In the mid 1980s, a soundtrack’s title song that was also inspired by one man’s challenge became the number one song on Billboard: St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) by John Parr.
Written by David Foster and John Parr as an inspirational theme song for Canadian athlete Rick Hansen, the song was originally called Man in Motion.
This was the name of Hansen’s round the world charity challenge to raise money for cancer and spinal cord injury research, inspired by fellow Canadian Terry Fox, who had tried to run across Canada to raise awareness and money, but couldn’t complete the journey when his cancer reoccurred.
Director Joel Schumacher liked the song and asked for it to be used for his film St. Elmo’s Fire, which was a coming of age film that opened in June 1985 with a star-filled cast of the brat pack: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Mare Winningham, Andrew McCarthy and Andie McDowell.
The music video for the film version of the song was shot in one day, showing Parr singing to each cast member, while the Canadian version of the music video includes images of Hansen on his round the world challenge.
The song steadily rose on the charts during the summer of 1985 and hit number on Billboard’s Hot 100 on September 7, holding the spot for two weeks.
The song did well in other countries, hitting top 10 status in Canada, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.