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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Plant’

I clearly had “Stairway to Heaven” on my mind yesterday, and I still do today.  I think the song is absolutely amazing, and I think it’s unfortunate that so many people regard it as played-out or cliched.  I’d be willing to bet that a staggering number of young people have heard someone disparage “Stairway to Heaven” more times than they have actually heard the song.  In fact, I think that insisting that “Stairway to Heaven” is a cliche is itself far more of a cliche than the song is.

Anyway, I think the song is powerful, mystical, and magnificent.  My dad always talked about how he thought certain songs seemed to tap into some kind of cosmic energy or some power source out there, implying God or Heaven or something like that.  I think he might be right.  There’s something about the way this song is put together, the words, the phrasing, the musical arrangement, the instruments, the guitar solo, the crescendo and decrescendo, something about the architecture of this song that makes me think of occult architecture, of buildings and statues built specifically to channel otherworldly supernatural power through symbolism.  Somehow this song is like that.

I’m not even sure what all of the words mean, and I’m not even convinced that if you broke them down and analyzed them like you would a piece of literature that they would come out the other end seeming very profound at all.  It’s like the pieces of this song are combined in such a way that the song itself–not specifically the words to the song or their meaning–works like a magic spell.  But a spell meant to do what?  Something is being invoked here, but what is it?  If this song is a key, what door does it open?

What is this taste of infinity that rolls around on my tongue every time I hear this song?

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There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying
For leaving

In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those
Who stand looking

And it’s whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason

And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will
Echo with laughter

-Led Zeppelin

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This is a fantastic song, but it raises the grim specter of a question: if this is not the greatest song in the world, then what is? It is a question of spiritual significance.

Rolling Stone says that the greatest song is “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. That is bullshit. 1) That’s a really limp, boring song. 2) They just picked it because it says “Rolling Stone” in it.

Rolling Stone’s choice for number two is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. But that is not even the best song by the Rolling Stones (that would be “Paint It, Black” hands down, no contest). Plus, again, Rolling Stone is just picking something that says “Rolling Stone” in it. How typically lame. Rolling Stone is full of shit.

So which song actually is the greatest song in the world? I can think of three contenders: “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash, “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and “All Along The Watchtower” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also possibly “Let It Be” byt the Beatles and “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. But I think it needs serious discussion and consideration.

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