Friday, November 14, 2014

Stairway to Heaven

The iconic rock song Stairway to Heaven has been re-released once again. BBC News interviewed Page recently to discuss how the song was created, and it's a must-watch for anyone who likes Led Zeppelin.

From the interview, Jimmy Page discusses the finale of Stairway to Heaven and the country setting in which it was created:

"And by that point it's really, it's, it's really motoring, it's not racing, but it's just the passion of it, it's just unfolded on every aspect of the lyrical aspect of it, about what it inspired. It was really an inspired period of time. I think it sort of shows the lasting quality of this music, over all these years, is the fact that everyone's playing so honestly and with such conviction, that it sort of shows."

Stairway to Heaven is the most requested song in the history of radio, according to experts. It's so well known that it has become a target of parody and ridicule. Sure. Yet, the human mind is capable of being wiped clean, so listen to Stairway to Heaven again, with a clean slate, and hear one of the greatest pieces of music composed for guitar. As all Led Zeppelin songs, it was composed for guitar by Jimmy Page, with lyrics added afterward. This doesn't disparage Plant, it elevates him. How do you overlay perfect lyrics onto something like this?

Certain flapjacks overstuffed by broiled lobster tail and imported beer and all-important portabello mushrooms -- folks prone to delusions of grandeur -- will say classical guitar and flamenco represent the pinnacle of the instrument. Pah. I believe anyone who listens to Stairway to Heaven with open eyes (and an open heart?) will agree that this song belongs in the pantheon.

When you're done eating elitist food that tastes good because wealthy aficionados say it tastes good, try this new interview with Page at

From the interview:
    So these releases will be coming out through next year, and during that time I’ll be working, working, working. The prospect of actually coming back and showcasing the music that I’ve done all the way through my life, but also the new music that I’ve done, which will have some serious surprises in it—that’s fascinating. Because I love playing live, and that’s the next step, really.
That's interesting, because a guy who lives for playing guitar hasn't given the world, or sold it, a single piece of original music since one acoustic number that appeared as an Extra Feature on the It Might Get Loud DVD nearly 10 years ago. Where is this new music from Jimmy Page? If ever there was a man resting on his laurels, it's JP. He's stayed in the public eye, but in terms of output, Jimmy Page is another JD Salinger.

For aficionados, here are three versions of SWTH. The first one is from 1983. It's good, but not his best. People who knew JP said he was addicted to heroin in the late 1970s through the mid 1980s. He has never admitted this, but his playing is sloppy...

This is the 2007 Celebration Day reunion concert. The uploader says 2012, but it's really 2007. This version is better than the 1983 version above. It's fantastic, but Plant can't hit the high notes, and Page's fingers aren't as fast. Skip to 1:18:28 for SWTH:

And here's the best live version, from 1973. Everyone is in their prime. I could be wrong about the year. Maybe be slightly later than '73. It's the best live version existing on video.

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