. Members of the bands Toto (Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, David Paich), REO Speedwagon (David Amato) and Mr. Mister (Richard Page) appear on the recording.