Stairway to Heaven - An appreciation
Over eight minutes in length, it is awfully hard to classify it under a single genre. It beings with a slow guitar solo lasting well over a minute, and ends with an incredibly guitar riff that could easily be classified as heavy metal (well the heavy metal of the 70's!). It is almost possible to slow dance to the first five-six minutes of the song and head-bang to the last two!
The song has a very mystical and eerieish feel to it, which suits it very well. And, unlike other songs that I admire, the lyrics do not seem to make too much sense, which is refreshingly different! I mean it is vaguely about materialism and how this girl is trying to buy her way through everything. On the other hand, certain lines suggest it to be about the two paths in life - heaven and hell. On the whole, there doesn't seem to be an overall theme. Led Zep candidly admitted that the lyrics do not make sense and their excuse was being high on "Moroccan dope"! :)
But the most intriguing part of the song to me, at least are the satanic messages weaved in. I have heard it myself, and I can confirm it. THE SATANTIC MESSAGES DO EXIST. However, a lot of people get carried away to the extent of suggesting Satan's possible involvement. The lead guitarist of the band Jimmy Page has always been a Satanist and he wrote it into the song. All said and done, we must appreciate his genius - for a song to make sense when it is played forwards and BACKWARDS is an incredible achievement. Satanist or not, that dude was talented!
The message start at the time 4:18 secs on the studio version, played backwards. The song can be turned backwards on a computer using a program such as Windows Sound Recorder. When played forward the lyrics sound relatively innocuous:-
If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
However, when this paragraph is played backwards, this is what it reveals:-
Oh here's to my sweet Satan,
the one whose little path would make me sad, sweet Satan
He'll give you give you 666,
There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan.
And trust me, that does sound incredibly scary. According to Satanism, listening to the song playing forwards, playing normally that satanic message gets imbedded in our subconscious. And talk about tempting fate by writing an article on satanic messages on 06/06/06!
Rather than taking anything away from the song, the satanic messages add a whole lot more in terms of depth. It renders the meaning of the lyrics into obscurity. It excuses the lack of a central theme. And the incredible part about this song is that it rises above the satanic messages. Stairway to Heaven has always first been known as an all-time classic song and then for it's satanic messages. And that I consider that to be it's greatest achievement.