“She’s Taken a Shine“
Written by Richard Bach and Greg Barnhill
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
March 14, 1997
John Berry’s final No. 1 single to date.
The Road to No. 1
After “Standing On the Edge of Goodbye” became his second No. 1 single, John Berry went top five with “I Think About it All the Time.” The next two singles from Standing On the Edge missed the top twenty. Berry returned to the top ten with “Change My Mind,” which barely charted when the Oak Ridge Boys released it in 1991, but served as the lead off hit from Berry’s third Capitol album, Faces. He returned to the top with the second single from that album.
The No. 1
Nothing makes someone shine like the confidence and joy that come from true love. According to “She’s Taken a Shine,” at least.
They stack the deck against Rosie a bit too much in the first verse, making her out like some homely reject that no guy would take a second glance at. But the payoff is worth it, as all of the guys who used to ignore her are now dropping their jaws when she walks by. She’s radiating happiness, and it’s revealing the beauty that was always there underneath.
Berry is a sympathetic narrator, and his performance communicates that the issue was the guys around her not being able to see her beauty. That keeps “She’s Taken a Shine” from feeling like a white knight trope, where the woman didn’t have value until a man came along to give it to her.
The other guys were just fools and they missed their shots.
The Road From No. 1
Berry went top twenty with his next single from Faces, “I Will if You Will,” which was enough to push the album to gold status. Following a run of low-charting singles, his fourth album for Capitol was left unreleased, and he moved on to Lyric Street. His only album for the label produced two singles that missed the top forty. Berry returned to his independent roots afterward, and has continued to release music, mostly of the Christmas and Gospel variety, and he will launch his 26th Annual Christmas Tour this fall.
“She’s Taken a Shine” gets a B.
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I just love this song so much! It’s one of my all time favorite feel good songs of the late 90’s and one of my personal favorites from John Berry. It just makes me smile and fills my heart with joy from start to finish, and it also makes me think of great times from 1997. :)
I personally think the story of Rosie and Jessie is rather sweet and quite charming. As Kevin points out, one of the reasons why it works so well is because Jessie recognizes the beauty that Rosie had all along, and it’s the other guys’ fault for being “so blind.” You root for Rosie’s character, and it makes you happy that she’s found such joy and happiness without changing herself for anybody. That Rosie has “taken a shine to life” is also very relatable to anyone who’s ever had that certain “glow” about them and experienced a newfound happiness and positive attitude towards life after someone special has entered their world. Especially, when it’s someone who loves and appreciates them for who they are.
Sonically, it’s such a joy to hear from beginning to end! I absolutely love its bright and sunny melody, as well as the very energetic, still fresh sounding production from Chuck Howard. The song’s chorus is especially so catchy and sing along worthy. I also love Berry’s joyful, enthusiastic performance that celebrates Rosie’s newfound happiness and the positive relationship between her and Jessie, and as Kevin mentions, also sympathizes with Rosie’s character. I especially always loved how cheerful he sounds in the chorus when he sings “She’s taken a shine to life. Now there’s a sparkle in her eyes.” And you can even sort of “hear” him rolling his eyes as he sings “And all of the guys are wishing they hadn’t been so bliiiiiind!” Even the song’s bridge where John sings “Oh, what a little love can do!” just makes me feel so happy every time! :)
I also absolutely adore the song’s music video, which is another one that brings back great memories of when I started watching GAC religiously in early 1997. I find it incredibly cute and as sweet and charming as the song. I especially love how at the end, Rosie’s Cantina becomes the larger Rosie and Jessie’s Cantina thanks to a certain lucky lottery ticket. :) I also like seeing Berry himself play Jessie’s buddy and co-worker who gives Jessie a lot of playful ribbing as he’s crushing on Rosie, lol. That smile he has near the end as he turns around and glances at the two lovebirds lets you know he’s truly happy for them both. The bright and sunny setting around the construction site was also such a perfect match for the song. Even in more recent years, whenever we happened to drive by a site with a lot of construction workers, this song would always come to mind for me. :) Finally, I always thought they did a great job of picking the actors that played Rosie and Jessie. I just really miss heartwarming 90’s country videos like this!
I first heard this song in the car with my dad on yet another Saturday night in early 1997, after we’d had all sorts of fun all day, such as going to my bowling league, going to the movies, hanging out at the mall, and having dinner at the Red Robin. Both of us liked it immediately, and even my dad was humming along to it already. It quickly became yet another one of our favorite songs to hear on the radio during that time, but unfortunately, it was pretty much dropped from our stations at the turn of the century. I got to enjoy it once again after I got Berry’s Greatest Hits album in the Fall of 2001, which I’d enjoy countless times listening on my portable cd player in the back of the car with my parents. By mid 2004, I had grown completely frustrated with current country radio and was digging back and enjoying a lot of my favorites from the mid-late 90’s instead. I would sometimes play some of these for my dad who hadn’t heard them in forever thanks to radio acting like they didn’t exist anymore. When I played “She’s Taken A Shine” for him, he remembered it right away and said “Why aren’t these stations keeping the spirit of the 90’s alive?” I’d often wondered the same thing myself!
I absolutely ADORE “I Will, If You Will” as well! It was actually still getting decent airplay in our area during the Fall of 1997. It always brings back great memories from when I was starting 6th grade during that time. :) I love its gorgeous classic country style and arrangement, as well as Patty Loveless’ harmony vocals. It definitely should’ve been a bigger hit, imho!
I actually quite like Berry’s 1999 effort on Lyric Street, Wildest Dreams, a lot, as well. Believe it or not, an independently owned station near us would play both “Power Windows” and “Love Is For Giving” pretty religiously. In the Spring and Summer of 1999, we had started listening to that station regularly, and I swear, we would hear “Power Windows” on there EVERY day, which makes it surprising that it didn’t even get in the top 40. “Love Is For Giving” was also still getting airplay on that station as recently as the late 2000’s! Unfortunately, somewhere in the 2010’s, they started playing mostly bro-country like everyone else. :p
Berry really stood alone with his uncommon ability to successfully blend country, pop, and soul influences and sounds. This song is a shining example of how catholic late nineties country could be. I think “Faces” is his best album. It is mature and the album showcases his dynamic vocal abilities, as well as the range of styles he was confident and comfortable adopting. Berry fully leans into the lyrics here and convincingly sells the story of Jesse and Rosie. An underappreciated gem of this period.