Some of the biggest film stars of the 80s starred in this 1985 movie including Andie MacDowell, Mare Winningham, Rob Lowe, and Judd Nelson. The plot is about a group of friends who just graduated college in Washington DC and are struggling to find their place in the ever-changing world. Like many of us, the songs listened to during pivotal moments in our lives are capture where we are and what we’re feeling. Joel Schumacher wrote and directed the movie and David Foster did the music. Together, they blended scenes that would have not have such an impact without music. This is a ranking of all the songs from the St. Elmo’s Soundtrack.
10. If You Turn Away – Vikki Moss
Kirby’s crush throughout the movie takes a lot of twists and turns. Many scenes are him trying desperately to impress her and it never seems to go the way he hopes. When this song plays, he is at the party he created specifically for her and she never shows up. As the song continues, another couple with a series of issues, Wendy Beamish played by Mare Winningham, and Billy Hicks played by Rob Lowe discuss the status of the relationship. However, she is at the party with someone else.
9. Shake Down – Billy Squier
One of the ongoing themes in the movie is whether or not Kevin is gay. So, it’s natural that there is no palpable tension between him and Leslie played by Ally Sheedy. After her long-term boyfriend comes home with a gift, he leaves the house and runs into a sex worker. She pointedly asks him about his sexuality as this song starts. He gives her as little information and walks off. The song Shake Down is echoing from a nearby bar which lends to the atmosphere of the scene.
8. Saved My Life – Fee Waybill
Just before this song starts there is a long scene at the St. Elmo’s bar with Billy Hicks played by Rob Lowe on The Saxophone. The song abruptly ends when he sees who he’s with and he dives off the bar and starts a fight. Everyone exits the bar and Hicks unleashes on everyone. His friends try to calm him down. Eventually, he makes up with his other half and the music starts to play. One of the reasons this song works so well in the soundtrack is that it keeps the scene from getting too dark because as it starts two other characters make light-hearted jokes.
7. This Time Was Right – J. Anderson
Kirby is always trying to figure out ways to impress Dale throughout the movie. Right before this song plays, he steps out of a limo and tries to convince her that he can throw an impressive party at the home of his boss. The song comes to the forefront as the party begins and all his friends come in and start giving him some concerned advice and jabs about his unattainable crush.
6. Young and Innocent – Elepfante
The scene opens with a heated discussion between Kevin and Leslie. Since there are so many characters the scene fades into another scene with Kevin. Kirby tends to be the one Kevin bounces everything off from and in this scene he is discussing his plans to work part-time at a law school. The pair walk by St. Elmo’s bar and talk about how everything in life changes.
5. Stressed Out (Close To The Edge) – Airplay
Right before this song starts, Kirby was just left at a restaurant by the woman he has a huge crush on. You hear a few quick bars of the song before the movie shifts to another pair of characters. Even with only a few bars in the scene, it gives a touch more urgency to the feelings he has for Dale. While he is at the laundromat with his friend Kevin he even makes the rash decision to go to medical school to be a doctor.
4. Love Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire (For Just A Moment) – David Foster
One of the things Joel Schumacher does well in the film shows the realness of the character’s emotions. He was one of the co-writers of the script and when watching the film they are so real they seem to walk off the screen. When this song plays the immediacy of the scene is well represented.
3. Georgetown – David Foster
There are many similarities to the next song on this list. However, for this song the brass section is much heavier. There’s also a brightness that is absent from the other. The song works well in the movie about a group of up and comings newly graduated from college.
2. Love Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire (Instrumental) – David Foster
This song captures the feeling of the 80s effortlessly. When you listen to it, you hear all of the elements that made music from this decade stand out. It’s heavy on the synthesizer and the strings in the song sound more synthesizer than traditional. The addition of the saxophone gives it a timeless feel that allowed it to be one of the best movie theme songs from the decade. Moviegoers will hear the song in the opening credits as well as the end credits.
1. St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion) – John Parr
There is quite a lot going on in this scene. First, Kirby runs into someone who he knew from Georgetown University, Dale played by Andie McDowell. There is a slow fade to a bar where everyone hangs out that is also the title of the movie. Finishing off the character development, six of the main characters are walking into the bar talking about the ups and downs in their life. Kirby walks in as the song ends to start his shift.