"Stairway to Heaven" debuted on Led Zeppelin's fourth studio album -- referred to as "Led Zeppelin IV" or "Zoso" -- and remains one of the most recognized Zeppelin songs of all time. The song, written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, was never released as a single in the United States. The summary, or meaning of the song, remains somewhat mysterious, although numerous theories do exist.
According to the website Songfacts, "Stairway to Heaven" is about a woman who leads a rather superficial life -- placing money and wealth above all else. This theory is supported by such lyrics as, "There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold/ And she's buying a stairway to heaven." The following lyric: "When she gets there, she knows, If the stores are all closed/ With a word she can get what she came for" seems to imply that this "lady" is accustomed to getting her way in life, unaware that heaven doesn't care about her monetary worth on Earth.
Changing Your Path
"Stairway to Heaven" presents the idea that we have choices in life and do not need to walk the same road as the superficial lady whom this sung describes. Towards the end of the song, Robert Plant sings: "Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run/ There's still time to change the road you're on." In other words, if you are leading a life you are not proud of, there is still time to change things. The lady in the song never seems to realize that her path is the wrong path, as exhibited in these song lyrics: "And as we wind on down the road/ Our shadows taller than our soul/ There walks a lady we all know/ Who shines white light and wants to show/ How everything still turns to gold."
Some, such as the Sunset West Productions' website, interpret "Stairway to Heaven" as a religious song. The website uses lyrics such as "The tune will come to you at last" to argue that the song is about finding Christ. The "tune" represents Christ. The lyrics -- "And if you listen very hard" -- suggests that you must be open to Christ in order to let him into your life. The lyric, "Your stairway lies on the whispering wind" means you must follow the teachings of Christ to get into heaven. Of course, this is just an interpretation of the song from a religious angle, not a solid fact about its true meaning.
"Stairway to Heaven" was written in a mansion known as Headley Grange, located in Headley, Hampshire, UK. Jimmy Page, guitarist for Led Zeppelin, strummed out the basic chords for "Stairway" while Robert Plant, lead vocalist, wrote the lyrics. Apparently, 90 percent of the lyrics where written in one night. Plant claims that while writing the song, something overcame him, causing him to write the lyrics he did. It was as if someone was writing the lyrics through him. Due to this, Plant might not even fully know what the lyrics mean. However, Plant was a huge fan of the "Lord of the Rings Trilogy" as well as the book "Magic Arts in Celtic Britain" -- and some speculate that the song was inspired by those books.
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