Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shine a Light

Exile on Main St.
Side Four, Track Three
"Shine a Light" – 4:14

[Download link]

I've always heard "Shine a Light" as a fairly typical example of a soul-inflected ballad, no more musically interesting than, say, "Let It Be" or "Take It to the Limit". I never really understood the amount of attention the song attracted—compared to most of the tracks on Exile or any of the ballads on Sticky Fingers, "Shine a Light" is unremarkable.

There is a lot of confusion over who played what on this track. I was going to do some research to clear that up, but it's just not worth it for this vanilla track. I can say that Billy Preston is the man on the B3 (moonlighting from his gig at the time over at Abbey Road Studios), and who was perhaps asked to use his extensive gospel background to help arrange the song.