Essay on Stairway To Heaven

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Christians view life in a manner that they see only two paths for a person to follow: a path to heaven and a path to hell. Led Zeppelin shared this view on life and contextualized their belief into their song “Stairway to Heaven.” Led Zeppelin wrote this song as a way to enlighten those who may have lost their and followed the wrong path in life and also giving a history of Catholic Church during medieval times. The song also is critically acclaimed as one of the best rock songs of all time and even considered the very best song that guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant ever composed together (Karbo). The band consisted of the aforementioned Page and Plant and keyboardist and bassist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. The band was formed as the New Yardbirds out of London, England in 1968 (Gilmore). Led Zeppelin subsequently changed their name in November, 1968, shortly after their formation and the original lead guitarist Jeff Beck decided to leave. The band then signed with Atlantic Records due to a larger amount of artistic freedom given to the band. The band released three studio albums before releasing their fourth album “Black Dog,” previously titled Led Zeppelin IV, which contained their masterpiece “Stairway to Heaven.” Members of the band and critics of music both agree that “Stairway to Heaven” help create the popularity of the band in the 1970’s (Gilmore). The song also is attributed as one of the greatest songs of all time by Billboard who rate the songs (Karbo) based on chart positions during their initial release and also by their continued fame years, and in certain cases such as this, decades preceding this initial release.

Led Zeppelin has been around for a little over four decades and this song is almost as old as the band itself. There have been many different rhetorical interpretations of this song from fans to music critics to the band itself. Fans also can be seen on sites claiming there really was not any intended meaning behind the song and it was just a group of guys that got high in the 1970’s a recorded a masterpiece that went on to be a song renowned for generations following the initial release of the bands fourth studio album. Most analyses of “Stairway to Heaven” focus mainly on how the instruments create a unique sound in “Stairway to Heaven.” Most critics praise the band on their unprecedented blend of sounds that included of flutes, guitars, and the keyboard together to create a medieval Celtic sound (Drummond). Other praises of the sound of include the slow progression from a slower, more mellow sound in the beginning to a hard rock sound hard at the end of the end when Page goes into his guitar rifts in between the final two verses of the song (Tywoniak). In fact, Plant claimed there really was no meaning to song and that 95% of the lyrics were written on impulse (Crowe). Jimmy Page, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, stated, “Stairway really crystalized the essence of the band. I don't know whether I have the ability to come up with more. I have to do a lot of hard work before I can get anywhere near those stages of consistent, total brilliance.” (Crowe) Led Zeppelin insists that this was just the band being creative with their musical talents and their creativity turned into a musical masterpiece. Despite Plant’s claim of no deeper meaning, there have been claims by music critics, such as John Brackett, that the song is about the indulgence of marijuana, the psychedelic drug of choice during this time. The argument for drug use is the sounds and lyrical excerpts which create a sort of psychedelic flow (Brackett). Brackett argues the entire song is the journey of the woman alluded to in the very beginning of the song while she is on her journey after smoking marijuana she purchased. The third verse is argued to be the beginning of her journey as she longs for her mind to be set free as she smokes the marijuana and begins her psychedelic journey (Brackett)....
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