John Parr (born November 18, 1954, Worksop, Nottinghamshire) is a British rock musician who had considerable success in the 80s, having two chart topping hits in the United States. His 'signature song', "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)", reached the top 40 in over six different nations and continues to be played worldwide, particularly in support of disabled athletes (the song being written on behalf of Canadian wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, the 'man in motion').Read More
John Parr's first entrance in to music was when he was 12-years-old and devised a band with two fellow schoolmates, which they named The Silence. The band enjoyed considerable success in the U.K. as the years went on. They eventually became professional and started to tour Europe. When Parr left the band, he joined a group called Ponders End. The progressive rock outfit picked up praise in the 70s as the 'best live act around' in Newcastle, along with the Dire Straits. In the end, however, they did not make a record deal, and the band's chapter in history closed, despite their local fame, without much fanfare.
Parr secured a publishing deal with Carlin Music in 1983, and American rocker and performer Meat Loaf asked him to write some songs for his new album in the same year. That led to the fateful meeting with John Wolfe (manager of The Who). Foreseeing the demise of The Who, a band that had been adrift upon the death of drummer Keith Moon, Wolfe was looking for a new venture and Parr seemed to be the one. The year of 1984 was Parr's first trip to America. He worked with Meat Loaf on the album 'Bad Attitude' while Wolfe was putting finishing touches on Parr's recording deal in New York.
The spirited arena rock track "Naughty Naughty" became Parr's first U.S. top 40 hit record, the single pushing his 1984 debut album, titled simply 'John Parr', up to #48 on the prestigious Billboard 200 chart. The song built his career up very quickly by achieving top three positions on rock station after rock station in America for up to six weeks. Then, 1985 saw him on the road with the band "The Business" (not to be confused with the British punk outfit of the same name), supporting fellow progressive rockers Toto and playing 10,000-seater venues across America. Though lightening didn't quite strike twice, Parr's tune "Magical" hit a respectable #28 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, giving him some momentum. By the end of the tour, Parr had a call from one of the world's most successful producers, David Foster, that would be a key moment in his career
Foster requested Parr help with the soundtrack for the movie 'St. Elmo's Fire', a film featuring the popular 'brat pack' group of performers such as Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was the result, a song that fit in well with the movie yet also had an important history as it was also written on behalf of Canadian wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen (the 'man in motion'). The song became a #1 hit for Parr in the United States while additionally reaching the top 40 in over six different nations. Though Parr would create many songs later on, over the years, the tune has become his 'signature song'.
Parr notably co-wrote "Under a Raging Moon" for Roger Daltrey, a song that paid tribute to the late Keith Moon while also telling the general story of The Who. The parent album became Roger Daltrey's biggest solo success in America. In 1986, Parr joined up with Marilyn Martin to sing the duet "Through the Night (Love Song from Quicksilver)", a part of the soundtrack to the cycling-themed Kevin Bacon movie of the same name. Though earning some critical praise, the album was only moderately successful commercially.
Parr additionally wrote and produced further tracks for Marylin's debut album, including her popular tune "Night Moves". After the success of Meat Loaf's mid-80s work, Parr got out in front once again with the song "Rock & Roll Mercenaries". From there, he began work with Albert Magnili (director of the film 'Purple Rain') on the movie 'American Anthem'; Parr wrote and performed the main theme, a number titled "Two Hearts". Though he maintained his own supportive fan base, he found mainstream commercial success to the degree of "St. Elmo's Fire" elusive.
The Pepsi Company and Jack Calmes Satellite TV Corporation wanted to try something new, specifically a gig from London beamed live across America, Japan & Australia on the college Satellite Network, in the late 1980s. Parr ended up serving as the featured act, having done two similar shows before (one from the Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles where the flame was lit for a special performance of St. Elmo's Fire and was beamed live for Japan as well as the New Year Christmas Show from London). The special ended up being a great success, reaching almost 50-million people and making broadcast history for the network.
Another dream came true for John Parr in 1988 when he was offered to collaborate with one of the most successful record producers ever. Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who had assisted with hard rock mega-hit albums such as AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' and Def Leppard's 'Hysteria', agreed with work with Parr. Lange and Parr produced the self-titled debut album for the British blues rock outfit Romeo's Daughter, a work that earned mixed popular success yet had strong critical acclaim.
Nonetheless, when the 80s began to come to a close, Parr's fortunes declined as the arena-ready pop rock and progressive rock that he had produced fell out of style in favor of alternative rock and grunge music. Parr soldiered on, even trying his hand at commercial jingle writing in the 90s. Though saddled with the 'two hit wonder' label due to the outside success of his "Naughty Naughty" and "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" singles commercially, Parr has kept on touring over the years, and he more recently joined the musical project known as Acoustic Fever alongside Herman Rarebell (from Scorpions), Bobby Kimball (from Toto), and others, touring in locations such as Hannover, Germany in 2014.