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Stairway to Heaven Album

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There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold And she's buying the stairway to heaven

Stairway to Heaven tells the story of a greedy woman who is overly optimistic about her unpromising future.

The first line begins with that cynical sweep of the hand … and it softened up after that.

A stairway to heaven is simply a metaphor, a way for us to reach heaven from our earthly abode.

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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

“Going west” is a metaphor that goes way back in American folklore. In much Native belief, the spirit journeys west after death.

Throughout the 19th century, the West represented the land of opportunity (“Go west, young man!”).

It popped up in early rock ballads like “California Dreaming” and “Route 66”.

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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

This is a clever remix of (1) the proverb “he who pays the piper calls the tune” and (2) the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The message is that money doesn’t matter: If we all just agree on the vision (tune), we’ll be led to good things.

When this was written, the advent of the “New Age Movement” gained traction.

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Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin in the late sixties

Early Years

The band began their first tour of the UK on 4 October 1968, still billed as the New Yardbirds; they played their first show as Led Zeppelin at the University of Surrey in Battersea on 25 October. Tour manager Richard Cole, who would become a major figure in the touring life of the group, organised their first North American tour at the end of the year. Their debut album, Led Zeppelin, was released in the US during the tour on 12 January 1969, and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard chart; it was released in the UK, where it peaked at number 6, on 31 March. According to Steve Erlewine, the album's memorable guitar riffs, lumbering rhythms, psychedelic blues, groovy, bluesy shuffles and hints of English folk, made it "a significant turning point in the evolution of hard rock and heavy metal".

The Led Zeppelin logo on a stage

Hiatus from Touring and Return

Following their triumphant Earls Court appearances, Led Zeppelin took a holiday and planned an autumn tour in America, scheduled to open with two outdoor dates in San Francisco. In August 1975, however, Plant and his wife Maureen were involved in a serious car crash while on holiday in Rhodes, Greece. Plant suffered a broken ankle and Maureen was badly injured; a blood transfusion saved her life. Unable to tour, he headed to the Channel Island of Jersey to spend August and September recuperating, with Bonham and Page in tow. The band then reconvened in Malibu, California. During this forced hiatus much of the material for their next album, Presence, was written.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on stage
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in 2012

2010s & Beyond

A film of the O2 performance, Celebration Day, premiered on 17 October 2012 and was released on DVD on 19 November. The film grossed $2 million in one night, and the live album peaked at number 4 and 9 in the UK and US, respectively. Following the film's premiere, Page revealed that he had been remastering the band's discography. The first wave of albums, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III, were released on 2 June 2014. The second wave of albums, Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy, were released on 27 October 2014. Physical Graffiti was released on 23 February 2015, almost exactly forty years to the day after the original release. The fourth and final wave of studio album reissues, Presence, In Through the Out Door, and Coda, were released on 31 July 2015.

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2019 Tour Dates