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Shine A Light


The Rolling Stones

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Mick Jagger originally wrote the lyrics for Stones guitarist Brian Jones in 1968. The original lyrics were about Jones' drug addiction which was slowly detaching him from the rest of the band, and the song was called "Get A Line On You," but it was never released. After Jones' death, Jagger rewrote some of the lyrics and it was released in 1972 as "Shine A Light." (thanks, Jake - Toronto, Canada)
Venetta Field (incorrectly credited on the album as "Vanetta") sang backup on this. She is an R&B singer who also worked with B. B. King, Al Kooper, Billy Preston, Joe Cocker, Pink Floyd, and Blondie Chaplin.
Billy Preston played piano and organ on this track. Preston was a frequent guest musician for both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
Shine A Light is the name of the 2008 Martin Scorsese concert film documenting 2 shows The Rolling Stones played in New York shows in 2006. Buddy Guy, Christina Aguilera and Jack White all appear in the film. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
In an interview with The Sun newspaper May 21, 2010, Mick Jagger chose this as his favorite Exile song. He explained: "It was quite an early one from Olympic Studios London, with Billy Preston. Once it was finished, we never played it on stage for years and years. Then it became this favorite after we recorded it for the Stripped album. So 'Shine A Light' was this funny thing that started off as something you did once at that time and never went back to."
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Comments (8):

Best song on album,builds up to trademark stones climax,more powerful than Let it be !
LOVE this song. it's not as good as "Let It Be," though.
- Rosario, Naples, FL
"stripped" version is THE version to me. great song
- Patrick, Greenville, SC
A superb song from the best album ever. Every thing about this song is A-1.

Upcoming Martin Scorsese doco on the Stones is called "Shine a light".

Vanetta Fields (back up singer) came to Australia as part of Boz Scaggs band in 1977/8. She loved the place so much she immigrated here. She was long time back up singer for Australia's top selling male artist, John Farnham.
- Craig, melbourne, Australia
It sounds familiar to Let it be because Billy Preston plays organ on both songs. He made the songs sound special.
- Lars, Sindelfingen, Germany
Is this the song that was compared to "Let it Be"? They sound the same, kind of. This is a great song, worthy of that comparison.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
I like this one. It has a sort of spiritual or Gospel feel to it.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
A live acoustic version of this song appears on the Stones' 1995 album "Stripped".
- Joshua, Twin Cities, MN
You have to to post comments.
They Might Be GiantsThey Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
Marvin GayeMarvin Gaye
Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?
Jason ReevesJason Reeves
Jason co-wrote many of Colbie Caillat's hits, including "Bubbly" and "Realize."
Kristine WKristine W
Only Madonna, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson and Rihanna have more #1 Dance hits than Kristine.