Watch Jimmy Page critique Stairway to Heaven minute-by-minute

What could be more fun that having a fireside chat with Jimmy Page about the origins of Stairway to Heaven? The BBC got to sit with the artist in 2014 and listen to him spill the origin story of one of rock’s greatest and most iconic songs.

The video starts out with Page dropping the needle on a record player, sitting back and contemplating the song.

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“It was a very inspired time we were living in. … Eating, sleeping making music. That’s what we were doing day after day.”

Page goes through all of the small decisions on the track that lead up to a rather remarkable whole.

“What I learned about John Bonham is he could be really effective if he came in somewhere down the line,” Page says. “So everything is starting to open up on this map, on this journey through. All of this stuff was planned. It was not just an accident or everyone chipping in. It was a sort of design.”

At the time, the band made a controversial decision to speed up the song’s time signature partway through.

“One of the cardinal rules when I was a studio musician was that you didn’t speed up. And I was keen to do something which had an acceleration to it – not only from the musical point of view but from the lyricist. So the whole thing would start to gain a momentum as it went through. … You’re breaking the No. 1 cardinal rule.”

The whole video reminds me of sitting with someone’s grandfather listening to his war stories. It’s an incredible peek into the mind of one of the world’s greatest guitarists.

“It’s really an inspired period of time,” Page says. “Everyone’s playing so honestly and with such conviction, and it shows.”

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One comment to “Watch Jimmy Page critique Stairway to Heaven minute-by-minute”
  1. I wonder how much time it took from conception to recording the song in the studio… Too many bands these days just crank songs out without giving them much thought. I think that extra time is what separates the good bands from the great bands.

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