Mac Davis penned this song with Billy Strange. They wrote it for Elvis, a US television special featuring Elvis Presley, that aired on December 3, 1968 on the NBC television network. Davis recalled to Billboard magazine: "They had asked for a song about looking back over the years, and oddly enough, I had to write it in one night. I stayed up all night at Billy Strange's house in Los Angeles. He had a little office set up in his garage. I wrote it right there."
"St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" was not written for the movie, but for Rick Hanson, a wheelchair athlete whose 1985 "Man In Motion" tour logged 24,856 miles on his wheelchair in 34 countries while raising $26 million for spinal cord research.