The process of Barlow and Williams working together again began in February 2010 in Los Angeles. According to Barlow, the song was written in under an hour in an empty studio and helped both himself and Williams to draw a line under their 10 year feud after the latter left Take That. On the day the song was released to the radio and the media "Shame" received an unprecedented 694 plays on the radio and 153 plays on TV.
The single received positive reception across the media with BBCNewsround stating how it is "a meaningful song but has a cheeky sense of humour and the words will leave you feeling happy". Tim Jonze from The Guardian positively commented that the song is "a gentle country ballad that tells the story of the pair patching up the relationship that was damaged after Williams left Take That in 1995." Mayer Nissim of Digital Spy gave the song three out of five stars, writing: "It's certainly no 'Patience', 'Back for Good' or 'Pray' - it sounds awfully sweet and, more importantly, absolutely genuine." Another critic stated how the song is "the perfect lead single for Robbie Williams’ second compilation album" and "with its playful lyrics, and sumptuous melody, (the song) is understated and never overblown, the perfect song for people who grew up listening to Robbie, Gary, and Take That, and are now adults themselves. One of the pop singles of 2010."
Barlow and Williams performing together for the first time in 15 years.
The video was filmed at the Cowboy Palace Saloon in Chatsworth, California, in June 2010 and has a country western theme. The video is a lighthearted parody of the movie Brokeback Mountain, depicting Williams and Barlow as closeted gay cowboys; both appear in the music video. The video focuses on the relationship between Barlow and Williams, as well as Robbie's feelings after he left Take That in 1995 and how he felt after they reformed without him and achieved unprecedented success. The song and video premiered on 26 August 2010. The video received strong airplay on VH1 Europe.
The song was premiered on the Chris Moyles' Radio 1 show on 26 August where both Williams and Barlow appeared to discuss the single. Barlow and Williams performed "Shame" live for the first time at the Help for Heroes concert at Twickenham on 12 September 2010. Both released a joint statement saying: 'It's great that people love Shame so much and we can't wait to perform it live for the first time at the Help For Heroes show...We hope everyone supports Help for Heroes as much as possible - it's a great bill and we are thrilled to be a part of it.' The duo performed the single on Strictly Come Dancing on 2 October 2010, Daybreak, BBC Radio 1, and on Paul O'Grady Live on 8 October.