The much-talked about already Stairway to Heaven

Posted on August 11, 2004

I do try to avoid the link-blog syndrome, but some things are really worth mentioning.
Like “The Stairway Suite” page which describes itself as “Stairway to Heaven, as Schubert wrote it”.
And it’s not only Schubert at that, you have an impressive array of potential composers for this work such as Holst, Bizet or Beethoven, just to cherry-pick a few.

So what’s this all about? Well, I’ll just transcribe the site’s own words here as they tell it all really:

The Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” is a rock classic for some critics. Whether or not you agree, its notoriety is assured by the thousands of would-be guitarists who can play the first dozen bars badly: it is to the guitar what “Chopsticks” is to the piano. But what if Jimmy Page & Robert Plant hadn’t written it? What if it had been written for orchestra in the 19th or 20th centuries? For a publicity stunt, “The Stairway Suite” was commissioned by the University of New South Wales Orchestra and written by Joe Wolfe.

Anyone who has ever spent any time at all in a guitar shop (and belongs to a certain generation) knows exactly what they mean when they refer to the plague of the would-be guitar players who decided to try out a guitar and would invariably torture those first bars of Stairway to Heaven out of the instrument and into the innocent ears of everyone around them.
It got so bad that it even led to that scene in Wayne’s World when Wayne (or was it Garth? Gees, it was a long time ago) is working on a music instrument store and has to enforce a sign that forbids playing this song when trying out guitars.
But I digress…

The point of this post is to tell you to go to the site and listen to the MP3 samples available there. They are really very good, all of them.
I especially like the Glenn Miller version and grand finale, but that’s just personal preference.