One Shining Moment Writer Talks About Song

Shortly after Villanova knocked off North Carolina for the national championship on Monday, television viewers across America were treated to the annual tournament montage set to “One Shining Moment,” which David Barrett wrote 30 years ago.

“It’s been very moving,” the Emmy award-winning composer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Both CBS and Turner have been very gracious to me.”

So has college basketball – and, perhaps, the women who inspired the song.

“It was inspired by a waitress I compared to Helen of Troy, who approached me after a night’s work,” Barrett said. “I was just by myself in the club where I was playing. I was so frightened and unnerved that I tried to explain to her the poetry of basketball. I am not sure I did a great job of that, but as a result of that, I wrote down the title to the song ‘One Shining Moment’ and off we were running. I had no idea what it would turn into.”

Of course, if you asked the average college basketball fan who wrote the lyrics, the vast majority would likely say Luther Vandross, who sang perhaps the most well-known rendition of the song.

That doesn’t bother Barrett.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I mean, I know I wrote it, and I’m grateful that Luther sang it. In fact, it was the last song he ever sang. Again, I know I wrote the song, and we’ve had, now, four Grammy Award winners sing the song. Luther, of course, and now Ne-Yo, and we had Jennifer Hudson and Teddy Pendergrass. So when I sat down to write that song, to think there’d be four Grammy Award winners singing it, I’d think, ‘What are you smoking?’”

Barrett was asked which version is his favorite.

“All of them bring something to it,” he said. “Right now, Luther, he’s so magnificent. He’s the singer of a generation. But now we have someone new, Ne-Yo, who does such a great job. Let’s put it this way: There has not been one singer (whose version) I thought (wasn’t good). All of them brought something special.”

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