The Legend of Stairway To Heaven
The song that Gibson Les Paul legend Jimmy Page described as "crystallizing the band" started taking form in 1970 during Page and Robert Plant's famous songwriting vacation in rural Wales at a cottage called Bron-Yr-Aur. Page developed the acoustic opening section there, and Plant wrote the initial verse. By the time the entire band regrouped at the Headley Grange rehearsal and recording building in East Hampshire, England, Page had several distinct pieces of electric and acoustic music that he felt were related to that initial theme. While Page tried to weave the sections together with drummer John Bonham and bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, Plant sat in a corner, writing. When he stood up and started singing, about 80-percent of the lyrics for "Stairway To Heaven" were complete.
Led Zeppelin cut the basic rhythm tracks for "Stairway To Heaven" in December 1970 at Basing Street Studios in London. Plant cut his vocals in early 1971 at Headley Grange. Then Page retuned to Basing Street to cut his solos. Initially it went poorly. Page couldn't quite hit the mark after a number of passes. According to Jones, he could see concern in Page's eyes, so Jones broke the tension by turning toward the guitar wizard and declaring, "You're making me paranoid!" Page shot back, "You're making me paranoid!" And with the air cleared by laughter he nailed the solo's elaborate architecture in a few more passes.
Page saw "Stairway" as a successor to "Dazed and Confused," an epic musical adventure in several movements. As for Plant, he'd drawn on Scottish folklorist Lewis Spence for his lyrics. more on this story
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