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Stairway to Heaven and Cigarettes

This article below says that one of the reasons for the big success of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin was its 8 minute length, in which DJs had enough time to smoke a cigarette. So the more addicted a DJ was, the more often it got played. Back then, you did not have the fancy digital equipment to program multiple songs, you only had vinyl. So a song that was not only brilliant, but one that allowed you to have a smoke, was huge. Jimmy Page’s brilliant lead riff at the end, and Robert Plant’s final words was no doubt the signal to stub out the butt and head back in the studio.


The song also had an intense, almost religious effect on America’s youth, to the extent it was the main song that was used for suicides. For the kids that were not really interested in church, the mystical and beautiful song was so important they made it the last music they ever heard. Little did people know that a major role in this legendary song’s exposure was simply a desire to smoke cigarettes.

Deborah Bonham is a musician, check this out

I never knew John Bonham of Led Zeppelin had a daughter also, she’s a singer, and that Robert Plant helped get her started. I like the fact she submitted demos anonymously, sounds like she’s really good.


Connection between "Something" and "Stairway To Heaven"

I was reading a book about Led Zeppelin’s fourth album called “When the Levee Breaks. Their 8 song fourth album became the biggest and baddest from beginning to end of all rock albums. And the interesting thing is that James Taylor’s “Something In the Way She Moves” may be connected to “Stairway To Heaven” via “Something” by the Beatles. Also, Zeppelin was inspired by a Fleetwood Mac song called “Oh, Well,” that “Black Dog” is derived from. In addition, “Rock and Roll” is close in spirit to another Fleetwood Mac song of the time, though the name escapes me.

Back to the story: John Bonham had run into George Harrison at a party just before Zeppelin was getting ready to do the album at Hedley Grange, a former orphanage located on the coast of south England. Harrison told Bonham that his band was great, but they had no ballads.

So Bonham went back to Jimmy Page and told him about Harrison’s comment. At this time, the band had been at their cottage in Wales called Bron-y-Ur (golden breast in Welsh) in the mystical Black Mountains. Robert Plant had been steeping himself in the Celtic mythology to mine for material for the new album, and was coming up with the lyrics for Stairway To Heaven, and other classics that refer to the days of Merlin and King Arthur in allusion and other artistic devices.

So Jimmy Page began tinkering with a riff loosely based on the single note descending in “Something,” though he sped up the tempo of the beat. And “Something” is in C major, whereas “Stairway” is in Am. So the next time you hear either song, there’s that descending note.

When James Taylor signed with Apple Records, he had a demo of “Something In The Way She Moves,” that Harrison had to have heard, as the Beatles had to sign off on each band being signed. The songs are close in several ways, though not enough to cause problems. Did Harrison subconsciously borrow the mood and lyric?

Note: Paul McCartney plays drums on “Carolina On My Mind.” a little tidbit of info. To their credit, the Beatles released Taylor from the Apple contract when he wanted to go, without penalty. Big mistake not to pay attention to James Taylor, look what happened afterwards.