Decades after they called it quits, Led Zeppelin remain one of the most popular and enduring rock and roll bands of all time. Their biggest song, arguably, is “Stairway To Heaven,” from their 1971 untitled album.
In the upcoming book Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page, the guitarist/songwriter/producer discusses the song’s genesis.
“Although we recorded the song at Island Studios, it was really created at Headley Grange. I’d been fooling around with my acoustic guitar and came up with different sections, which I married together. But what I wanted was something that would have drums come in at the middle and then build to a huge crescendo. Also, I wanted it to speed up, which is something musicians aren’t supposed to do. So I had all the structure of it, and I ran it by Jonesy (bassist John Paul Jones) so he could get the idea of it, and then on the following day we got into it with (drummer John) Bonham. My sharpest memory of working on ‘Stairway’ was Robert (Plant) writing the lyrics while we were hammering away at the arrangement. It was really intense. And by the time we came up with the fanfare at the end and could play it all the way through, Robert had 80 percent of the lyrics done. It just goes to show you what inspired times they were. We were channeling a lot of energy.”
(Headley Grange/ photo credit: Ross Halfin)
“Stairway To Heaven” was one of the many songs that Led Zeppelin performed at their 2007 reunion concert, which is about to be released on CD, DVD and BluRay. The album/film, Celebration Day, hits stores November 19.
Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page, was compiled byGuitar World Editorial Director Brad Tolinski, from several interviews he’d done with Page over the years. The book will be available October 23.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local