O Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (Shine On)

This is a joyous Christmas hymn about the star if Bethlehem. 

It was written and composed by American Baptist deacon, dairy farmer and shape-note singing teacher, R. Fisher Boyce (1887-1968) in 1938.   Boyce regarded the the words and tune as gifts from God, rather than something which he created, and never received royalties from it, although he did sell single copies of the sheet music in later life.   (Source)

It was first published in 1940 by the James D. Vaughan Publishing Company, at that time a major publisher of shape note hymnals, in their  song-book "Beautiful Praise".   It was later republished in Vaughan's "Favourite Radio Songs", with harmonies added by Adger McDavid. Pace (1883-1959). The copyright was renewed by Vaughan in 1967 and is still held by them today (ref).

The tune has a 12/8 time signature, and was originally published in the key of G with the first notes being DGAB ddd BG.

The first professional recording was by the John Daniel Quartet on their private Daniel label.  Other artists who have recorded it include Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, the Judds, The Bishops, Ben Speer and family, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Sean Keane - and many others.


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Male classical vocal ensemble, unaccompanied:

Appalachian quarter in concert:

Male lead + backing singers, with country-style backing track:

Solo singer, gospel style:

Duet - guitar accompaniment:

Choir with synthesised backing band:


Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shining far through shadows dimmed
Giving the life for those who long have gone on
Guiding the wise men on their way
Unto the place where Jesus lay
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on.

Oh beautiful star the hope of light
Guiding the pilgrims through the night
Over the mountains 'till the break of dawn
Into the land of perfect day
It will give out a lovely ray
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on,

Oh beautiful star (beautiful, beautiful star) of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem
Shine upon us until the glory dawn
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on.

Oh beautiful star the hope, the grace
For the redeem of good and blessed
Yonder in glory when the crowd is one
Jesus is now the star divine
Brighter and brighter he will shine
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on.

Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on.

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