I may be a bit behind the times. I heard a song on the radio yesterday. It was Stairway To Heaven.
Now, I’m not that far behind the times. I have heard Stairway To Heaven before, many many times.
I recognized the familiar introduction, the acoustic guitar. Then the clapping and cheering of an audience reaction. Ah, so this was a live version. It was not a live version I’ve heard before though. There’s really only one live version of the song that I’ve ever heard on the radio and this wasn’t it. Does anyone remember laughter?
I haven’t followed Robert Plant’s solo career so I’m not familiar with how his voice has changed over the decades. Was that Plant singing or no? It sorta sounded like him in some spots but didn’t really sound like him. If a band is going to make a cover of Stairway To Heaven they’re going to have to do a top notch job of it, because the standard of comparison is so high.
Strings! Choir accompaniment! This was sounding really good! I’m searching my memory – did Led Zeppelin ever do a symphony sessions release that I’d never heard of?
The song ended and I was wowed.
Some years ago, maybe a decade, I heard a cover of Another Brick In The Wall on the radio. At first I didn’t like it. Pink Floyd had made the definitive version of that song and this song didn’t sound like it so I didn’t like it. After hearing it a few times I realized that the only reason I didn’t like it was that I was comparing it to the Pink Floyd version. I stopped comparing and asked myself, would I like this song if I was hearing it for the first time? My answer was yes.
It wasn’t the same situation with the version of Stairway To Heaven that I’d just heard. I liked it. Period. Exclamation mark! It was a close replica of the original yet still added something extra.
I looked it up when I got home and learned that it was performed by Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart, with Jason Bonham on drums, as a live tribute, with – get this – Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones in the audience. Holy cow! I had enjoyed simply hearing the rendition on the radio, but seeing the video with shots of Plant and Page in the audience was something else.
I can only imagine what it must have felt like for Plant, Page, Jones, in the audience, to see the song they had created so long ago, the song they had performed so many times, the song that will last longer than their careers, to see and hear it performed so superbly.
The song was performed at the Kennedy Center on December 26, 2012 and the video published on YouTube on December 28, 2012. If I am behind the times, I’m not that far behind, less than a month.
- Hearts tribute to Stairway To Heaven brings Robert Plant to tears (markosun.wordpress.com)
- Heart Belt Out ‘Stairway to Heaven’ for Led Zeppelin (rollingstone.com)
- ‘Stairway to Heaven’: Watch a Moving Tribute to Led Zeppelin at The Kennedy Center (openculture.com)
- HEART Vocalist Ann Wilson On ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Performance – “What A High That Night Was; Never To Be Forgotten!” (bravewords.com)
- Best “Stairway” ever (oregonexpat.wordpress.com)
- stairway to heaven: kennedy center honors (aseekingspirit.wordpress.com)
- Heart plays Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven, makes Robert Plant cry (video) (blogs.vancouversun.com)