John Parr is an English musician, best known for his 1985 US #1 hit single "St. Elmo's Fire".
Parr's first entrance in to music was when he was 12 years old and formed a band with two fellow schoolmates named The Silence. The band had considerable success. They eventually became professional and started to tour Europe.
When Parr left the band, he joined a group called Ponders End who were hailed as the 'best live act around' in Newcastle, along with Dire Straits. In the end they did not secure a recording contract and the band's chapter in history was closed.
Parr secured a publishing deal with Carlin Music in 1983 and in the same year Meat Loaf asked him to write some songs for his new album. That led to the fateful meeting with John Wolfe (tour manager of The Who). Foreseeing the initial demise of The Who, Wolff was looking for a new venture and Parr seemed to be the one. 1984 saw Parr's first trip to America. He worked with Meat Loaf on Bad Attitude while Wolff was struck Parr's solo Atlantic recording deal in New York.
"Naughty Naughty" was Parr's first U.S. Top 40 hit record, hitting No. 23 and No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart. 1985 saw Parr on the road with his band "The Business" supporting Toto, and playing 10,000-seater venues across America. By the end of the tour, John had a call from one of the world's most successful record producers, David Foster. He requested Parr to record a song for the film "St. Elmo's Fire". Parr and Foster wrote a song in honor of wheelchair athlete and activist Rick Hansen, the song was called "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" which also became the theme for the film St. Elmo's Fire (a "Brat Pack" film unrelated to Hansen's life or achievements). The song became a number one hit for Parr around the world and garnered many awards, including a Grammy nomination. Parr went on to tour with Tina Turner on "The Private Dancer" tour and also with "Heart" and "The Beach Boys". In his charity work with The David Foster foundation Parr has shared the stage and the sports field with many stars of stage and screen including John Travolta, Michael J Fox, Celine Dion, Paul Anka and Rob Lowe.
Parr later wrote "Under a Raging Moon" for Roger Daltrey, a song that paid tribute to Keith Moon and told the story of The Who. The album became Daltrey's biggest solo success in America. Parr's last concert in the U.S. was a duet of the song with Daltrey at Madison Square Garden, joining them on stage were Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, John Entwistle and Zak Starkey.
Parr was soon singing with Marilyn Martin on the song "Through the Night", from the Quicksilver soundtrack (1986). Parr wrote and produced further tracks for Martin's debut album, including the hit "Night Moves". A year after,wrote and sang the title songs "The Minute I Saw You", from Three Men and a Baby soundtrack, and the power ballad "Running Away With You", from The Running Man soundtrack (this song was re-released on "Man With a Vision" album, with the title "Restless Heart"). After the success of Meat Loaf's album, Parr contributed to the next album with the hit duet "Rock & Roll Mercenaries". From there he began work with Albert Magnoli (director of Purple Rain) on the movie American Anthem for which he wrote and performed the main theme "Two Hearts". Parr's other movie credits include "Naughty Naughty" from the cult horror movie Near Dark and "Love Grammar" from the Karen Black movie Flight of the Spruce Goose. He has also written songs for Tom Jones, The Monkees, Tygers of Pan Tang, Romeo's Daughter and Bucks Fizz.
The Pepsi Company and Jack Calmes Satellite TV Corporation wanted to try something new - a gig from London beamed live across America, Japan & Australia on the college Satellite Network. Parr was the featured act, having done two similar shows (one from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the flame was lit for a special performance of "St. Elmo's Fire", and was beamed live for Japan, and the New Year Christmas Show from London). The show was a great success, reaching almost 50-million people and making broadcast history for the network. That same year Parr was signed by US clothing designer "Chams De Baron" to promote their sports leisure range - features in leading fashion magazines followed and a national poster campaign saw Parr's image splashed across America's major city busses for the summer. Later that year, again via satellite, Parr co-presented the UK leg of the "American Music Awards" with Phil Collins.
Another dream came true for Parr in 1988 when he was offered the opportunity to collaborate with one of the most successful record producers ever, Robert John "Mutt" Lange; (co)producing an album for Romeo's Daughter.
In 1989 Parr played the lead role in "Paris", an epic rock opera – stage musical and soundtrack album written by Dave Mackay and John English. An epic love story of Paris and Helen set against the Trojan wars – where he performed with the London Symphony alongside Harry Nilsson, Demis Rousos. Francis Rossi and Barry Humphries. The album went on to win many awards around the world.
After ten years out of the music business Parr returned in 2006 . An unconnected dance remix of "St. Elmo's Fire", entitled "New Horizon" went Top 40 that same year.
In 2007, Parr joined Canadian pop-rock artist Bryan Adams on his tour.
On 26 March 2007, Parr released "Walking Out of the Darkness", a tribute to Doncaster Rovers F.C. ahead of the club's appearance in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 1 April 2007.
In May 2007 Parr returned to Canada to perform at the Man in Motion 20th anniversary. Parr's song "St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen's anthem, helping him wheel 25,000 miles around the globe and raising awareness and money for spinal research. To date the Rick Hansen foundation has raised $200 million and helped build the world's leading research center ICORD in Vancouver.
In June 2007 Parr wrote and recorded the main title for Sony Pictures The Brothers Solomon, directed by Bob Odenkirk. In July 2007 Parr and his band opened for Bryan Adams at the Keepmoat Stadium in Parr's home town. Twenty years earlier, Parr joined Adams in his home town where they played to 75,000 at the Canadian Exhibition Center in Vancouver.
In June 2008, John Parr was a special guest for the U.S. rock band Journey on their UK Tour.
May 2011 will see John Parr perform an acoustic set as Special Guest of Richard Marx on his UK Tour.
One of Parr's sons, Ben is an actor – his best known role so far came as stripper Freddie in British soap Hollyoaks. His first appearance was in the episode aired on 4 January 2007. He also appeared in the BBC drama The Curse of Steptoe.
June 2011 John returns to America to go on tour and promote his new double album "Letter To America".