Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This is used as the rollout to the Men's Basketball Final 4 coverage on CBS at the end of the tournament. CBS started playing this with their video montages at the end of the games in 1987, after reporter Armen Keteyian suggested they use it.
This was written by Barrett, who is a Folk singer. It was never released on an album, but several versions are available on the Internet and the song is available as a CD Single on his website: oneshiningmoment.com
Barrett wrote this in 20 minutes after seeing a Larry Bird highlight reel.
Barrett: "Writing this song changed my life. Strange how that is so. I mean; the writing came so effortlessly. I knew immediately after that I had something special on my hands. In fact I got up from the piano and went immediately to the phone and called a friend and said... "Glen I just wrote a great song." It was almost like... "where did this come from?" In any case, the song opened all sorts of doors for me in a professional sense. But on a personal note, it also showed me to write about what mattered to me. I mean, I just wrote it because I thought it was worth writing. I learned to trust that. For years I had been listening to what others thought was valid. It was this song that made it clear to me that my job was to write about what I know, and tell the truth about that... Simple."
Contrary to popular belief, the first line in the song was not changed from "The Ball is Kicked" to "The Ball is Tipped." David Barrett explained: "My daughter informed me that they claim that the initial line was the ball is kicked. That's not the case. It never was. The original line was, the gun goes off... which I changed to suit the tournament. Ironically - I wrote the song about basketball (after watching Larry Bird) but for some reason (who knows what I was thinking?!?) I didn't write it into the original first line. And so having the first line fall into place as it did was poetic and true.
The Chicago White Sox used the version with 'The Gun Goes Off' to close their telecast on the final game at Comiskey Park on September 30th, 1990. To my knowledge, this is the ONLY time that this version of the song was aired." (thanks to Bill in Fort Wayne, IN for contacting Mr. Barrett about this song)
In 1997, CBS used a version of this recorded by Teddy Pendergrass. It got a horrible response and they returned to the original version, which was sung by Barrett, the next year.
CBS often gets requests for people wanting to use this for birthdays, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, and even funerals.
The "One Shining Moment" rollout airs at the very end of the show, after interviews, commentary and credits. Occasionally, CBS stations accidentally go to their local news before this runs, thinking that the show is over. Whenever this happens, they get a bunch of viewer complaints and end up airing it the next day to make it up to them.
In 2003, when the Syracuse Orangemen won the national championship, CBS changed singers and gave "One Shining Moment" a new look. Luther Vandross, who had been to only one basketball game in his life, was the new singer, and the video didn't have any special effects like glowing basketballs and star trails like it did in previous years. It is believed this was the last song Vandross recorded before his stroke and subsequent death.
Barrett hasn't gotten rich off this song, but it has been profitable. According to Barrett, CBS pays him "under $50,000" to use the song each year. Barrett makes his living writing music for TV shows and commercials.
A new version by Jennifer Hudson was recorded in Los Angeles for the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Hudson said: "The song inspires you. It moves you. It motivates you and helps you reach that goal and that dream." Hudson's producer, Harvey Mason Jr., played for the Arizona team that reached the 1988 Final Four.
Kristian Bush of Sugarland
Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.
Loudon Wainwright III
"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit. His latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.
Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust
The Sevendust frontman talks about the group's songwriting process, and how trips to the Murder Bar helped forge their latest album.