Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering.
When I heard “Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire” for the first time in 1985 or 1986, it was the also the first time that I became aware of David Foster. I had a friend at the time, a spoiled little brat who used to sport a white skipper hat and a ponytail, kept about 25 pastel-colored linen suits in the style of Don Johnson in his walk-in closet along with matching espadrillos, and drove a banana-colored Citroen Visa — and of course he and his family were always the innovators: they were the first ones on our street to own a Betamax, the first ones with a modem and he was the first kid to get an Amiga (an ancient personal computer). We always used to laugh at his poor gaming skills, though, especially on this insanely addictive timewaster called Marble Madness, and when we did, he turned all red in the face, promptly turned off his computer and threw us out of the house. Every time. Then we laughed even harder — he was such a poor loser.
Ah, good times.
Anyway, he was also the first kid to buy a CD player, and I will never forget the day that he and I and some other guys went to the library and picked up a couple of CDs to put his new brand new player to the test. I hadn’t seen the movie yet, but I had heard “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” on the radio, and it was about the coolest thing I had ever heard, so I pleaded him to bring along the St. Elmo’s Fire soundtrack. He was more of a Mantronix (!) man, but he reluctantly agreed.
We got back to their stylish villa, naturally designed by his dad, the architect, and we started spinning the library discs. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” was the first track I ever heard on a CD player (which, along with their state-of-the-art stereo, may go a long way to explain my longtime David Foster affection), and my friends definitely got into the John Parr-groove as well. Yeah, this was teh shit, 1985-style. We danced around the house all the way until… track 2.
Then The Skipper started skipping tracks. Rock, rock, never stop, take your passion, shoot your shot Come on now, baby! Oh ho ho… Nah, what was this crap? Billy Squier’s “Shake Down” didn’t go down well with these four Scandinavian teens who had just made complete fools of themselves humping around to the beat of John Parr. Skip. Then came a ballad — Elefante’s “Young and Innocent” with a beautiful piano intro that got me all excited – skip! – a couple of “rockers” by Jon Anderson and Fee Waybill – skip! skip! – and then… the beautiful sound of those arpeggiating synth cellos augmented by Foster’s Rhodes and piano.
Inexplicably, I was hooked from the first bar. I don’t know why, I really don’t, it’s one of life’s great mysteries, but I fell seriously in love with that sound – skip! – wait, wait you little fucker!! Don’t do that! Play it again! Mumbles my pastel-colored friend: “Yeah, yeah, I’m just gonna play through the other tracks first. This is just filler, no? -skip! – There were those synth cellos again – at a slightly faster tempo!
Skip! Noooo! Stop doing that, you bastard! But wait! Here they were again, the cellos, at a slower tempo. Hooray.
Skip! Bzzzzz. “Boring,” yawned my friend as he put the disc back into its jewel case, well aware of the fact that he had pissed me off. But he had no idea how pissed off I was [sound of white skipper hat torn apart as it’s pulled down over the ears of an ex-skipper.]
Needless to say, I went out to buy St. Elmo’s Fire on vinyl, and I soon discovered Foster’s name on my Chicago and Lionel Richie records, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was hooked. “Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire” was a phenomenal success for David Foster, considering it’s an instrumental. It spent three months on the charts and it peaked at #15.