Sunday Music: Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down

In 1993-1994, Collective Soul’s breakout single was the song “Shine.” It was inescapable. Any kid with a radio and an interest in “alternative” music heard it way too many times. The funny thing about these types of hits is how they get etched into your brain from sheer exposure. I don’t think I even noticed at the time that some rockers had snuck an almost-church song onto the charts. While Nirvana was giving us the complex imagery of “Heart Shaped Box,” Collective Soul was telling us:

Love is in the water
Love is in the air
Show me where to look
Tell me will love be there
Teach me how to speak
Teach me how to share
Teach me where to go
Tell me will love be there
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

It’s a prayer. A simple, beautiful meditation. All of this talk and I don’t want to play Collective Soul today. I don’t want to play them because I don’t think I actually noticed the lyrics and felt the weight of the song until 2001 when an unlikely cover broke out… in country. Dolly Parton, backed by bluegrass badasses Nickel Creek, reimagined the song for her album Little Sparrow. Same song, totally different impact, on me at least. And if you’ve never heard her version but you know the original, don’t worry, she kept the “yeah” in the chorus.

Collective Soul reflecting on the cover:

And the original for posterity:

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