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Led Zeppelin: Stairway To Heaven Meaning

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There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to...


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    Nov 23rd, 2011 11:58am report

    i think this a song of hope :) ~ RP 1975. this masterpeice was written on the basis of Robert Plants belief ~ 'life is simply physics' and he is absolutely right. for every high theres an equal low, what goes around comes around and so on. its saying to us all, that no matter how dark things may seem, and no matter how hopeless we may feel inside, there is always light somewhere along that tunnel. they are showing such understanding of the demons that are sometimes 'shadowing our souls' in times of depression. just as he was albe to "take control of his own mothership" this song is to remind us not only of hope, but that life is what WE make of it and it has a lot to offer if we too regain the reins to our own motherships!
    so in led zep's terms, metaphorically speaking of course ;
    cause you know sometimes words have two meanings (things aren't always as they seem);
    yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on..... i hope so!
    (me too LZ) ;
    a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter......DOES ANYBODY REMEMBER LAUGHTER!! (keep holding on, keep fighting and you will find your way out);
    if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last;
    and to complete the song and meaning perfectly......
    when all is one and one is all, to be a rock and not to roll!!!!!!!!


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    Sep 27th, 2011 9:34pm report

    ok im a stoner and i think that ^ post is dumb. smoke or dont smoke or high or not high this song simply means.................................nothing at all u dumbasses just appreciate music and suck nutz for christz sake plz fuck id rather eat a bowl of Mr.Crunch before deciding wtf this song means. yall r on yall asses and its where your head should be and youre all taking shits from your moufs (mouths). pay rent. work. eat. fuck. shit. sleep. REPEAT. back to you daily lives ppl!


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    Sep 27th, 2011 9:29pm report

    It means get high man. if yuh get high ull be alright man. its all gooood maaannn. trust meh. just hit the pipe in school out of school in class out of class just do it maaan. itl b good like johnny b good duude.

    smokeee it smokkke its good 4 yuh guy

    ull get sexier and grow a thik head if pubezz


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    Sep 26th, 2011 9:22pm report

    There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
    And she's buying a stairway to heaven. (she is tithing)
    When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
    With a word she can get what she came for. (The bible is the word of God, with the bible, she can get into Heaven.) Revelation 3:8
    Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven. (She is tithing and she she thinks that will get her into Heaven)

    There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure (points out the significance of the next line, hint hint)
    'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings. (parables, which the bible is full of, and the words in this song have two meanings)
    In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings, (reference to John the Baptist and  Jesus)
    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving.
    Ooh, it makes me wonder, (think!)
    Ooh, it makes me wonder.

    There's a feeling I get when I look to the west, (the anointing of the holy spirit's comforting, Christianity is the religion of western civilization) (it's usually about now that I feel the spirit! -jk)
    And my spirit is crying for leaving. (soul crying out to be saved)
    In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, (Revelation of Jesus Christ)
    And the voices of those who standing looking.
    Ooh, it makes me wonder,
    Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

    And it's whispered (Revealed by Jesus) that soon if we all call the tune
    Then the piper (Jesus, the one playing the woodwind instrument, the flute, which has a whispering tone) will lead us to reason. (Jesus' second coming, revelation 7:17)
    And a new day will dawn for those who stand long (World after tribulation) Revelation 3:12
    And the forests will echo with laughter.

    Well I've got some good news!  (Gospel is the Greek word for good news)
    If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
    It's just a spring clean for the May queen. (God puling the weeds, the tare, reaping...)
    Yes, there are two paths you can go by (the Stairway to Heaven or the Highway to Hell), but in the long run,
    There's still time to change the road you're on.
    Well I hope so! (There is always hope.  It is never to late to be saved)
    And it makes me wonder.

    Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
    The piper's calling you to join him, (Jesus said I will knock on the door...) Rev 3:20
    Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, (the word of Jesus) and did you know
    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind. (if you want to get to heaven you have to follow the piper, Jesus.  Christians are saved by grace, not by their works.)

    And as we wind on down the road (Later in life, after a few wrong turns.  There is a straight and narrow path to heaven, there is a long and winding road to hell.  )
    Our shadows taller than our soul. (late in the day (near the end of our life) we cast longer shadows, our soul is nothing with out Jesus)
    There walks a lady we all know
    Who shines white light and wants to show
    How everything still turns to gold.  (Later in life after more and more sin we can still be saved.  The new world after the tribulation will be made of gold.)
    And if you listen very hard
    The tune will come to you at last. (if you accept Christ the holy spirit will come into your heart and you will be saved.)
    When all are one and one is all (in Heaven we are one with God)
    To be a rock and not to roll. (Jesus is the Rock, be strong with his foundation)

    And she's buying a stairway to heaven................


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    Aug 24th, 2011 8:08am report

    As Mr. Plant says.."This is a song of hope"
    Does anybody remember laughter?


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    Jul 29th, 2011 7:43pm report

    Like the song says, sometimes a word can have two meanings. That being said, I think that Page or Plant convey a message with this song that has to do with the context that the song was written in. I think you can definitely see how it's an expression of what the band may have been experiencing at the time.
    What a lot of people forget about Led Zeppelin ,since they've become so influential, is that when they first came onto the music scene a lot of critics HATED them, if you don't believe me just read this brutally sarcastic Rolling Stone review of Led Zeppelin II


    Of course, if the members of Led Zeppelin had taken this kind of criticism to heart we would be missing out on some really great rock and roll, so what does this have to do with "Stairway to Heaven"?

    In my opinion, much of stairway to heaven is about following your own personal vision, whether that be artistic, moral, intellectual, or even religious, and this sentiment is filtered through the ambiguous and poetic qualities of the song, which many people take for being allegories of specific subjects.
    While I doubt that this was an intended quality of the song, I think it's very possible that subconsciously the members of Led Zeppelin were reacting to their rather critical environment.

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

    ok, so there's a woman who has a superficial idea of how to gain access to salvation/peace of mind/ happiness. Maybe this alludes to how some people think that with success, and critical acclaim you can achieve happiness.

    "When she gets there she knows if the stores are all closed with a word she can get what she came for."

    You can't achieve resolution or happiness through external means such as buying it at a store or through someone else's validation, so right away even though this protagonist accepts some popular or superficial beliefs about what will make her happy on the surface, deep down she knows she can obtain it on her own terms.

    "There's a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure, because you know sometimes words have two meanings."

    Signs tell us what to do, but ultimately you decide how you will interpret them- if someone criticizes you , you have the freedom to take it to heart or ignore it- and on the flip side, if you are listening to someone express themselves, there could be multiple meanings to what they have to say, so music and art are subjective and should be treated as such.

    The song bird is a more overt reference to the medium of music as a way to deliver messages with multiple meanings, since birds sing in their own language, they sing their own unique tune that can only be understood by other birds. So, if you hear a bird singing in a way it has "misgiven" its message to you.

    "In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, and the voices of those who stand looking"

    Smoke rings are a kind of code, not unlike the bird's song, which use a specific language to communicate a message

    "There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
    and my spirit is crying for leaving"

    With the imagery of singing birds and smoke rings it seems that there is a need to break free, and that other people innately feel this as well. Heaven, smoke rings, and birds all can exist on a higher plane than the earth and therefore transcend earthly problems

    "And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune, then the piper will lead us to reason"

    You can find the answers but you have to generate them yourself before they can take you places, and this is something that everyone has the ability to do. In other words, you proclaim your own fate. Also the continued allusions to music and song clue us into the fact that Led Zeppelin's music is there own "tune" and therefore provides them with the kind of artistic and spiritual satisfaction that they need despite what other critics say about them.

    "And a new day will dawn for those who stand strong, and the forests will echo with laughter"

    Further promotes the point that who have to remain strong in what you believe in if you want to achieve true happiness.

    "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now It's just a spring clean for the May queen Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run There's still time to change the road you're on"

    Don't be intimidated or frightened by critics, sometimes you can heed their input to your own advantage, like everyone needs to do a little spring cleaning now and then- spring also symbolizes growth and rebirth, but ultimately you make the decisions about how you want to lead your life.

    "Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know The piper's calling you to join him Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow and did you know Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?"

    In your head, like the "lady who knows" you already know the answers you just have to look inside to find them. The "whispering wind" like the bird's song and the smoke rings come from the sky, symbolizing heaven/ peace of mind or happiness. Unlike a stairway, which is a physical object, wind is abstract and temporal- you feel it, and like a whisper, instinct is something only you can understand just as you would decode a smoke signal or a bird would understand another bird's song.

    "And as we wind on down the road Our shadows taller than our soul There walks a lady we all know Who shines white light and wants to show How everything still turns to gold"

    As we travel through life, although our self- consciousness often ellipses our true desires and self knowledge, we all truly know what we want and what makes us happy, and furthermore, it is our innate instincts that tell us this.

    "And if you listen very hard The tune will come to you at last When all are one and one is all, yeah To be a rock and not to roll"

    Stay steadfast like a rock, also a pun and the final clue that the Led Zeppelin is talking about their own artistic medium of expression, rock and roll. You will know what to do if you stick to your guns and be true to yourself.

    And she's buying a stairway to heaven

    Kind of an ambiguous last line, sung in a kind of sorrowful way, maybe mourning those who have not had this realization yet because obviously you cannot buy your way into heaven.

    This analysis is kind of a combination of what I know about Led Zeppelin's critical reception in the late 60's by critics who considered their music to be an insincere bastardization of the American blues, as well as Page's and Plant's interest in mysticism. Contrary to popular belief, mysticism has much less to do with the occult and satanic rituals, and more to do with finding spirituality within yourself and developing a personal relationship with God. I feel that this interest really doesn't have anything to do with religion but is rather more of a philosophy of contentment.
    People throughout history, especially women, who have been outspoken about their personal beliefs on God were persecuted because their vision didn't sit well with the establishment- people like Teresa of Avila, and Joan of Arc. Led Zeppelin cleverly draw a connection between the closed mindedness of the middle ages (even if unintentionally) with the close mindedness of critics. The use of classic English folk instrumentation also brings the middle ages to mind, it's hard to see this as coincidental. This may also be why there seem to be so many religious undertones within Stairway: because of its mystical message. This could also be seen as an endorsement of the counterculture in the face of the critical status quo during the 60's and early 70's.
    Ultimately, the main theme (I won't even say message because that seems too didactic) is following your own internal compass- which is why I can't say I disagree with any of the other interpretations of this song no matter how off base they seem to me. Happiness and meaning are things you define on your own terms.


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    Jul 24th, 2011 7:55pm report

    I think everyone is missing the point of this song. This song doesnt have one set meaning. It means whatever you want it too, whatever you can relate too. Jimmy Page said so himself. So the song means whatever you want it too and thats why it will forever go down as the greatest song of rock and roll ever, and this is coming from a 15 year old girl. so you can kiss my ass if you think my generation doesnt know music


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    Jun 17th, 2011 6:59pm report

    It's a beautiful song about life and death.
    "She's buying the stairway to heaven." I think it means that she is dead and in a better place. "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
    There's still time to change the road you're on." It means it's never too late to change your ways and get on the right path. This song has poetic lyrics, I don't think it has to do with drugs so much as just life.


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    Jun 3rd, 2011 6:01pm report

    i have to say im really surprised at how many of you are completely STRETCHING and GRASPING AT STRAWS to give this song meaning where its lacking. i can "prove" that these lyrics refer to baseball by creative analogies (the stairway is making it to home base, the "lady" is the batter, "2 paths" refers to going for the score or staying on base, etc.) but that doesnt mean it was the intention of the song. (im talking to you, christians and satanists alike!) this song is nothing more than an ambigous poem plant quickly jotted down and lz recorded to album in a matter of a few hours. if anyone has ever recorded an album, writing a 8min song from its inception and completing it at a final recording in mere hours is like running a marathon in 3hours, let alone having the time to craft such a poem with specific but cleverly disguised religious reference to each line! the band members themselves affirm it has no real specific meaning, and its clear these lyrics were merely meant to evoke thought and feeling. im sure when plant was rushing to write down some lyrics, there were many different references to what was going on in his life and with the band offering slight changes in words in quick rehersal, so its a combination of ideas, and whether one line specifically refers to lotr and another refers to drugs or whatever, its more about a general idea. and as for this backward message, its hard to say if its even in there since everyone knows what to listen for. its a lot easier to *think* youve heard something when youre specifically listening to it. its like when you hear your printer droning sound seeming to say "almost done! almost done! almost done!" while its printing. (whos to say they didnt add it in just to screw with the american critics and censors anyway, assuming its even in there.) i mean, didnt the old 19th century slave song turned rock'n'rolll "louie louie" by the kingsmen start a controversy b/c some kid played it on the wrong recored speed and its slow jumbled deep sound sound like satan gargling "worship me" to his father or some bs? you can make anything into anything else if you rationalize it enough. these are all jsut red herrrings, you must seriously be clinging to false hope to think that this song is about satan or christ worshiping.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    May 31st, 2011 5:40pm report

    I know because I was there and it was discussed with those who know.....and it's all a bit ridiculous to speculate on this - it's a song - and a beautiful one - hey, if you don't get it - why bother?

    Giana Liaci -


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    May 23rd, 2011 5:36am report

    The tool shed mentioned in the backwards recording is a reference to the Aleister Crowley house Jimmy Page lived in at one point. The house was called the Tool House. For those that dont know Aleister Crowley was a big time Satanist in U.K.


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    May 4th, 2011 5:56pm report

    It's about a lady who is saving up money to get to heaven... And no matter much money she saved she never got to heaven.


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    Apr 13th, 2011 4:28am report

    We have no idea who people are or who they say they are. I happen to have a Doctorate of Theology after three years of seminary which included a BA in Bible (four year undergrad) from a very conservative university.

    This song means aboslutely nothing. Lady of Babylon? Satan backward/backmasking?

    All you are doing is making it more than what it is.....a song, thought up by a person who has some artistic value back in that day.

    What he wears says more about who he is than what he sings. His personal lifestyle comes with the era of that time. The music didn't cause the 60's God is dead theology. Heck to say God is dead is to acknowledge a God that /was/ alive.

    So give it a break. I have heard this song for years. I love the sounds that they make and the words that follow do not cause me to fall into the pit of hell.

    The only thing as far as I am concerned that would put me in hell and that is refusing to bow to Jesus Christ during your days in this world. Christ died for all and that means you.

    That is just a side note because it has NOTHING to do with the song. You who call yourselves Christians are the ones that I write too.

    The world needs the love of Christ and people are searching. When I see, hear, or feel the pain of a person who speaks about heaven, I call them 'searchers'.

    Don't run the 'searchers/seekers' off with this petty crap about backmasking, ideology of who the 'woman' is who is climbing the stairway to heaven.

    Well get your act together you 'conservative Christians' who are more afraid of their own faith being rattled than to reach down to a person who simply sings a song about a stairway to heaven.

    Get the picture? It's the love of Christ brings people to Himself.

    Nuf' said


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    Jan 11th, 2011 1:07am report

    What turns a piece of art into a classic? What makes a song endure the vicissitudes of time and personal taste such that even after decades it still retains the title of “most-played track in radio history”? Something about the song resonates within all who hear it; nevertheless its deep message has remained sealed to the uninitiated. Indeed, the Zeppelin fan magazine “In the Light” refers to “the epic ‘Stairway to Heaven’, [as a song] the meaning of which is an enduring Zeppelin mystery.”

    To unlock the meaning hidden within any esoteric text a key is essential. Looking at the inside drawing of the album cover (see the illustration on wikipedia), the key is revealed. It is a drawing of a lone individual at the bottom of an ominous mountain looking upward questioningly for help, for guidance on her quest. At the top of the mountain stands a looming cloaked figure with a staff in one hand and a lamp in the other - a shepherd, a guide through the darkness of the surrounding night. At the center of the lamp, the source of the light, is a golden star. Yet this is no ordinary star, it is the Star of David - the symbol of the philosophy of ancient Israel.

    The song’s lyricist Robert Plant explains the creation of “Stairway to Heaven” as being an almost metaphysical experience: “It was done very quickly. It was a very fluid, unnaturally easy track. There was something pushing it, saying ‘you guys are okay, but if you want to do something timeless, here’s a wedding song for you.’”

    The description of “Stairway to Heaven” as a “wedding song” is most enigmatic given that the song has nothing to do with wedding songs - traditional or otherwise. However, by applying the Kabbalistic metaphor of “wedding”, used to depict the union of man and God, the description is demystified. Spiritually striving man is represented in feminine form in that she receives from God. God, as the absolute source of all, is represented in masculine form in that He gives to humanity. As will be developed, “Stairway to Heaven” tells the story of “a lady” - mankind fulfilling its spirituality - climbing heavenward to unite with her Creator. As such, it is most appropriate that the visionary of this song referred to it as “a wedding song”.

    For a full, verse by verse, interpretation based on mystical thought see:


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    Jan 2nd, 2011 1:54pm report

    actually it is a prediction about 2012...
    jk... actually it's really easy to put backwords meanings in to songs... ::: record a message - play it backwords - find a sentance that kinda sounds like what your hearing. -

    the seconed line is played loud forward on the track, the original is played backwords at a lower volume... and there you go you have a backwards message

    there are other tricks too that can make it sound clearer but thats basically it...
    the cure for writers block

    i think backwords messages are stupid though

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