Richard Marx wrote this song after learning about the Children Of The Night foundation, which works to help victims of sex trafficking and to save children forced into prostitution. Privately funded, it was started by the sociologist Dr. Lois Lee, who took action after seeing kids on the streets of Hollywood who had been left behind. The foundation was established in 1979, and in the '80s garnered lots of media attention for their work. In 1985, Lee was the subject of the CBS Movie of the Week Children Of The Night
, and in 1987 she was profiled on 60 Minutes
, which is where Marx learned of her work.
In a Songfacts interview with Marx
, he told the story: "I was in a hotel room on tour, and I was watching 60 Minutes
. There was a piece on this woman, Dr. Lois Lee, who created the Children Of The Night foundation, and I was just riveted by the story. The next day, I had my manager reach out to Dr. Lee. We got on the phone, and I said, 'I want to help. I also think that there is a song here. But I can't remotely write this without really researching it.'
So, when I got off the road, she connected me with three or four of the kids that had been sheltered by the foundation, and had been on the streets - had been prostitutes, drug addicts, in rehab - and had their lives together. I spent a couple of days just hanging out with these kids, and they were very generous with telling me what their lives had been like. So, I wrote the lyric based upon the conversations I had with these kids. And immediately, I knew the only right thing to do was to make all of the proceeds from the song go to the foundation. Luckily, the song was a pretty big hit, and the money generated from it built a whole new shelter in Los Angeles, and I continue to support them to this day."