Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stairway to Heaven

I think I'll do almost anything to avoid thinking about the holidays (see post from yesterday). Today as I was reading the "news" on my web homepage there was an article about Led Zeppelin's upcoming reunion concert in London on December 10. Apparently their most famous "Stairway to Heaven" piece is highly controversial. People struggle with the lyrics and LZ singer Robert Plant seemingly has a love-hate relationship with the song. Will the group perform their most beloved piece at the concert? Most say yes.

Why do I care? I don't really; just reading the article got me thinking about Stairway to Heaven again. I'm not a person who ever gets into lyrics much. I'm far more mesmerized by the tune, the beat, and the rhythm of songs. Lately, however, I've been reading lyrics of some of my old favorites and am struck by the ambiguities. These are complex pieces and they raise questions of interpretation. After more exploration, I found the above photo and full eight minute recording of Stairway on YouTube.

I'm listening now and really hearing the lyrics. And, I'm going back, way back in time to the fall of 1973 as a sophomore in college, madly in love with a guy named Kenny (can't even remember his last name now...scandalous). We were dancing to this tune, first slow and as the tempo increased faster and faster. All I knew was that this guy was great and our relationship was just beginning. I will always associate this song with that evening though I've heard it countless times since and already three times today. Funny how these associations come to us and stick like glue. Dancing to Stairway may have been the peak of our relationship; as I recall it was a gradual downhill from there until the day he told me he wasn't interested in the relationship anymore. Harsh.

As for the lyrics, I haven't a clue what they mean although I like the imagery of the stairway to heaven that "lies on the whispering wind". Who is the May Queen and who is that pesky piper who is calling us to join him?

***Sipping wine with Denny this evening, I shared the content of this blog with him and he told me that he also loves Stairway and that it was the LAST song played in the operating room as he finished his final surgical case in June of 1999; his request! Wow.


  1. from Susanne Gravendijk:

    The image leads me the other way round...I see the newborn coming down that stairway to their birthplace in the Lago Hospital so close to the Colorado Point hill and the sea at Cuda Bay or the Fourth Lagoon, Dog Graves or whatever it was called by the fortunate ones who were born and raised in Lago Colony. Artistic license provides freedom to portray the place we all love as the stairway to and from the unknowns of heaven to the island that really has been our heaven. As my class has said, if Heaven is not like Aruba, we are not staying... The stairway is an escape from Heaven, back to the island of our birth and our own eternal home.

    In January 2005, that hillside was as green as the painting from the recent rains.

    Top row, fourth photo:

  2. Once again, I am blown away by all the connections you make and the thoughts that you put into your posts. And then to have that conversation with Denny! There are no coincidences. See you soon.


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