Stairway To Heaven (1971)

Led Zeppelin

Written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
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Led Zep seatedHow popular is “Stairway To Heaven?” It takes the breath away.

Put in financial terms, it has earned about $600 million dollars since its release 40+ years ago. Shrewdly, Led Zeppelin did not allow it to be issued as a single. Thus, back when the old was new, you had to buy an entire album to get hold of the song.

“Stairway” is played at weddings, funerals, seances, birthday parties, graduations, proms (of course), silver wedding anniversary celebrations and now golden anniversary parties.

(See second video in the library for Jimmy Page’s comments on how the landmark song was crafted.)

While it is overplayed, as insistent as a trip hammer steel mill, a beautiful love song and a pop spiritual exercise, it remains one of the Great Pyramids of Rock.

It’s important that even a Pyramid exit left for a bit. And, it’s important to realize there are a host of songs in the same position. We’ve conveniently parked a bunch of great but heavily-employed works on Song Mango’s playlist, Even The Big Dogs Need A Break. Explore great but overplayed songs like “Stairway” on the list.

  • Page and Plant are at odds on “Stairway.” Page thinks it’s paradise. Plant calls it “a wedding song.”
  • What has come to be known as Led Zeppelin IV, the album on which “Stairway To Heaven” appears, has sold more than 25 million copies. It ranks third on the all-time sales list behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller and The Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 1. 

Also by Led Zeppelin on

  • Babe, I'm Gonna Leave YouThe pounding choruses echo the interior pounding, the unresolved secret, this... emanation of the heart.
  • When The Levee BreaksWith John Bonham’s big, brazen drumwork leading the charge, “Levee” is a howling, blues-swept vision of the apocalypse.
  • Whole Lotta LoveBlended into a sharp-tasting draft of Rock that's been fermented into a tasty, spacey brew with a big foamy head.