Thursday 12 August 2010

Icon #63 Stairway to Heaven (The Guitar Solo)

The most iconic guitar solo ever.
After last weeks vote for most iconic albums it was odd to go back to me just picking a winner, especially as I knew my actual favourite guitar solo of all time wouldn't get a mention.  But hey there are some 'loose' rules at play here, it didn't come up, so it doesn't get written about.  

Stairway's guitar solo doesn't even start until six minutes into the song and a friend today said they'd never actually got that far through it, but it is worth the wait.

The song itself is one of the most celebrated and maligned tracks ever and I know that some of you probably hate it.  I get that, it's self indulgent nonsense for the most part, but as soon as the drumming starts the hairs on the back of my neck go up and by the time Jimmy gets his moment I'm in, well, heaven.

I don't really ever fall into the trap of starting to hate the stuff I loved when I was malleable teenager, Stairway is one of my guilty pleasures and I suspect it will remain so despite the criticism it gets from some quarters.  So many musicians were influenced by this stuff.... but anyway I'm digressing.

The guitar solo...

'...You're Stairway Lies on the whispering wind....' Pause.  Strum.  Pause. Gentle Strum.  Strum. Thump.  Strum.  Explode.  It just defines Led Zeppelin, Page's guitar as the voice.  It's by far the strongest emotional moment of the song as it kicks and then lifts itself just before the solo, it's almost as if the whole six minutes prior to it is about making you wait.

You better have a listen I guess.  If you can't be arsed with all eight minutes then click in at about 5:25 to get the build up to the solo.  If you've never heard it or love it as much as I do just play the whole damn thing.
The live version goes on for about another year so just be glad I spared you that.
'I don't think the critics could understand what we were doing' - Jimmy Page
Tonight's post is dedicated to @Fyb3r_Optic, @dougwild, @EyeOfAaron, @HalleDangerMous, @SoulIsTheGoal, @chappy87 and @whitespider.

And my favourite ever?  Another time.

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