Deep Tracks From 1971: ‘Stairway To Heaven”- Led Zeppelin. May as well start the year with the most famous album cut of 1971- “Stairway To Heaven.” The most popular album cut of all time? Never released as a single- it has become over the past 50 years one of the most played [overplayed] songs on the radio. Written by Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant- the 8 minute 2 second long song finishes up side 1 of their best album- Led Zeppelin IV aka “ZoSo” -well if you don’t agree it is their best album- it is at least their best selling album at 37 million copies.
The reason never to release “Stairway To Heaven” was a group decision. Usually the idea was to release singles to promote the island. Jimmy Page has said they were careful NOT to release “Stairway To Heaven” as a single- so people would have to buy the album to get it.
Rolling Stone ranked “Stairway To Heaven” at #31 on their 500 Greatest Songs Ever list. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has it among their 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.” Guitar World ranked it as the greatest guitar solo ever. It seems like anytime a radio station has a countdown of the greatest songs ever- if “Stairway To Heaven” isn’t #1 its pretty close to that. Amazing endurance for a song nearing it’s 50th birthday. It is a great song- no question about that but a song I have heard so many times it has lost it’s punch to me.