We Are All Disabled - Part 12A

Hits Are Hard To Find

 The countryside between Seattle and Vancouver is well travelled in my memory. It marked the beginning of a journey around the world with Rick Hansen more than 25 years ago. We were young, ambitious and determined to make a difference.
On that road to Seattle with the Canadian border at our backs, I came to appreciate how hard it would be for my friend in a chair to make the world pay attention. And how hard it would be for me to keep up, physically and emotionally.   

Driving home from Seattle last week on that same road, my memories of yesterday slipped away. I was lost in the excitement of a performance the night before. Everything worked, it was a kind of magic that left me buzzing for days. That kind of feeling is a privilege and as much about the audience as it is about my music. 
But at one point on the drive home from the Seattle show, a song on the radio instantly transported me back to the old days. It was St. Elmo's Fire, the hit song David Foster produced with singer John Parr, inspired by Rick Hansen's journey. 

I laughed out loud when I heard it again. I love the song and I couldn't help but smile remembering how before there was Man in Motion, Rick wanted a powerful theme song for the tour. We just didnt know how to go about it.

During a  kick off party for the tour we met Terry David Mulligan, a broadcaster who knew many big time rock stars, including David Foster who he went to school with.

Terry really helped us and managed to get David's production manager Chris Earthy, CBC news footage of Rick wheeling. Chris promised Terry he would have David watch it during a break in their recording session in LA.
Terry pulled through, Chris pulled through and so did David who was so inspired when he saw the news footage that he wrote the song with John Parr. The rest is history. When we arrived in LA on the Man in Motion Tour, David and Chris took time from recording an album to make us feel at home and important as we pushed around the world.
A lot of people believed in Rick Hansen and helped him. I was one of those people and will always smile remembering how in spite of the exhaustion, we never gave up on each other. David Foster's inspired tribute to the Man in Motion ends as all hit songs do in about 3 minutes and when the real world returned, I'm back in my car, on that same road in northern Washington.

But this time, I'm going home and the music that plays in my head, is my own. That my life has been touched by David Foster, Chris Earthy, Terry David Mulligan, John Parr and others, makes me especially proud that like them, I've landed in the music business with so much to say and so little time to say it.
But there’s more to this story, coming next blog...


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Don Alder is a musician and partner in a grand adventure - "Man In Motion" that forever changed the way we see disability. He lives alone in a basement suite over run by guitars, note books full of ideas for songs and everywhere, memories of going around the world with his best friend, Rick Hansen.