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The signature power ballad on Led Zeppelin IV towers over Seventies rock like a monolith. From the Elizabethan ambience of its acoustic introduction to Plant's lyrical mysticism to Page's spiraling solo, the eight-minute song is a masterpiece of slow-reveal intensity that withholds power, then ascends skyward like nothing in rock. "It speeds up like an adrenaline flow," said Page, whose on-the-spot improvisation was the perfect complement to Plant's evocation of excess and salvation. "It was a milestone for us."

One of the Most Well-known and Popular Rock Songs Never to Have Been Released as

a Single

Jimmy Page told Rolling Stone in 1975, "We were careful to never release it as a single," which forced buyers to buy the entire album. Despite pressure from Atlantic Records, the band would not authorize the editing of the song for single release.

If You Play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in Reverse, You Hear Satanic Messages

Televangelist Paul Crouch brought this allegation into the mainstream in 1982, claiming that, when played backward, the "bustle in your hedgerow" segment of Zep's signature tune says this: "Here's to my sweet Satan/The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan/He will give those with him 666/There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan."

 

Although that part of "Stairway" does sound similar to Crouch's interpretation when played backward, it's just a bizarre coincidence. "Who on Earth would have ever thought of doing that?" Robert Plant said of the backward-Satanism charges. "You've got to have a lot of time on your hands to even consider that people would do that."

Number One Guitar Solo in Rock and Roll History

 

Guitar World magazine rated Jimmy Page's guitar solo at number one in the publication's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos in Rock and Roll History.

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Oh oh oh oh and she's buying a stairway to heaven

There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it makes me wonder

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who standing looking

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it really makes me wonder

And it's whispered that soon, If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May queen
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
And it makes me wonder

Your head is humming and it won't go
In case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind

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
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
And she's buying the stairway to heaven

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN