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"Shine" is the debut single by American alternative rock band Collective Soul. It served as the lead single from their 1993–1994 debut album Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid. "Shine" would remain the band's most well known song and a hallmark of 1990s alternative rock. It became the number one Album Rock Song of 1994, and won a Billboard award for Top Rock Track.[1] The song also reached the top of the Album Rock Tracks for eight weeks. The song then went on to peak at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week.[2] VH1 would later rank "Shine" at number 42 on their list of the "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s".

Collective Soul - Shine.jpeg
Single by Collective Soul
from the album Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid
  • March 19, 1993
  • October 21, 1993 (re-release)
  • 5:07 (album version)
  • 4:40 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Ed Roland
Producer(s)Ed Roland
Collective Soul singles chronology
Music video
"Shine" on YouTube



In a December 2017 interview with Songfacts, lead singer Ed Roland explained the origin of "Shine":

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.[3]

Due to the song's lyrical themes, particularly the mention of "heaven", Collective Soul was often early on regarded as a Christian band. Ed Roland elaborated, "I remember around the time ["Shine" came out] getting into an argument with a writer who said, 'You're a Christian band.' I said, 'No, we're not.' 'Well, you have the word heaven in your song.' And I said, 'Well, so does Led Zeppelin. I don't remember anyone saying they were a Christian band.'" He went on to stress that such classification would unite the bandmates' beliefs and that a particular doctrine cannot speak for all its members.[4] Roland did note, however, his religious background and the fact that his father is a Southern Baptist minister, but that this does not justify a Christian label.

Collective Soul rhythm guitarist Dean Roland has called the song's chorus "basically a prayer" and noted that the uplifting single was released during an odd time amidst heavy grunge. He noted that, despite the song's unique feel, this circumstance wrongfully pigeonholed the band as being grunge.[5]

"Shine" features guitar with a slight distortion and mellow atmosphere throughout the verses. Its chorus pounds with staccato riffs before brightening up with the lyrics "Heaven let your light shine down." Later, the song's bridge modulates into double-time behind a hard rock guitar solo before returning to its previous state of calmness.[citation needed]

Legacy and appearancesEdit

"Shine" has remained a symbol of 1990s alternative rock. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic regarded the song "a tremendous guilty pleasure, built on a guitar riff so indelible you swear it's stolen, blessed by a sighing melody that makes this a fine album-rock single that would have sounded as good in '74 as it did in '94."[6]

Due to its popularity among 1990s music, "Shine" has been included on various era-themed compilation albums including VH1: I Love the '90s, Whatever: The '90s Pop and Culture Box, Big Shiny '90s, and The Buzz. Live versions have been included on the Woodstock '94 and Much at Edgefest 1999 compilations.[7]

Cover versionsEdit

Phish poked fun at the song with their short version of "Shine" in the middle of "Fly Famous Mockingbird" at Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve 1995 with Page McConnell on vocals. This version can be found on the live album Phish: New Year's Eve 1995 – Live at Madison Square Garden.

Dolly Parton recorded a cover of "Shine" for her 2001 album Little Sparrow with members of the alt and bluegrass band Nickel Creek. Parton's recording of the song earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

The Holmes Brothers recorded a cover of "Shine" for their 2004 album Simple Truths.

Pillar recorded a cover of "Shine" for their 2009 album Confessions.

The Smashing Pumpkins played parts of "Shine" during their 2010 tour.[8] Billy Corgan has expressed his hatred of the song and noted its similarities to the Smashing Pumpkins' song Drown.[8] Corgan lost a lawsuit in the mid-1990s to Ed Roland after Roland was able to produce a demo tape featuring "Shine" that preceded the Smashing Pumpkins' release.[citation needed]

A video uploaded by Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis titled "Collective Soul Cat" became popular in 2012 which featured the cat singing the famous "Yeah!" in the song's exact key.[9]

Track listingEdit

CD single

All songs written by Ed Roland.

  1. "Shine" – 5:10
  2. "Scream" (non-LP B-side) – 2:28
  3. "Almost You" (non-LP B-side) – 3:01

Music videoEdit

The song's video, was written and directed by William Levin, which achieved popularity on MTV, features various footage, largely black-and-white. Youths are seen carrying seemingly random items across a rural area and railroad tracks before arriving at an old shed and watching the band perform. "Shine" was included on the era-themed compilation Essential Music Videos: '90s Rock.



In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007, it was revealed by two roommates that gunman Seung-Hui Cho played "Shine" over and over[20] and even wrote some of the lyrics of the song ("Teach me how to speak/Teach me how to share/Teach me where to go") on his wall.[21] In response to this news, the band issued a statement saying that "It is an enormous tragedy and we deeply regret the loss of life. The issue is not about the song. It is about the innocent lives that were lost that we regret deeply, as do all Americans."[22]


  1. ^ "Rock On The Net: Billboard Year-End Chart-Toppers: 1994". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 137.
  3. ^ "Ed Roland of Collective Soul". Songfacts. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Garrett, Jonathan A RETURN TO HAVING FUN: Collective Soul Remembers Why It Makes Music PopMatters (January 25, 2005). Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Farley, Mike Interview with Dean Roland Bullz-Eye (July 28, 2005). Retrieved on April 25, 2009
  6. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen Review - Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid Allmusic. Retrieved on 4-25-09.
  7. ^ Shine - Collective Soul Allmusic. Retrieved on 4-25-09.
  8. ^ a b Video on YouTube
  9. ^ Video on YouTube
  10. ^ " – Collective Soul – Shine". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  11. ^ " – Collective Soul – Shine" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  12. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 59, No. 25, July 11, 1994". RPM. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  13. ^ " – Collective Soul – Shine" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ " – Collective Soul – Shine". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ a b c "Collective Soul". Billboard. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 60, No. 21, December 12, 1994". RPM. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  18. ^ "The Year in Music 1994 – Hot Album Rock Tracks". Billboard. 106 (52): YE-62. December 24, 1994. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  19. ^ "The Year in Music 1994 – Hot Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. 106 (52): YE-62. December 24, 1994. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  20. ^ "Collective Soul's "Shine" Soon To Be Christened Virginia Tech's "Helter Skelter" - Sound of the City - Village Voice". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  21. ^ News, A. B. C. (August 1, 2007). "Roommates Give a Glimpse Into the Mind of a Killer". ABC News. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Collective Soul issue statement on killer's connection to song". Retrieved January 13, 2018.

External linksEdit