John Parr shares the inspiration and story behind his hit St. Elmo's Fire

music news 04/05/2022

St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) is a classic song from the film St. Elmo's Fire .

When he first started writing lyrics for the song,  he could not come up with any lyrics. The record producer David Foster with whom he was working along for this project showed him a video of a Canadian athlete Rick Hansen. Rick was paralyzed from the waist down after a car crash when he was 15. He was doing his 'Man in Motion' tour in 1985, traveling around the world in his wheelchair to raise money for spinal research.  

Inspired by his journey, John Parr then started writing the lyrics for the song.

"And I wrote the song about him, and I carefully made it seem like it was for the movie" he told GBNews in a recent inteview. 

"And he did it! Two years, two months and two days, how he wheeled around the world. Currently, we have raised $275 million for spinal research" he added.

Back in 2019, our very own  Robert and Jeanette chatted with John Parr and asked him if Rick ever told John about how the song had impacted him. 

Apparently, Rick never wheeled with earbuds in as he wanted to hear everything around him when he was on his Man in Motion tour. But once, he wrote a telegram to John saying, "Every time I think I can't wheel another mile, I pull over, I play the song and I do another 20 miles".

He never fails to mention Rick's journey every time he performs the song. Even prior to Rick completing his tour, he'd say "He is going to make it". 

John recalled a time when Rick was wheeling in China, about a million Chinese people lined up on the streets and sang 'St. Elmo's Fire'.  

John even mentioned about if one listens to the song line by line, it is about a man wheeling around the world in a wheelchair.

"St. Elmo's Fire is the glow in the sky that is his dream that he's wheeling towards" he said. 

The 69-year-old singer remembers going to the bathroom and falling to his knees and thanking for what he was given. 

"And I'm not kind of you know given to doing that but it was like lightning in a bottle, it was so charged. I think that's why it lives on, it stands as fresh 30 odd years later" he told GBnews.