Flashback Video: 'St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)' by John Parr
Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" by John Parr. This song was released in June of 1985 to coincide with the film St. Elmo's Fire. It was a huge success spending two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September of that year. It has always been a personal favorite of mine and you can see where it comes in our list of '80s Songs with Guy Names in the Title.
In case you weren't aware, this song was inspired by more than the movie. 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 on what 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.
The video for "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was directed by Kort Falkenberg III, who devised the concept with the film's director, Joel Schumacher. Previous to this, Falkenberg had directed Billy Idol's "Hot in the City" (1982) and several John Waite video included "Missing You" (1984). Most music videos from '80s movie soundtracks feature clips from the actual movie. The best ones actually feature the cast members participating in the video. Examples of this include "Ghostbusters", "Spies Like Us" and "Rock On" among others. "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" features the cast members of St. Elmo's Fire including Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Mare Winningham.
The video starts with the cast members looking sadly through the foggy windows of a run-down and fire-damaged version of the St. Elmo's Bar set. John Parr is shown performing the song in the damaged set and on a club stage while clips from the film are interspersed. 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 ending of the video shows Parr singing to each individual cast member before he disappears into the night and the cast follows him. Here is the music video for "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" by John Parr...
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!