Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven

Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven

‘Stairway to Heaven’ is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971 by Atlantic Records. It was composed by the band's guitarist Jimmy Page with lyrics written by lead singer Robert Plant for the band's untitled fourth studio album (commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV). The song is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume. The song begins in a slow tempo with acoustic instruments (guitar and recorders) before introducing electric instruments. The final section is an uptempo hard rock arrangement, highlighted by Page's guitar solo and Plant's vocals, which ends with the plaintive a cappella line: "And she's buying a stairway to heaven".

Often referred to as the most famous rock song of all time, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ wasn't a chart hit because it was never released as a single to the general public. Radio stations received promotional singles which quickly became collector's items. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was voted number three in 2000 by VH1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Rock Songs, in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine ranked ‘Stairway to Heaven’ number 31 on its "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list. It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States at the time, despite never having been commercially released as a single in the US. In November 2007, through download sales promoting Led Zeppelin's Mothership release, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ reached number 37 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song originated in 1970 when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were spending time at Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales, following Led Zeppelin's fifth American concert tour. According to Page, he wrote the music "over a long period, the first part coming at Bron-Yr-Aur one night". Page always kept a cassette recorder around, and the idea for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ came together from bits of taped music. The first attempts at lyrics, written by Robert Plant next to an evening log fire at Headley Grange, were partly spontaneously improvised and Page claimed, "a huge percentage of the lyrics were written there and then". Jimmy Page was strumming the chords, and Robert Plant had a pencil and paper.

When playing the song live, the band would often extend it to over 10 minutes, with Page playing an extended guitar solo and Plant adding a number of lyrical ad-libs, such as "Does anybody remember laughter?", "And I think you can see that", "wait a minute!" and "I hope so". This was the last song the remaining members of Led Zeppelin performed when they reunited for Live Aid in 1985. Bob Geldof organized the event, and did his best to get many famous bands to play even if they had broken up. Unlike The Who, Geldof had an easy time convincing Plant, Page, and Jones to play the show. They played the Philadelphia stage with Tony Thompson and Phil Collins sitting in on drums.

Label – Atlantic
Songwriters – Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Producer – Jimmy Page


[Verse 1]
There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to Heaven
When she gets there she knows if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, and she's buying a stairway to Heaven
[Verse 2]
There's a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven
Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, makes me wonder
[Verse 3]
There's a feeling I get when I look to the West
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking
Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, really makes me wonder
[Verse 4]
And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter
[Verse 4]
If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May queen
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on
And it makes me wonder
Oh, woah
[Verse 5]
Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow?
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind? Oh
[Guitar Solo]
And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one, and one is all, yeah
To be a rock and not to roll
And she's buying a stairway to Heaven
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