At the top: For the asking price of $5,995 you can have this Led Zeppelin IV vinyl album, 1971, signed by the whole group at reverb.com. They’ll consider offers, too. At the bottom: the very first first album, 1969. I saw it on Ebay, unsigned, for $120.
Music. Such a part of my childhood. I can remember my brothers and sisters “blasting their stereos, until Mom made us turn things down a bit. Growing up in the rock era, there are so many famous lyrics that I remember that trigger memories of friends just hanging out and dancing at fun events. Like every other rock fan worldwide, when asked “what’s one of your top songs of all time”, “Stairway to Heaven” makes my list. During a time when rock bands were recording longer, epic songs (think Deep Purple’s Child in Time, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, Genesis’s Supper’s Ready) Jimmy Page and Robert Plant set out to record a song to clearly be one of a kind. Today marks the 50th anniversary Led Zeppelin played the song live for the first time. (If you’ve always wondered, Keith Moon of the Who Gave Led Zeppelin Their Name when a new track came out well, and they tossed around the idea of forming a new band. Moon allegedly said the band would go over like a lead balloon. Page remembered the joke two years later when he created Zeppelin.) Click on the link below, wander back in time, and enjoy. Special thanks to Wikipedia, YouTube and The Guardian for the history and trivia. Rock on!!
- “Stairway to Heaven” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, debuted for the first time live and later released in the fall. It was composed by the band’s guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for their untitled fourth studio album (usually called Led Zeppelin IV). The song is often regarded as the most popular rock song of all time.
- The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume, beginning 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 (considered by many to be one of the greatest ever) accompanying Plant’s vocals that end with the plaintive a cappella line: “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
- “Stairway to Heaven” was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been commercially released as a single there. 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” while Jimmy Page was strumming the chords, and Robert Plant had a pencil and paper.
- The complete studio recording was released on Led Zeppelin IV in November 1971. The band’s record label, Atlantic Records, wanted to issue it as a single, but the band’s manager Peter Grant refused requests to do so in both 1972 and 1973. This led many people to buy the fourth album as if it were the single.
- The inaugural public performance of the song took place at Belfast’s Ulster Hall on 5 March 1971. Bassist John Paul Jones recalls that the crowd was unimpressed: “They were all bored to tears waiting to hear something they knew.”
- The world radio premiere was recorded at the Paris Cinema on April 1, 1971, in front of a live studio audience, and broadcast three days later on the BBC. The song was performed at almost every subsequent Led Zeppelin concert, only being omitted on rare occasions when shows were cut short for curfews or technical issues. The band’s final performance of the song was in Berlin on 7 July 1980, which was also their last full-length concert until the 2007 reunion at London’s O2 Arena; the version was the longest, lasting almost 15 minutes, including a seven-minute guitar solo.
- To accomplish the sound, Jimmy Page used a double-necked guitar to perform the song live, using a Gibson EDS-1275 double neck guitar so he would not have to pause when switching from a six to a 12-string guitar,
- 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”, “Does anybody remember forests?”, “wait a minute!” and “I hope so”. For performing this song live,
- By 1975, the song had a regular place as the finale of every Led Zeppelin concert. However, after their concert tour of the United States in 1977, Plant began to tire of “Stairway to Heaven”: “There’s only so many times you can sing it and mean it … It just became sanctimonious.”
- The song was played again by the surviving members of Led Zeppelin at the Live Aid concert in 1985 and at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988, with Jason Bonham on drums. Plant cites the most unusual performance of the song ever as being that performed at Live Aid: “with two drummers (Phil Collins and Tony Thompson) while Duran Duran cried at the side of the stage – there was something quite surreal about that.”
- “Stairway to Heaven” is often rated among the greatest rock songs of all time. According to music journalist Stephen Davis, although the song was released in 1971, it took until 1973 before the song’s popularity ascended to truly “anthemic” status. As Page recalled, “I knew it was good, but I didn’t know it was going to be almost like an anthem … But I knew it was the gem of the album for sure.”
- Page told Rolling Stone in 1975, “We were careful to never release it as a single,” which forced buyers to buy the entire album. Despite pressure from Atlantic Records, the band would not authorize the editing of the song for single release, making “Stairway to Heaven” one of the most well-known and popular rock songs never to have been released as a single.
- In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine put it at number 31 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. An article from 29 January 2009 Guitar World magazine rated Jimmy Page’s guitar solo at number one in the publication’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos in Rock and Roll History.
- Plant once gave $10,000 to listener-supported radio station KBOO in Portland, Oregon during a pledge drive after the disc jockey solicited donations by promising the station would never play “Stairway to Heaven”. Plant was station-surfing in a rental car he was driving to the Oregon Coast after a solo performance in Portland and was impressed with the non-mainstream music the station presented. Later asked “why?”, Plant replied that it wasn’t that he didn’t like the song, but he’d heard it before.
- The band always envied those getting to hear Stairway for the first time. “It’s like when you get to be older and you see young couples with babies and you see how hard they’re working and how happy they are and how much fun it is and how fresh it is and how deep it goes into your soul,” she says. “That’s what Stairway is like.”
The band and albums have sold over 300 million copies.
DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I. Love. My. Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good. :-))))