November 9, 2011

Bustle In Your Hedgerow (Don't Be Alarmed Now)

Stairway To Heaven is officially 40 years old. Which is really saying something when you consider the fact that it's generally voted one of the top rock songs ever recorded.

I've always had a soft spot for Led Zeppelin. They were part of a holy Atlantic Records trifecta with Yes and Genesis that influenced my love of music early in my life. My early teen years were spent rocking out to Physical Graffiti and Houses of the Holy cranked up to eleven. Though Stairway isn't my favorite Led Zeppelin song (that title probably goes to Ten Years Gone or When The Levee Breaks), I think I can objectively say that it's one of the greatest, most epic and iconic songs committed to record.

There are few songs that can stand beside it in a head-to-head battle of rock epic greatness. Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd), Crossroads (Eric Clapton) and Yours Is No Disgrace (Yes) are pretty good contenders. So are Layla (Derrick and the Dominos), and Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones). The entire second half of Abby Road (The Beatles) could give it a run for its money. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who) and American Pie (Don McLean) could also pose a pretty good rivalry. But those kinds of songs just aren't written and recorded every day.

So, happy birthday Stairway To Heaven.

What's your vote for most iconic song?

Posted by Chris at November 9, 2011 7:28 AM

Stairway to Heaven was pretty profound when I was growing up. We thought we were totally cool when we stayed up until midnight to hear the DJ at the "rock" station WPLR (now a "classic rock" station playing the same songs as back then) play Stairway to Heaven at midnight for his signoff.

Posted by: NancyB at November 9, 2011 9:14 AM

I'd have to put my vote in for 'Stairway' as well.

Posted by: J at November 9, 2011 9:29 AM

I'd vote for Stairway, too. It was always the last song played at the junior high dances. When you heard it start, you knew it was your last chance to get in a dance with your crush.
Ten Years Gone is definitely my favorite, though.

Posted by: akofaolain at November 9, 2011 9:49 AM

So what are your thoughts on Rush? Fan or no? I read your blog daily and out of all your music related posts, I don't recall if you were a fan or not?

Posted by: Travis at November 9, 2011 11:27 AM

Sadly, being raised in the south, one of the iconic songs is Sweet Home Alabama. And of course, the ubiquitous Free Bird. Carry On from Kansas sticks out too in my growing up years, but I don't know that it reached icon status.
Stairway is the one that stands out in my head because my cousin played it forever on the guitar trying to learn it. When The Levee Breaks is my favorite Zeppelin song. American Pie might have to be the most iconic song for me, as it takes me straight back to singing it at the top of our lungs on the band bus. Great times.

Posted by: Amanda L. at November 9, 2011 10:11 PM

Great post and I cannot believe Stairway is 40 years old. Yikes.

Some other iconic songs IMHO;

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
We Will Rock You / We are the Champions - Also Queen
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Blame it on the Rain - Milli Vanilli (kidding).

I also get warm and fuzzy when I hear Do They Know it's Christmas by Band-Aid. Meant a lot to me growing up.

Posted by: urban daddy at November 10, 2011 1:04 AM

Lots of good examples above... I'd add Born to Run by Springsteen...

Posted by: Sue R at November 10, 2011 12:14 PM