Writers: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
Producer: Jimmy Page
Recorded: 1971, Island Studios, London
Released: November 8, 1971
|Players:||Robert Plant — vocals
Jimmy Page — guitar
John Paul Jones — bass, keyboards
John Bonham — drums
|Album:||Untitled Fourth Album (Atlantic)|
The eight-minute “Stairway To Heaven” is Led Zeppelin's best-known track, and one of the most popular classic rock songs of all time. Because of audience fatigue, it gets played much less nowadays.
Guitarist Jimmy Page said, “I thought 'Stairway' crystallized the essence of the band. It had everything there and showed the band at its best… It was a milestone for us.”
Zeppelin began working on the song in late 1970, in a cottage in Bron-Yr-Aur, Wales. Recording began in December 1970.
Page told reporters that singer Robert Plant “must have written three quarters of the lyrics on the spot. He didn't have to go away and think about them. Amazing, really.”
What's it about? Zeppelin biographer Stephen Davis says “Stairway” “tells, in poetic terms, of a mythographic lady's quest for spiritual perfection.” The lyrics reflect Plant's reading at the time —Spenser, Robert Graves, and particularly Lewis Spence's Magic Arts In Celtic Britain.
The lyrics to “Stairway” were the only song lyrics printed on the fourth album's sleeve. Zeppelin, angered by negative critical reaction to their third album, wouldn't even let Atlantic Records put the group's name on the fourth album's spine.
Although popular and durable, it was never a single release and never hit the Billboard chart.
Religious crusaders have periodically accused the band of putting subliminal satanic messages into the song, which the group has always denied.