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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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    Aug 16th, 2010 8:34pm report

    Fact these guys are satanists and into Allister Crowley / Page bought his castle in England now, don't get on my case I did an extensive study and you can see it on youtube - their lads worshiped or still worship satan, and it's about death and committing suicide - if you play this backwards you can clearly hear what plant is singing about, his lord "SATAN" and if you think I am nuts check out Illuminati, Bilderbergs, NWO and how they produce this crap so that kids get hooked...I tell you the truth and know there will be many who won't believe but do your homework on these people and abnds and you will be shocked - cheeers


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    Aug 16th, 2010 8:18pm report

    I heard this too many times on FM radio to be objective about how I loathe it.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Aug 8th, 2010 8:39am report

    How can anybody say this song has no meaning? Obviously since Led Zeppelin wrote it there is no hidden meaning for them. But to us there kind of is. Every song has a meaning, that is why songs are written. To portray a message. If they don't do that, what is the point of the song? Is it even a song if it doesn't evoke some sort of mood or feeling in a person? This song does, however.

    There are obvious double meanings, allegories, metaphors, what you will. It's down to personal interpretation at this stage. The lyrics are genius and there are so many references to other things in there that nobody can say that the song has no point. It was a very carefully thought out song, although there are rumours of it being devil-inspired and also God-inspired. As a lyric writer myself, I know that a song like that cannot be written for no reason. No one will know the true meaning behind each word and phrase but the authors.


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    Jul 20th, 2010 7:54pm report

    The most interesting thing about this discussion is that it shows very clearly how people see what they want to see.

    Religious types think there is some message about Jesus and Christianity or Satan ( trust me guys, Led Zeppelin were a British rock band - they would not give a flying f&%k about Christianity, which we in Britain regard as being ... well, for really gullible people). It is a well known fact that American Christians see Satan everywhere... This merely shows how their lives are ruled by fear of an imaginary being. It was Christianity that created Satan.

    When Christianity became the dominant religion, the imagery of the preceding religion (paganism) was used to represent Satan. This is why Satan appears as a half-man, half goat. This image is actually Pan the Piper, a pagan god of the forest and music. Hence the confusion amongst the under-educated. Satan in the Bible is much more connected with the image of the serpent; the connection with Pan was invented much later to destroy the older religion.

    The song is full of pagan imagery, and NOT Christian/Satanic imagery. Page was a follower of occultist Aleister Crowley, but Crowley was in reality a joker who was making fun of people for believing in such nonsense as Satanism; he was a student of the occult who had realised there was money to be made from exploiting the gullible, nothing more. His extensive studies of religion and symbolism simply made him rather convincing; but his alleged Satanism was just a money-making scam.

    As an aside, logically if you believe in God, you also believe in Satan; therefore belief in Satan implies a belief in God. An interesting paradox, particularly to those of us whose minds have developed beyond childish fairy tales.

    Further, and this is more relevant to the song, the idea that getting into Heaven is a reward for being good, implies that people should be good out of self-interest (i.e. To get into Heaven you must be good, so being good becomes a matter of selfishness rather than being done out of selfless love).

    This theme relates to the idea of buying a stairway to heaven.

    The backmasking discussion is a complete red herring. As a recording engineer, I can tell you that if you play any song backwards, you will often hear what appear to be words. This is an illusion of the perceptual system.

    Secondly on this point, your unconscious has no way of reversing any message in this way and so it would be undetectable - and thus pointless.

    The lady who is sure all that glitters is gold, is the image of a superficial person who is swayed by surface appearances. 'Buying a stairway to heaven' is a metaphor for gullible people being sold false ideas. Clearly you cannot buy a stairway to heaven; anyone selling a stairway to heaven is by definition a charlatan and a fraud. There may well be here a reference to the empty promises of leaders of all stripes, political and religious.

    'When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed, with a word she can get what she came for'
    Assuming of course that heaven has stores, and that these stores have closing times, and that the power of money she enjoys on earth operates the same way in heaven. This is making fun of the narrow mindset of the rich and religious, who believe the whole universe operates the same way as their little town.

    'In the tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings, sometimes all of our thoughts are misgivings.'
    Misgivings are distrustful or doubtful thoughts; the tree, brook and songbird are introducing the imagery of nature.

    'There's a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure, because you know sometimes words have two meanings'. This is the lady carefully reading a contract, anxious to ensure that her stairway to heaven is legally enforceable once she has paid for it. Again making fun of the idea of 'buying' a 'stairway to heaven'.

    The rest of the song deals with the consequences and pitfalls of believing in the stairway to heaven, and basically worrying about the details of the contract for this completely fictitious entity. It is therefore a comment on religion, which essentially does the same thing; makes a totally false promise, and then distracts the believers with nit-picking over the exact terms of this contract for an invented reward that is plainly a scam and a lie.


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    May 29th, 2010 5:36am report

    I dont have an interpretation for this song. I think it's all just beautiful poetry. I wish all these stupid bible thumper christians trying to shove their religious dogmatic beliefs down everyones throats about what they are reading into the song, would leave.

    Christians will always read into something what they want it to mean to them and with them they always got to put their religion into everything, especially with their threats of eternal hell damnation and their obsession with satan. This is another way they make up lies, they dont care if what they are saying is right or not they have one goal in mind and thats trying to convert people into their way of thinking anyway they can.


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    May 19th, 2010 5:12pm report

    I don't know what's wrong with all you people. Has anyone ever just listened and loved the music ....just for the hell of it? IT'S MUSIC!! That's all. No one really cares why it was written. Yes there were drugs,but you know what? Those were the very best songs ever penned,sang,resang,borrowed,etc. So stop complaining and just enjoy. That's what they were created for.


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    Apr 25th, 2010 4:30am report

    Hmm, it seems to slip the minds of many that this song was written by twenty year olds (around), who did drugs. Ironic, right? Also, all the great music from big bands (Rolling Stones, The Beatles [members too], Pink Floyd etc) came earlier in their lives. Maybe children are smarter than adults. Or I'm just delusional.


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    Mar 29th, 2010 3:57pm report

    This song was 30 years ago! is Robert Plant even religious?

    It is about what he says it is about! It is a great song to listen to; high on acid, stoned, drunk, tipsy, or even sober?!

    It is whatever those guys did when they sang it! You guys need to chill and love the art of music...


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    Mar 17th, 2010 3:00am report

    Or you could just let me explain.
    it could be about drugs
    in some parts
    BUT>>>> what it is,
    is the story of a girl
    stuck between two paths.
    and she's choosing the wrong one in the eyes of the writer.
    i believe this song is about a girl that he couldn't have
    because she loved someone else
    she liked him, she even had "relations" with him
    but she chose the other guy
    the one she loved.
    "There's a lady who's sure
    All that glitters is gold
    And she's buying a stairway to heaven"
    she's attracted to the other guy because he's flashy
    he's rich, and attractive
    but the writer believes this is just a front. That he's just the "piper" that he is leading her away.

    Your head is humming and it won't go
    In case you don't know
    The piper's calling you to join him
    He belives that he is the best choice. That only he can love her. She's looking for love "heaven" and she thinks that "The road she's on" will lead her there.
    but he'll wait for her, "there's always time to change the road your on"
    Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow?
    And did you know
    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?
    he may be quieter and less flashy but he can be her heaven, the road he's on is her stairway.
    she's trying to buy a "stairway to heaven" the path of love cannot be bought
    he thinks its obvious that the guy she wants is no good for her its like a sign on the wall
    There's a sign on the wall
    But she wants to be sure
    'Cause you know sometimes words have
    Two meanings
    it makes him wonder how she can want him more, why can't she see/; "Ooh, it makes me wonder "
    he feels that in the end. She may never see him at all. He wants out before he gets hurt
    There's a feeling I get
    When I look to the west
    And my spirit is crying
    For leaving
    he hopes that in the end his persistance will pay off and his life will be good.

    And a new day will dawn
    For those who stand long
    And the forests will
    Echo with laughter

    but he wouldn't love her if she was any different even though it hurts to love such a person
    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
    And if you listen very hard
    The truth will come to you at last
    When all are one and one is all
    To be a rock and not to roll
    i can interpret every other lyric in the song but my fingers are getting tired :/
    basically, we write songs and sometimes we don't know what the meanings are because we needed to get it out, we just didn't know what it was we were bottling up.
    much like dreams. . . . . .


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    Feb 24th, 2010 2:10pm report

    Great song and there should be room for multiple interpretations.

    I would like to say Page, Plant, and the rest of Led Zep were great musicians for years, so any argument about the length of time to write the song, I consider void. After all, Einstein came up with E=mc^2 after a train ride.

    I leave room for more interpretation.

    Basically, the woman is going to church on Sunday, mostly because stores are (were) closed on Sunday. And she is buying her way to heaven on the cheap, by saying she “believes” as opposed to donating a little money (or doing a little good) “because she wants to be sure” that she is getting her monies worth.

    The fact that you can always just say that you “believe” and then get into heaven without doing any good along the journey…”It makes me wonder”.

    “Our shadows” (i.e. what we accomplish, contributed, influenced, efforts to do good…our legacy) “are taller” (more significant) “than our souls” (what is in our hearts at the moment or what we say “I believe”).

    In other words, what we do is more important than what we say. It is what you do that is important.

    “It makes my wonder” why so many say that just by declaring that you “believe”, you can buy your way into heaven.


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    Jan 26th, 2010 1:41pm report

    Well I have done a lot of research on the use of subliminal messaging specializing. In the backmasking of songs, and in STH, in the hedgerow stanza, you should notice how and odd stress is put on the words 'may queen' . That is only one of the reasons I believe it is intentional backmasking. Another is what someone has already stated about the toolshed and the other backmasking in the song. The most important reason iis that do you think that a whole entire paragraph of words that played backwards would say: here's to sweet Satan, the one who's little path would make me sad whos power is Satan. He gives those with him 666, there was a little TOOLSHED (see comment on toolshed) where he made us suufed sad Satan. I mean do you really think that was an accident? Look at what kind of things they did, they do drugs and practiced satanism and voodoo. Also, the whole song hints a backmask: 'because you know sometimes words have two meanings' , ' there are two paths you can go by (god/Satan) but there's still time to change the road your on ( change to satanism)' , 'a new day will dawn for those who stand long' etc the list goes on. It is really your interpretation though.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Dec 18th, 2009 12:59pm report

    Ok,just let me get this out...i think whoever was looking for this is stupid. what kind of a lazy butthead would listen to their songs over and over backwards until he found something. However,there is more messages in this song saying "Leave God and come to Satin" of course bacwards but hey could this just be coincidence?? the members of led zeppelin may worship satin or they may not. Who knows? There are however, some lyrics like "there is still time to change roads your on." which does that mean leave the stairway to heaven and start on the stairway to hell?

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Nov 6th, 2009 11:42pm report

    its about how jimmy page was trippin on acid one day and took a walk through the forest. he was seeing a bunch of different things like giant squirrels and trees made of sea shells and he came across a stairway leading up to clouds. he started panicing because he thought he was dying from an overdose and he thought the stairway to heaven was a sign from God that his time was over. he passed out in the forest and eventually woke up with a new appreciation for life. all hail this song. btw the story is true

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Oct 29th, 2009 10:30am report

    It's about the struggle between the physical/greedy/real world vs. The spiritual world.


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    Sep 26th, 2009 9:55pm report

    The song begins by saying:
    "There’s a lady whose 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."
    This first stanza can mean that even though the world is ugly and dirty (sin, violence, crime) there are still some things that glitter like gold (religion, peace, tolerance). When she speaks a word to get what she came for (in this case the "gold") she is presumably praying, or the act of speaking out for her beliefs. When she "buys a stairway to heaven" she is not actually looking for a cheap way to God, but rather is finding a way to make the world a better place, to shine more like gold. She can do this through religion (God, or any other deity that the listener can interpret), through peace and tolerance, speaking out "with a word", through random acts of kindness, etc.

    "There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
    ’Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
    In a tree by the brook, there is a songbird who sings:
    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven."
    This stanza sums up all of our interpretations by saying that there is no particular one interpretation. rather, there is a meaning behind the song (with "a sign on the wall") but we have to be sure what it says in our interpretations, because "sometimes words have two meanings." We are warned not to over-analyze the song though, because "sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven."

    "Theres 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 standing looking"
    Religiously speaking, Jesus Christ is said to come from the eastern sky when the world ends, so many people would think east is to west as Jesus is to Satan, and so here we see a classic example of a possible religious meaning. However, to many early Americans, Manifest Destiny was the belief that the U.S. was destined to spread to the Pacific Ocean, (which was located in the west). So, when "[we] get a feeling when [we] look to the west/ and [our] spirit[s] [are] crying for leaving" we believe that we must strive to be free. Free from the ugliness of the world, so we can reach the gold. And as the world burns, as seen with "rings of smoke through the trees" we stand and watch what we have done, listening to "the voices of those who stand looking."

    "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
    And the forests will echo with laughter"
    "the piper" who "will lead us to reason" can be God, any other spiritual deity, or even any idea that would lead us to make the choice each day to lead a healthy, beneficial life for the good of the world, to make it "shine like gold". "...for those who stand long", the song says, "a new day will dawn" which means that those who perservere in the world and "stand long" will see a new day dawn. One that is bright and joyous, like gold. When "the forests... echo with laughter" we will finally be at peace with the world. Religiously speaking, we will be praising and worshiping in Heaven.

    "If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow,
    Don’t be alarmed now,
    Its just a spring clean for the May queen.
    Yes, there are two paths you can go by but in the long run
    Theres still time to change the road you’re on."
    "the May Queen" can again be any spiritual force, being, or idea that acts upon us and the world. So "if there's a bustle in you hedgerow (your hedgerow being your life) don't be alarmed now" because that spiritual force is acting in your life to clean it up, making you a new person, so you can make the world a better place. But although the may queen has acted in your life, you still have a choice: "yes there are two paths you can go by". But if you're not on the right path, "There's still time to change the road you're on."

    "Your head is humming and it won’t go,
    In case you don’t know:
    The pipers calling you to join him."
    Even though you may be in total chaos right now, like "your head is humming", just listen to your heart (the Piper) because "the piper's calling you to join him". Follow your heart and you will find peace, love, and joy.

    "Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow,
    And did you know:
    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind."
    Once again, your heart is calling you, but can you hear it? "Can you hear the wind blow"? Listen to hear it, because "your stairway (answer) lies on the whispering wind (your heart)".

    "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.
    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."
    As we go on with our lives, "wind[ing] on down the road" we realize that we have sinned, so "our shadows [are] taller than our souls." However, we must look to see the "lady we all know" because she is the example. She "shines white light and wants to show [us] how everything [can] still turn to gold." However, "if you listen very hard, the tune (answer to finding peace, love, and joy in this world) will come to you at last." It is only then that you will realize what it means "to be a rock and not to roll" or, someone who stands by and does nothing to make the world a better place.

    "And she’s buying a stairway… to heaven."
    The song is summed up in this last line at the end of the song when it is said "she's buying (or finding) a stairway (or a way, path, or answer) to heaven (or a better world filled with peace, love, and pure joy for everyone)".

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