I grew up listening to rock music. Specifically, classic rock back before it had earned the ‘classic’ moniker by refusing to die. Stairway to Heaven was a favorite of mine and many others. It didn’t get a lot of airplay on the main radio stations as it was over 8 minutes long — much longer than the typical 4 minute top o’ the charts song.
I could usually hear it on the radio once a week during the Top 5 Songs. The local radio station based it off of caller requests and, for a very long time, Stairway to Heaven was #1, so they played it last thing around 10pm. All eight glorious minutes.
But as the play count in my head got into the hundreds, maybe thousands, the thrill faded. I didn’t seek it out and it isn’t in my music library in any format.
But then I saw this version. Lead by the band Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson), this version was performed at the Kennedy Center to honor Led Zeppelin in 2012.
A couple of things to note for this performance. First, Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin’s deceased drummer John Bonham, is playing drums. That had to be an intense moment for him. Watch him at the very end salute his dad’s bandmates.
Then there is the guy who has to play the Stairway To Heaven guitar solo in front of Jimmy Page. That had to be stressful.
The part that always gets me is how the song builds. Not the melody or vocals themselves, but how the people on stage build. I’m not going to describe it as you have to see it. Those being honored are amazed and touched by the performance.
What does it feel like to write a song that touched so many people?
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