Shine

Album: Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid (1993)
Charted: 11

Songfacts®:

  • In a Songfacts interview with Ed Roland, he told the story behind this song: "I had riffs - this was the late '80s and I was writing a lot of songs. I called it 'drone,' where you either drone the A or the E, and play a melody under it. So, I had a bunch of them that the band I was in at the time were playing. But I always had the 'Shine' riff, and I thought, 'That's a cool riff.'

    Then I came home and spent the night with my parents and Dean, who is 10 years younger than me - I didn't even know he played guitar. So he was playing guitar, and I joined in. I just showed him the riff, and I was like, 'I need to finish this.' So, I literally just wrote it right there, with Dean, sitting in my parents' living room. I didn't think anything about it. I probably wrote it in 1989, and it wasn't out until 1994."
  • Because the word "heaven" shows up so many times in the lyrics, "Shine" has often been mislabeled as a Christian song, and Collective Soul is often perceived as a Christian band. The song was written by lead singer Ed Roland, who is the son of a Baptist Minister. Roland rejects the "Christian Band" label, explaining that one doctrine cannot speak for all of the band's members.
  • This song launched the career of Collective Soul. Ed Roland wrote it in 1989 when he was in a band called Marching Two-Step. That group petered out, and in 1992 Roland formed Collective Soul. The group was loosely knit, with members pursuing other projects as well. Their first album, Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, was recorded as a demo for Roland, who was looking for work as a songwriter. The band played on the album, but doesn't appear together on any of the tracks.

    The album was issued on an independent label in 1993; the Georgia State University radio station, WRAS, started playing "Shine," which was then picked up by WJRR in Orlando, Florida. Other stations followed suit, and a bidding war broke out for the band. In early 1994, they signed with Atlantic, which issued the album with lots of promotional push and released "Shine" as the first single. It was a hit, helping the album sell over 2 million copies in America. Their next, (self-titled) album was even bigger, with "December" and "The World I Know" charting as singles.
  • This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
    -"This Little Light Of Mine"

    Oh, heaven let your light shine down
    -"Shine"

    We wondered if this "This Little Light Of Mine" was an influence on "Shine." "It could have been, but it wasn't like I sat down and thought of it," Ed Roland told us. "I'm sure I sang it a million times as a child, so it might have had something to do with it."
  • According to Ed's brother Dean (the band's guitarist), the chorus of this song is basically a prayer: "Oh, heaven let your light shine down."
  • Dolly Parton, Phish, Pillar, and the The Holmes Brothers have all covered "Shine." Dolly's bluegrass version, backed by Nickel Creek, appeared on her 2001 album Little Sparrow and earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
  • The guitar riff contains dramatic pauses that bring the song to life when it's performed live. Fans fill the silence by screaming "yeah" when they hit.
  • Following the Virginia Tech massacre of April 2007, assassin Cho Seung-Hui constantly played the song and even wrote the lyrics, "Teach me how to speak, teach me how to share, teach me where to go," on a wall. The band said that the innocent lives who were killed mattered more than the song did.
  • Dean Roland recalled in a 2005 interview with Bullz-Eye.com how because of its release date, this was commonly misclassified as a grunge song. "It came out at an odd time of grunge and this heavy content of music going on, so it was a little bit of an odd time for us to come out," he said. "In the beginning, I guess it was due to the timing, but we would get put in a grunge category, or grunge lite or something. We never even saw it as that. I totally dug a lot of that music, but I never saw this band falling in the realm."
  • In 2007, VH1 placed "Shine" at #42 on their 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s countdown. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Guy - New York, NY
  • Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins took umbrage with this song, believing it appropriated his sound. He often trashed Collective Soul in interviews and on stage, although "Shine" dates back to the '80s, predating the first Smashing Pumpkins album. Collective Soul retaliated with the 1995 song "Smashing Young Man."

    Corgan didn't let go of this feud; on the 2010 Smashing Pumpkins tour, they often played part of "Shine," before stopping so Corgan can say how much he hates the song can call it a "f--king rip-off of my band."

Comments: 1

  • Dave from Cincinnati, OhGreat band, good time to be alive.
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