by Bill Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michelle and I were on our way home from our annual junket to Door County on Monday. I always love traveling in that part of the state because I can drift back into my misspent youth and crank up the Rockin' Apple, 105.7 WAPL.
In the late '70's and through the '80's, the Apple was THE rock station in Wisconsin, even above WQFM or WLPX in Milwaukee. The Apple played great rock all the time.
The Apple is still great, primarily because they play the exact same music that they played during my misspent youth. I joked with Michelle that they play Ozzy every fourth song. It might not be that often, but it has to be at least once per hour.
Anyway, we're heading home on Monday and Stairway To Heaven comes on.
Maybe I don't listen to the radio that much anymore, (at least to music), but I never hear Stairway on the radio anymore. It is one of the most played songs in the history of FM radio and one of the real foundation songs of classic rock.
With popularity comes backlash.
Over the years Stairway has been a part of too many slow dances, too many hangovers, too many bad trips.....
Rarely is Stairway To Heaven mentioned in the list of greatest songs. Fans grew so tired of Stairway, they penalize the rest of the Led Zeppelin IV album, or Zoso as some call it.
It's a shame, because IV is a great album and Stairway is a great song, one of the greatest songs of all time.
With the over exposure, the song was bound to fall out of favor with the public. That happens eventually to any song that gets played too much. (think "Who Let The Dogs Out!!!")
For Zeppelin fans, it probably isn't cool to say that Stairway, or Whole Lotta Love, or any of the other mega hits is your favorite song.
There are three categories of Zeppelin song: Power Blues, Medieval Fantasy, and Progressive Rock.
I don't know that Stairway fits into any of those. I guess the closest would be Medieval Fantasy, with a Power Blues ending.
What Stairway did was forge the path for songs like Freebird, Green Grass and High Tides, and others.
I would argue that it's hard to find a more complete vocal by Plant, or a better lead by Page.
Go home tonight and throw on whatever copy of Stairway To Heaven it is that you have in the house (and if you don't, what's wrong with you?)
Drink it in and enjoy one of rock's great gifts.
If you can catch it on the Rockin' Apple even better. Maybe they can squeeze it in between "No More Tears" and "Mr. Crowley."
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