Thursday, September 29, 2011

THE ROCK SONG OF THE DAY IS: LED ZEPPELIN - STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

Stairway To Heaven
"Stairway to Heaven" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971.

It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for the band's untitled fourth studio album (usually referred to as Led Zeppelin IV). The song, running eight minutes and two seconds, is composed of several sections, which increase in tempo and volume as the song progresses. The song begins as a slow acoustic-based folk song accompanied by recorders before electric instrumentation is introduced. The final section is a high-tempo hard rock section highlighted by an intricate guitar solo by Page.

The song, often considered one of the greatest rock songs of all-time, was voted #3 in 2000 by VH1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Rock Songs, and was placed at number 31 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been officially released as a single there. In November 2007, through download sales promoting Led Zeppelin's Mothership release, "Stairway to Heaven" hit #37 on the UK Singles Chart.


The recording of "Stairway to Heaven" started in December 1970 at Island Records' new Basing Street Studios in London. The song was completed by the addition of lyrics by Plant during the sessions for Led Zeppelin IV at Headley Grange, Hampshire, in 1971. Page then returned to Island Studios to record his guitar solo.

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" came together from bits of taped music.

Over the years, a number of people have put forth the opinion that the song's introduction, and opening guitar arpeggios, bear a close resemblance to the 1968 instrumental "Taurus" by the group Spirit. Zeppelin opened for Spirit in an early American tour, leaving little doubt that Led Zeppelin had heard the Spirit song before "Stairway to Heaven" was written. In the liner notes to the 1996 reissue of Spirit's debut album, songwriter Randy California writes: "People always ask me why "Stairway to Heaven" sounds exactly like "Taurus", which was released two years earlier. I know Led Zeppelin also played "Fresh Garbage" in their live set. They opened up for us on their first American tour".

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