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Song: Stairway To Heaven
Album: Untitled [released Nov 8, 1971 (US) | Nov 12, 1971 (UK)]
Single: N/A
Credited to: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Related Songs:
Taurus - Spirit (music)
And She's Lonely - Chocolate Watchband (?)
House On The Hill - Audience (?)
Maiden's Cry - Audience (?)
Ice Cream Dreams - Cartoone (?)
Summer Rain - Johnny Rivers (?)
Stairway To Heaven - Neil Sedaka (?)
Skip Softly My Moonbeams - Procol Harum (?)


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-hoo, hoo, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

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, it makes me wonder

There's a feelin' 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, it really makes me wonder

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


(Drum enters)

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

Your head is hummin' 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 whisperin' wind

(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

Personal notes: The original intended meaning for Stairway To Heaven has become irrelevant, if there even ever was such a thing. The only thing that's important today is the personal meaning that fans get out of the song.

Robert Plant has introduced Stairway To Heaven as a "song of hope" and has frequently used the lines "does anybody remember laughter" and "but there's some good news, people" throughout the song during live performances. For these reasons, I think the song was supposed to be something of a ballad of hope to the people who have gone astray in life and have forgotten the things that are truly important.

Individual lines hold specific meaning to me. For example, "there's a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving" sounds to me like something an aging elf in the latter ages of Tolkien's Middle Earth would say and feel. Perhaps a more likely explanation would involve the same kind of hippie paradise from Going To California, but for me personally, that line stirs in me the grande longing of an elf wishing to return to the land of his youth.

The line "our shadows taller than our souls" cuts deep into my psyche, as I constantly worry about my own shadows and fears having dominance over my pure soul.

"If you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last" fills me with hope that things will turn out right, but "there walks a lady we all know who shines white light and wants to show how everything still turns to gold" makes me wary of the ease in which one turns to old habits.

For me, Stairway To Heaven holds a meaning about life itself, and it is immediately apparent in the line, "to be a rock and not to roll," which I believe equates rock n roll with life. Life is rock n roll. That is the true meaning to the song. But I mean it more deeply than just the music of rock n roll. I'm talking about the heart of rock n roll. There are periods in life where it's important to be a rock, to be strong and brave, to hold fast to old traditions and cherish important memories. Yet, there are also times in life when it is most important to roll with the changes, let go of the old, and embrace the future. If you stick too hard to one side or the other, you are setting yourself up for trouble. The line "to be a rock and not to roll" warns us to accept the changes that life brings us, and not to cling too tightly to the ways of the past lest we should lose ourselves in forgotten memories. And aside from this advice, Stairway To Heaven is first and foremost a song of hope, so that anyone who has fallen through bad times in their life can be assured that though there are two paths you can go by, and maybe you've chosen the wrong one, that in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on...

Influences: The combination of this being not only the band's most popular song, but also one of the most immortalized songs in rock n roll history, and the rising suspicion that Led Zeppelin stole their songs from other artists, has resulted in there being a veritable gold mine of claims for songs that may have been ripped off to provide the bare bones of this song, Stairway To Heaven. The unfortunate fact is that a good deal of that gold mine is nothing but fool's gold. I've yet a lot of songs to track down before I can make very many final judgements, but I'll list here some of the more believable claims I've heard as to material that may have served as inspirational in the creation of the song Stairway To Heaven.

Perhaps the most well-known and widely verified root of Stairway To Heaven is the song Taurus by Spirit, released on their self-titled 1968 album. Just listen to Taurus, and you'll hear the similarities to the composition of Stairway To Heaven.

Other previously recorded songs that may resemble Stairway To Heaven are: And She's Lonely by Chocolate Watchband, House On The Hill and Maiden's Cry by Audience, Ice Cream Dreams by Cartoone, Summer Rain by Johnny Rivers.

Rather unconvincingly, it is said that the chords used in Stairway To Heaven is a common progression which shows up in any number of other songs, including Jimi Hendrix's cover and Bob Dylan's original All Along The Watchtower.

Neil Sedaka had a song in 1960 with the title Stairway To Heaven.

From Procol Harum's 1968 album Shine On Brightly, the song Skip Softly My Moonbeams mentions "stairs to heaven".