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St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)

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"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)"
Single by John Parr
from the album St. Elmo's Fire (soundtrack) and John Parr
  • "Treat Me Like an Animal"
  • "Somebody Stole My Thunder"
  • "One Love" (instrumental)
  • "Georgetown"
Released23 June 1985 (1985-06-23)
Producer(s)David Foster
John Parr singles chronology
"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)"
"Love Grammar"
Music video
"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" on YouTube

"St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" is a song by British singer John Parr from the 1985 film St. Elmo's Fire. It hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart on 7 September 1985, remaining there for two weeks. It was the main theme for Joel Schumacher's film, and first single from the soundtrack. The song was created and edited within 24 hours.[3]

The record peaked at No. 6 in the United Kingdom, Parr's home country,[4] and became a No. 1 hit for him around the world, and provided many awards and a Grammy nomination.

The song did not initially feature on Parr's studio albums, only appearing on the London Records re-release of his self-titled debut album in the United Kingdom.[5]

Members of the bands Toto, REO Speedwagon and Mr. Mister appear on the recording.

Background and writing[edit]

David Foster and John Parr were contracted to write a song for the film, but Parr struggled with inspiration for the lyrics. Foster showed Parr a news clip about the Canadian athlete Rick Hansen, who at the time was going around the world in his wheelchair to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries. His journey was called the "Man in Motion Tour". Parr decided to help the campaign by writing words that would fit vaguely with the film, but which directly referenced Hansen's efforts.[6][7]


In popular culture[edit]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ford played the song in advertisements for its Mustang Pony car. In 2012, John Parr re-recorded the song with new lyrics, dubbed "Tim Tebow's Fire", to honor Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos.[8] Parr stated to Denver FOX affiliate KDVR, "I was inspired by Tim Tebow so I wanted to modify the lyrics...in his honor of the way that he lives his life as being a great example."[9]

In 2017, it was heard on the short film Deadpool: No Good Deed.[10] and the 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

In 2020-21, during Conan's stint at the Largo Theater, the song was part of a running gag, with different lyrics set to the tune of the chorus, while Conan O'Brien looked at a different camera often with a fan blowing wind in his face.[11]

The song re-entered the UK Singles Chart in 2023 when it was featured on an advert for Virgin Media.[12]

Music video[edit]

The music video features all seven of the main cast of the film St. Elmo's Fire looking sadly through the foggy windows of a run-down and fire-damaged version of the St. Elmo's Bar set. The video was directed by Kort Falkenberg III, who devised the concept with the film's director, Joel Schumacher. The production company only had Parr for a single day before he had to go back to England, so the shoot had to be done in exactly 24 hours.

The Canadian version of the video intersperses images of Rick Hansen's trek with those of the film.

The ending of the video shows Parr singing to each individual cast member from the film before he disappears into the night, and the cast follows him.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] Silver 250,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release history of "Levels"
Country Date
United Kingdom 26 August 1985
United States 23 June 1985


  1. ^ Breihan, Tom (23 October 2020). "The Number Ones: John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)". Stereogum. Retrieved 2 August 2023. Musically, "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" is also right in that weirdly-satisfying mid-'80s radio-rock zone.
  2. ^ Abercrombie, Olivia; Mitchell, Matt (10 March 2024). "The 50 Best Original Songs Written for Films". Paste. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  3. ^ Parr, John (10 March 2018), John Parr The One Show Interview, archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 6 March 2019
  4. ^ Farrar, Doug (10 January 2012). "John Parr re-records the 'St. Elmo's Fire' theme song with Tebow-centric lyrics | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  5. ^ Original copy of album #LOnLP 12
  6. ^ (12 January 2012). "John Parr Rewrites 'St. Elmo's Fire' As Valentine To Tebow", NPR. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  7. ^ (27 October 2010). "Foster's song struck chord with Johns Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine", The Province. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  8. ^ KDVRDenver (9 January 2012). ""Tim Tebow's Fire" by John Parr". YouTube. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  9. ^ "'St. Elmo's Fire' singer reworks 1980's hit for Tim Tebow". FOX 31 Denver. 9 January 2012. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  10. ^ Dan Wickline (4 March 2017). "Deadpool: No Good Deed Brings A Basket Of Easter Eggs". Bleeding Cool.
  11. ^ "VIDEO: Conan O'Brien's Parody Of 'St. Elmo's Fire' With Rob Gronkowski, Others". SB Nation Boston. 17 January 2012. Archived from the original on 14 May 2023. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  12. ^ "Hang gliding goat returns Doncaster rocker John Parr to charts after 38 years". Doncaster Free Press. 20 July 2023. Retrieved 20 July 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  15. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0573." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  17. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9307." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – St Elmo's Fire". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 43, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  20. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  21. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  22. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  23. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  24. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  25. ^ "John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  26. ^ "John Parr: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  27. ^ "John Parr Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  28. ^ "John Parr Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  29. ^ "John Parr Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – John Parr – St Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  31. ^ "OLiS – oficjalna lista airplay" (Select week 08.06.2024–14.06.2024.) (in Polish). OLiS. Retrieved 17 June 2024.
  32. ^ "Kent Music Report No 599 – 30 December 1985 > National Top 100 Singles for 1985". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 23 January 2023 – via Imgur.
  33. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1985" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  34. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Vol. 43, no. 16. 28 December 1985. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  35. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  36. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1985
  37. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1985" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  38. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  39. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 17 June 2024.
  40. ^ "Canadian single certifications – John Parr – St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)". Music Canada. Retrieved 2 August 2023.
  41. ^ "British single certifications – John Parr – St. Elmo's Fire". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 August 2023.

External links[edit]