What is the meaning of Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin's incredible 1971 musical epic? | rocksoffmag (2023)

Depending on the day, I still interpret the music in a different way and write the lyrics.

Robert plant

Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven is one of the most expansive and meandering songs in rock and roll history. Despite its popularity and longevity, fans still debate the meaning of Stairway to Heaven.

What is the meaning of Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin's incredible 1971 musical epic? | rocksoffmag (1)

Like 'Hotel California' by the Eagles, the lyrics take an allegorical and narrative approach, creating scenes that are otherworldly, speak to our contact with one another and indulge in themes of pulling back the curtain on the mundane to reveal life's ephemeral beauty. . .

As this metaphorical approach to writing was not as common in mainstream music, many people often did not interpret music the way it was meant to be interpreted, leaving many people wondering whatRobert PlantMedieval and epic lyrics refer to the outside of themselves.

Keep reading to learn more about the song.

table of contents

Jimmy Page's Songwriting Skills

One thing worth noting about this song, and other songs in general, is where they started. The eternal question songwriters ask is whether to start with music or lyrics first.

While this isn't necessarily related to the lyrics and their meaning, it can help you understand the song's origins.

Forled zepelin, this song started with Jimmy Page, the lead guitarist.

He talks about how he originally wanted a song that was constantly changing and evolving, starting with a medieval pastoral-style guitar section that constantly built and morphed into an almost orchestral crescendo of passion, emotion and music.

The way Jimmy carried the song, and the way the drums almost climaxed and then continued... It's a really beautiful piece.

(Video) The Real Reason Why Robert Plant Hates Stairway To Heaven

Robert plant

Page said that once he figured out the main parts of the song in his head and on the guitar, Plant started writing lyrics as he played and suggested that 90% of the lyrics he wrote in that session were the ones used in the song. The album.

No doubt this compositional approach will have affected Plant's lyrics as he writes as he listens. The lyrics also reflect this ever-changing, kaleidoscopic music.

Robert Plant's use of allegory

What is the meaning of Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin's incredible 1971 musical epic? | rocksoffmag (2)

An allegory is a literary device used more often than most people realize. It is used by a writer to create a metaphorical and inclusive narrative, it is a story that provokes reflection on issues other than what is literally mentioned in the story.

For example, The Jungle Book is not a reflection on animals and the wild, it is a reflection on identity and how it is formed, but Rudyard Kipling does not explicitly mention it, instead using another story to drive this reflection.

Rather than literally explaining something to an audience, an allegory helps them understand a subject through emotion. Though this might make it difficult to determine the meaning of Stairway to Heaven.

This is something worth bearing in mind in Plant's lyrics.

Although the story literally tells the story of a woman buying her way to heaven, the truth of the song will be behind how you interpret these images, which is decided by your own perception of the images. As Plant says in the song:

Sometimes words have two meanings.

Meaning of duality, the other and the stairway to heaven

The duality that Plant paints along these lines is what colors the song's lyrics with an openness that frees interpretation and, therefore, meaning.

Duality is a theme throughout the song, the woman seems to be caught between choices, evidenced in the line "Yes, there are two paths you can take, but in the long run there's still time to change the path you're taking." ".

The woman begins the song sure of the way things are, but little by little, as the curtain rises and she experiences "the other", she realizes that what she once thought to be true may not be so concrete.

Did you know that your ladder is in the whisper of the wind?

This experience of the "other" is something that permeates Page's and Plant's home lives and is an ongoing theme when it comes to the meaning behind Stairway to Heaven.

(Video) Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven (Official Audio)

They both come from a traditional domestic background in England where they were expected to follow a certain narrative in their lives, getting 'normal' jobs, going to church on Sundays and all the domestic obligations we all face in our own lives. .

Both songwriters chose the ulterior path, becoming rock stars making music for a living, often embracing alternative spirituality through their music while surrounded by psychedelics and 1970s counterculture.

Plant seeks to show listeners that there are other ways to bring happiness, legitimacy and meaning to our lives, that once we move from innocence to experience, we can change for the better.

Accepting the fact that duality exists and that nothing is certain or set in stone can free our minds to make a decision that is true to ourselves.

Accepting that everything is unique, and that there is only one way, is being a statistician and accepting that nothing will change; "When all is one and one is all, that's being a rock and not rolling away."

What is the meaning of Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin's incredible 1971 musical epic? | rocksoffmag (3)

Final Thoughts on the Meaning of the Stairway to Heaven

Both Plant's lyrics and Page's composition embrace the theme of aporia. Aporia is a Greek term referring to the unsolvable and ever-changing nature of meaning, that nothing is specifically true but is constantly fluctuating and changing.

Meaning is not flat like a coin, with two sides, but rather like a sphere without an axis: ever-changing, oscillating and infinitely dimensional. As well as Page's composition.

Plant's lyrics force us to embrace things we don't know, to pull back the curtain on our home lives, and to understand that the narratives we follow in our lives won't necessarily lead us to the truth, so we must embrace alternative narratives as well.

It is interesting to note that Robert Plant does not rate the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven as highly as his fans, in a recent interview with Dan Rather he stated:

…came out of the mind of a 23-year-old and landed at the age of 23-year-olds…

I think as time goes on, you might find another period of your life with more substance...

Robert plant

Which brings us back to the beginning, who infers the meaning? The artist or the audience? When it comes down to the ultimate meaning of Stairway to Heaven, we'll let you decide.

To get an idea of ​​the man who wrote the lyrics, check out this clip of the captions atred carpet news television.

(Video) Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven (Live at Earls Court 1975) [Official Video]

Common questions

Who wrote Stairway to Heaven?

Stairway to Heaven was written by Jimmy Page (music) and Robert Plant (lyrics) of the band Led Zeppelin.

When was Stairway to Heaven released?

The track was released in 1971.

What album was Stairway to Heaven on?

Stairway to Heaven was released on Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth studio album.

Did Led Zeppelin record another song for Stairway To Heaven?

The opening guitar on Stairway to Heaven is reminiscent of the song "Taurus" by the rock band Spirit. This led to the members of Spirit filing a copyright infringement notice against Led Zeppelin in 1997.

The case went through several hearings in various courts until it reached the US Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin on March 9, 2020.

What is the forbidden riff?

The forbidden riff is an urban legend in the music scene. Refers to segments of music that are banned from playing in guitar shops due to their popularity.

Stairway to Heaven is not banned from guitar stores. The joke, while probably as old as guitar shops themselves, gained popularity after it was featured in the hit movie Wayne's World.

(Video) This CRYPTIC 70s Classic is THE STANDARD THAT EVERY Song is MEASURED Against | Professor Of Rock

How long is the stairway to heaven?

Stairway to Heaven is almost 8 minutes long.

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Amateur guitarist, avid music lover, movie buff and owner of Rocks Off magazine. An old lady enjoying a good dose of nostalgia!

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What is the hidden message in Stairway to Heaven? ›

The alleged message, which occurs during the middle section of the song ("If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now...") when played backward, was purported to contain the Satanic references: "Here's to my sweet Satan / The one whose little path would make me sad whose power is Satan, / He'll give you, ...

What is the satanic message in Stairway to Heaven backwards? ›

Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”

When played backwards, the words sound like this: “Oh here's to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He will give those with him 666.

What is the meaning behind Led Zeppelin? ›

In October 1968 they took the name Led Zeppelin, which stemmed from a humorous conversation among several musicians about their chances of going down like a lead balloon.

What is the controversy over Stairway to Heaven? ›

The iconic rock band were accused of stealing the song's opening riff from a song called Taurus by US psych-rockers Spirit, recorded three years before the release of the album Led Zeppelin IV, which contained the rock behemoth.

What does bustle in your hedgerow mean? ›

2~A hedgerow can also refer to one's pubic hair, therefore a bustle in your hedgerow can mean to become sexually aroused. John had a bustle in his hedgerow for Jane as soon as he saw her.

What are backwards messages on records? ›

Backmasking is a recording technique in which a message is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward. It is a deliberate process, whereas a message found through phonetic reversal may be unintentional.

What does Another One Bites the Dust say when played backwards? ›

In their hit Another One Bites The Dust, their hidden message - in reverse - is 'Some of us smoke marijuana'.”

Why is it called the Forbidden riff? ›

The Forbidden Riff refers to the list of songs that are strictly prohibited to play in guitar stores. It is an inside joke that began in 1973 in the street of Denmark, London. This list is comprised of songs often referred to as – overplayed riffs. A lot of beginner guitarists mostly play overplayed riffs to show off.

What happens when you play a song backwards? ›

We've all the joke, right? What happens when you play a country song backwards? Answer- you get your wife back, your trailer back, your dog back, your job back!

Who is Stairway to Heaven written about? ›

What is this? Penned by Robert Plant, the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” that begins as a critique on an overly materialistic society, suggesting that spending your entire life collecting material possessions is a fruitless endeavor, as it won't get you to heaven, and you can't use any of it when you get there, anyway.

Why was zeppelin so important? ›

They had more space than in many modern aeroplanes and could stroll about admiring the view. The German Army and Navy both saw the potential that airships had for reconnaissance. They were used almost from the opening of the war for getting information by flying over enemy lines far above gunnery range.

What did Led Zeppelin do to their groupies? ›

Led Zeppelin would continue this disturbing sexual behavior at the Continental Hyatt House on LA's Sunset Strip in the '70s. It was there that a 29-year-old Jimmy Page seduced a young groupie named Lori Mattix, when she was just 14, in 1973.

Is Stairway to Heaven about death? ›

'Stairway To Heaven' featured on the rock band's studio LP 'Led Zeppelin IV'. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's ballad is considered to be one of the greatest songs of all-time and the title and lyrics describe a person's journey to the afterlife.

Why do guitar stores hate it when you play Stairway to Heaven? ›

So, why is Stairway to Heaven Banned in Guitar Stores? In short, this is an ongoing joke that was originally seen in the movie Wayne's World in 1992. It is meant to poke fun at Stairway to Heaven because it is one of the most overplayed songs in guitar stores when people are testing out new guitars.

What was the result of the Stairway to Heaven lawsuit? ›

Led Zeppelin have won the appeal in the copyright case over their signature song, “Stairway to Heaven.” On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2016 decision that “Stairway” did not infringe on Spirit's 1968 instrumental track, “Taurus,” and in doing so upended a long-standing copyright precedent.

What are the white flowers in the hedgerow? ›

Climbing and twisting through hedgerows, woodlands, ditches and riverbanks, the white flowers of Hedge bindweed are a familiar sight for many of us.

What is hedgerow fighting? ›

Battle of Normandy

The hedge warfare, also known as the “bocage”, began as early as the day after D-Day and ended at the end of August 1944, when the Allied troops ended up liberating most part of the present-day Basse-Normandie. Virtually two months of deadly and fierce fighting that put men to the test.

What is the Queen of the hedgerow? ›

Right now the elderflower reigns supreme as Queen of the hedgerow as she decorates the land in clouds of white blooms. Elder truly lives up to its name 'the people's medicine chest' as each part has some use or other for humans or animals alike.

What songs has a hidden message? ›

20 Songs You Didn't Know Have Secret Messages
  • "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles.
  • "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.
  • "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley.
  • "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga.
  • "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5.
  • "Chandelier" by Sia.
  • "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins.
  • "Slide" by Goo Goo Dolls.
Jul 9, 2020

What song did the Beatles play backwards? ›

Influenced by the techniques of musique concrète, they featured a backmasked line in Rain, a single released in 1966. Featuring in the fade-out, the reversed vocal is the first line of the song. “On the end of Rain you hear me singing it backwards,” John Lennon told Rolling Stone magazine in 1968.

What Beatles songs have hidden messages? ›

10 Secrets Hidden In Beatles Songs
  • In "Please Please Me" at 1:32, you can hear John laughing while singing "come on." ...
  • At the very end of "I'm So Tired," it may sound like a recording of someone talking played backward, but it's really just John speaking gibberish.
May 19, 2017

What is the hidden meaning of Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

'Bohemian Rhapsody' WAS Freddie's confessional. It was about how different his life could have been, and how much happier he might have been, had he just been able to be himself, the whole of his life. The world heard this song as a masterpiece of imagination, a great command of musical styles.

What does one bites the dust mean? ›

“Bite the dust” is usually used to describe a fall to the ground or someone's death and is more commonly associated with the death of a soldier in battle, but it also has the more modern association with general failure. There was more uncertainty as to the phrase's origin: “From the song?” Caplan said.

What is the literal meaning of bite the dust? ›

Literally, to fall face down in the dirt; to suffer a defeat: “Once again, the champion wins, and another contender bites the dust.”

What is the best guitar solo ever? ›

Top 10 Guitar Solos of All Time
  • Don't Stop Me Now - Performed by Brian May. ...
  • Beat It - Performed by Eddie Van Halen. ...
  • Purple Rain - Performed by Prince Rogers Nelson. ...
  • Sweet Child O' Mine - Performed by Slash. ...
  • Crazy On You - Performed by Nancy Wilson. ...
  • Eruption - Performed by Eddie Van Halen.
Aug 4, 2022

What is the forbidden song to play on guitar? ›

In fact, the opening notes of Stairway to Heaven are known in some other circles as the “forbidden riff” or the “forbidden song.”

What is the Forbidden riffs? ›

Thus the term forbidden riffs came to be. It refers to songs that employees in a guitar store are fed up of hearing.

Why do brains repeat songs? ›

Earworms can occur due to the brain's attempt to fill a gap in the auditory cortex, which is located in the temporal lobe. When you hear a song over and over, the brain transmits that sound information to the “phonological loop,” a short-term memory system in the auditory cortex.

Why is reversed audio so creepy? ›

Our brain uses the wave shape and variations in volume and other aspects of a sound to extract musical information. When it's listened in reverse the lack of familiarity with the sound structure makes it sound "odd", "scary", "demonic".

What happens if you keep listening to the same song? ›

When you listen to a song over and over again, it can help you do some reflective listening. Because music is so tied to our emotions, Dr. Honig says, the song you're listening to might be getting you through a rough time, or even helping you get more in touch with what you're feeling.

What is the number 1 rock song of all time? ›

The Greatest EVER Rock Song
  • LED ZEPPELIN - STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in concert. ...
Nov 11, 2019

Is the song Stairway to Heaven about drugs? ›

THE first three lines of Led Zeppelin's 1971 rock classic "Stairway to Heaven" speak of a lady who's sure "all that glitters is gold" and who is "buying a stairway to heaven." This, according to social scientists, is a clear reference to drug use.

Where did the name Stairway to Heaven come from? ›

It's the name of the remote cottage in Wales where the band, sitting fireside, wrote the song. At least, it's where guitarist Jimmy Page has always said he wrote the song — a perfect image for a band obsessed with Celtic iconography.

How did Zeppelins change the world? ›

The use of Zeppelins, and subsequently Gotha IV bombers, during the First World War hailed a new era of warfare. For the first time air attacks were used to target the civilian population at home, bringing the war into towns and cities far away from the front lines.

What are 3 interesting facts about the Zeppelin? ›

The first commercial Zeppelin flight was in 1910. Gasbags of many rigid airships were made of sheets of so-called “goldbeater's skin” which is made from the intestines of cows. A typical World War I Zeppelin needed about 200,000 sheets.

Do Zeppelins still exist? ›

Zeppelins still fly today; in fact the new Goodyear airship is a not a blimp but a zeppelin, built by a descendant of the same company that built Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg. What is a Semi-Rigid Airship?

What happened to Jimmy Page? ›

Since the dissolution of Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page has engaged in a variety of musical projects, including composing music for the films Death Wish II and Scream for Help. He recorded a new album with Robert Plant in 1984 as The Honeydrippers, and toured and recorded two albums with vocalist Paul Rodgers as The Firm.

Who was the brains behind Led Zeppelin? ›

Guitarist Jimmy Page was the musical genius behind Led Zeppelin, one of the most legendary bands in rock music history.

What is the ending of Stairway to Heaven? ›

Yoo-ri is arrested, and her mother goes insane and is admitted to a mental hospital. Song-joo marries Jung-suh, who is now blind, with the blessing of his mother and her father. Jung-suh tells Tae-hwa that her one wish is to see Song-joo's face one last time.

Is Jesus the Stairway to Heaven? ›

Jesus very clearly said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” As much as possible I try to avoid stairs. But if we ever expect to ascend above the life of this earthly realm, we must take the stairs. Jesus is God's stairway to heaven.

What are the forbidden riffs on guitar at store? ›

  • Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin.
  • Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple.
  • Iron Man – Black Sabbath.
  • Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes.
  • Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana.
  • Wonderwall – Oasis.
  • Sweet Child O' Mine – Guns N' Roses.

Why do you get kicked out for playing Stairway to Heaven? ›

“Stairway To Heaven” may be banned in guitar stores, but it's not against the law to play it. That said, it is seen as a forbidden riff by many, and not often well received. Perhaps, out of courtesy and respect for the staff and other customers, you'll refrain from excessive self-indulgence.

What was the Stairway to Heaven controversy? ›

The iconic rock band were accused of stealing the song's opening riff from a song called Taurus by US psych-rockers Spirit, recorded three years before the release of the album Led Zeppelin IV, which contained the rock behemoth.

What was the result of the lawsuit between Led Zeppelin and Spirit over Stairway to Heaven? ›

The final possible legal challenge to Led Zeppelin's ownership of Stairway To Heaven has been defeated. The band were sued for copyright in 2014 over claims they had stolen the song's opening riff from Taurus, by a US band called Spirit. Led Zeppelin won the case in 2016, but it was revived on appeal in 2018.

Who won the Stairway to Heaven lawsuit? ›

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear the case, leaving in place an appeals court ruling that the band did not copy part of a 1968 song by Spirit.

Did Led Zeppelin sue the Beastie Boys? ›

When Axl Rose bumped into Horovitz at a Los Angeles house party in 1988, he told the Beastie to stop ripping off Led Zeppelin. The surviving members of the group were notified about the Beastie Boys' use of their music, although they didn't sue the group.

What does Robert Plant's symbol mean? ›

Robert Plant's Symbol

The Robert Plant symbol is a feather encased within a circle, representing the feather of Ma'at, the ancient Egyptian goddess of truth, justice, harmony, and balance. The feather can also be perceived as a pen, which would check out for lyricist Robert Plant.

Is Stairway to Heaven about Lord of the Rings? ›

The site states that “there is no apparent link” to any of Tolkien's work in “Stairway to Heaven.” A 2003 essay from TheOneRing.com (not to be confused with TheOneRing.net) makes it clear that “the band has denied any connection between Stairway to Heaven and LOTR.” It's also a point made in the book Led Zeppelin FAQ, ...

Why do people stop you from playing Stairway to Heaven? ›

“Stairway to Heaven” isn't actually banned in most guitar stores. The trope originates from the movie, Wayne's World, and is a tongue-in-cheek remark at how the song is overplayed by people trying out guitars in music stores.

Why is Stairway to Heaven banned in guitar stores? ›

So, why is Stairway to Heaven Banned in Guitar Stores? In short, this is an ongoing joke that was originally seen in the movie Wayne's World in 1992. It is meant to poke fun at Stairway to Heaven because it is one of the most overplayed songs in guitar stores when people are testing out new guitars.

What is the sozo symbol? ›

The SOZO Logo is a representation of two graphic figures with arms interlocking. Combined they form the letter 'S', the first letter of the word 'Sozo', but on a deeper level, the image symbolizes SOZO's individual mentoring, one-to-one approach, and their deeply relational and loving personality.

Did Robert Plant say I am a golden god? ›

Robert Plant recalls how he referred to himself as 'a golden god' during a flamboyant party for Led Zeppelin's drummer, John Bonham. He described the phrase as "even more nonsense" than what going on around him at the party.

Can a song make you high? ›

According to researchers as McGill University, the act of listening to your favorite track can make you high in and of itself. Like taking drugs, hearing music can modulate serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain.

Can you get high from a song? ›

A new study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University found that listening to highly pleasurable music releases the same reward neurotransmitter — dopamine — in the brain that is associated with food, drugs and sex.

Can a song be a drug? ›

Music and drugs both create pleasure by acting on the brain's opioid system. Singing can release endorphins, which many drugs do as well. Many drugs, like prescriptions, can dull pain. Music has also been shown to provide a sense of relief in stressful or painful situations like surgeries.

What type of song is Stairway to Heaven? ›

It seems only fitting that the most epic and dramatic of rock songs has resulted in one of the music industry's most epic copyright fights. “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin's 1971 megahit, defined rock radio for decades and helped make its credited writers, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, extremely rich.

Is Lord of the Rings about Christianity? ›

J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic from boyhood, and he described The Lord of the Rings in particular as a "fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision". While he insisted it was not an allegory, it contains numerous themes from Christian theology.


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