Our top 10 John Parr songs list presents the music of England-born rock and roll icon behind the chart-topping hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion).” John Parr’s star shone in the mid-‘80s following the release of his eponymous debut album which spawned the hit single “Naughty Naughty.” Prior to releasing his eponymous debut LP in 1984, John Parr signed to Carlin America, a music publisher, in 1983.
The move saw him exercise his songwriting skills, penning a few songs for Meat Loaf’s fourth studio album, Bad Attitude. John Parr has since penned songs for other reputable artists including Roger Daltrey, Marilyn Martin, and the English AOR band Seven. Three times winner of Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year, David Foster, helped catapult John Parr’s solo career to the top ranks. This came after David Foster invited him to record a song for the film St. Elmo’s Fire.
“St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” is the only John Parr song to top the Billboard Hot 100. John Parr has proved to be more than a one-hit wonder with an extra four of his songs making it to the Billboard Hot 100. Throughout his career, John Parr has toured with reputable artists including Tina Turner, The Beach Boys, Heart, Bryan Adams, Kenney Jones, and Bonnie Tyler to name a few. The singer has also enjoyed commercial success, selling over ten million album copies to date.
John Parr’s Album Releases over the Years
In 1984, John Parr issued his debut eponymous studio album. The nine-track album was a success on the Billboard 200 Chart, peaking at number forty-eight. John Parr featured some of the best John Parr songs including “Naughty Naughty,” “Magical,” “Don’t Leave Your Mark on Me,” and “Love Grammar.” The album’s production was handled by Peter Solley, who has worked with other reputable artists including Whitesnake, Eric Clapton, Motörhead, Al Stewart, Peter Frampton, Ted Nugent, The Romantics, and Wreckless Eric. Three of the songs on the album rose to the Billboard Hot 100 crowning it a mainstream success. The album’s 1985 re-issue by London Records included John Parr’s signature and the chart-topping single “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion).”
Running the Endless Mile, released in 1986, marked John Parr’s sophomore studio album. While the album failed to live up to the standards of the singer’s debut album, it managed to feature some of the most popular John Parr songs including “Blame It on the Radio,” “Two Hearts,” and “Running the Endless Mile.” John Parr returned in 1992 with his third studio album, Man with a Vision. The album was a success on the Austrian Albums Chart, where it peaked at number thirty-eight. Man with a Vision also made it to the Swiss Albums Chart, peaking at number thirty-seven. “Restless Heart” and “Man with a Vision” are the best John Parr songs from the album.
In 1996, John Parr issued his fourth studio album, Under Parr. Despite the minimal commercial success with this album, John Parr managed to gain some mainstream appeal with the hits “The River Runs Deep,” “It Ain’t the Size of the Boat,” and “Secrets.” The Mission, issued in 2012, marks the singer’s most recent album release. Like the fourth album, The Mission failed to garner massive commercial gains. However, it featured some rock classics including “Enlisted Man,” “Comin’ Home,” and “Come Out Fightin’.”
John Parr’s Other Musical Pursuits
John Parr’s impressive music career has seen him invited to contribute songs to several films including Three Men and a Baby, The Running Man, and Near Dark. His songwriting skills have seen him pen classics for the English AOR band Seven, Roger Daltrey, Meat Loaf, and Marilyn Martin. In 1986, John Parr was featured as a guest vocalist on the Meat Loaf hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mercenaries.” Here we present the ten best John Parr songs.
# 10 – Don’t Leave Your Mark on Me
Ushering us to the top 10 John Parr songs list is the radiant hit “Don’t Leave You Mark on Me.” The song is among the top songs by the singer from his 1984 eponymous debut album. “Don’t Leave Your Mark on Me” had its lyrics penned by John Parr and Julia Downes. The song was initially released by Meat Loaf on the album, Bad Attitude. Meat Loaf’s version of this song feels a little heavier than John Parr’s version. However, John Parr’s exquisite vocal delivery makes his version quite a memorable musical gem.
# 9 – Man with a Vision
In 1990, John Parr collaborated with Simon LeFevre and Keith McFarlane to write the song “Man with a Vision.” The song went on to be issued by the Bournemouth-based AOR band, Seven, as a single through Polydor Records. Seven’s version was a success in the mainstream, peaking at number ninety-one on the UK Singles Chart. The song stayed on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks, proving to have been a successful second and final single for the band.
Later in 1992, John Parr covered the song featuring it on his third studio album of the same title. While his version failed to make it to the charts, it somewhat brings the individual brilliance of John Parr on the vocals. It is worthwhile noting that John Parr was the producer of the original version of this hit by Seven.
# 8 – Running the Endless Mile
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 John Parr songs list is the stunning hit “Running the Endless Mile.” The song was penned by John Parr and featured on his sophomore album of the same name. Once again, the singer has his vocal delivery standout. John Parr also delivers magical guitar and keyboard riffs to this rock classic showcasing his skills on the two instruments. It is quite a shame that the song never made it to the charts. Nevertheless, John Parr fans still show huge love for this classic!
# 7 – Blame It on the Radio
“Blame It on the Radio” is yet another cut from the singer’s sophomore studio album, Running the Endless Mile. The song strikes a balance between John Parr’s AOR and pop sonic influences. John Parr has quite some huge stakes in the success of this hit having him pen its lyrics, sing lead vocals, and produce it!
“Blame It on the Radio” was a success on the charts, peaking at number eighty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, this was the singer’s last attempt to make it to the charts. The song stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for six weeks.
# 6 – Love Grammar
Number six on our top 10 John Parr songs list is the intoxicating hit “Love Grammar.” The song was penned by John Parr and featured on his debut eponymous studio album. This pop-rock hit alludes to the story of infidelity by a lady who takes advantage of the fact that the man will always be there for her.
“Love Grammar” was a success in the mainstream, peaking at number eighty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. While the song achieved quite some status in the mainstream, it only rose to the charts in late 1985 after the release of the chart-topping hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion).” The song is among the songs by John Parr that received heavy rotation on MTV.
# 5 – Restless Heart
Since the success of the hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion),” John Parr earned a call to release soundtrack singles for several films. “Restless Heart” is yet another successful soundtrack single by John Parr for the 1987 dystopian action film, The Running Man. The song was penned by John Parr and Harold Faltermeyer who also handled the song’s production.
Singer John Parr hoped that “Restless Heart” would rise to the charts to allow him to tour in the UK. While his wish failed to happen, the song still remains a fan favorite to date. “Restless Heart” was later featured on John Parr’s album, Man with a Vision.
# 4 – Magical
“Magical” is among the initially successful hits from the singer’s eponymous debut studio album. The song was penned by John Parr and Meat Loaf, with whom Parr had quite a close relationship having worked on a few songs on his album, Bad Attitude. “Magical” was a hit inspired by Cat People, a 1982 horror film that stars a seductress who transforms into a panther during the night.
“Magical” preceded John Parr and Meat Loaf’s duet “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mercenaries,” issued in 1986. The song rose to position twenty-eight on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, peaking at number seventy-three on the Billboard Hot 100. British pop group Bucks Fizz went on to cover this song in 1985.
# 3 – Two Hearts
The third pick on our ten best John Parr songs list is the outstanding hit “Two Hearts.” “Two Hearts” is featured on the singer’s sophomore studio album, Running the Endless Mile. The song was obtained from the soundtrack of the 1986 sports drama film American Anthem. Other artists featured on the soundtrack of this film include INXS, Andy Taylor, Stevie Nicks, Graham Nash, and Mr. Mister. While “Two Hearts” might have failed to make it to the charts, John Parr’s vocal delivery takes over the hearts of rock lovers making it one of his fan-favorite tracks.
# 2 – Naughty Naughty
When John Parr released “Naughty Naughty,” the lead single off his eponymous debut studio album, the song catapulted him to mainstream success. This hard rock hit beat all odds gifting him his first Billboard Hot 100 appearance, peaking at number twenty-three. His hard work in the music scene spanning over a decade was now bearing fruits, and most amazingly, not even in his home country but in America.
Thanks to the song’s unique keyboard riffs it appealed to more rock fans worldwide. “Naughty Naughty” also managed to rise to number eighty-four on the Canadian Top Singles Chart. The song is the first of the only two solo songs by John Parr to make it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number fifty-eight. “Naughty Naughty” had its hook/riff sampled in the 2000 song “Turn Me Loose” by Limp Bizkit featuring Eminem.
# 1 – St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)
Number one on our top 10 John Parr songs list is the alluring hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion).” The song was penned by John Parr and David Foster for the 1985 film, St. Elmo’s Fire. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” has its lyrics alluding to Rick Hansen, a Canadian athlete who got paralyzed after getting involved in a greasy road accident. The fact that this hit was created and edited in a day is just mind-blowing!
“St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” went on to top the Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Top Singles Charts. The song also managed to rise to the sixth spot on the UK Singles Chart. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” has been covered by The Ventures, Punk Rock Factory, and David Essex to name a few.
Feature Photo: Sean Rowe from Wexford, Ireland, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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