RC Monsignor on "Stairway to Heaven"

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josh p's picture

My favorite band before I was a believer. I think a lot of rock musicians have a tendency to try minimize the craziness of some of their song lyrics from that period. I don’t know if Plant knew what he was singing about or if it was random but it has sure sparked a lot of speculation through the years. Christians have also erred in the past by demonizing rock and trying to impute more evil to the lyrics than is really there. When someone tells you that something you already think is evil is even more evil it’s a pretty easy sell. I think I’ll go play “The Old Wooden Cross” backwards and see what I can find.

GEaston's picture

That dates me a bit...and, yes, it was public school...

I'm still trying to figure out where people bought all of those backwards-playing turntables...sure, you could put in cue mode (if available) and rotate it by hand, but there was no way to keep a constant speed. Of course, back then, you could opt for reel-to-reel.

I never thought of Led Zeppelin as particularly "evil" — other than "Stairway" (which, apparently. they ripped off the opening guitar solo) I just thought of them as musically bad. Noise to kill plants with.

"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

josh p's picture

GEaston wrote:

That dates me a bit...and, yes, it was public school...

I'm still trying to figure out where people bought all of those backwards-playing turntables...sure, you could put in cue mode (if available) and rotate it by hand, but there was no way to keep a constant speed. Of course, back then, you could opt for reel-to-reel.

I never thought of Led Zeppelin as particularly "evil" — other than "Stairway" (which, apparently. they ripped off the opening guitar solo) I just thought of them as musically bad. Noise to kill plants with.

Zepplin bad musically? I’m glad the Lord has a place for people with terrible musical taste in His family but...wow :). 

GEaston's picture

Life is strange. Here I am on Sharper Iron and I'm being quoted for saying that, in my opinion, Led Zeppelin, with the exception of "Stairway," is just noise to kill plants. (Little Garlock humor there.) Personally, I have never found an occasion where this band and their music sounded pleasant to my ears.

That's just me.

And don't get me started on Bruce Springsteen...

"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

Bert Perry's picture

Josh, given that GEaston has subtly referenced the work of Frank Garlock, and it's clear from GEaston's other writing that he strongly rejects Garlock's ideas, I think that's a subtle joke that works whether or not he likes Led Zeppelin.

(I enjoy Led Zeppelin for the most part and loved the joke, too.... but no skin off my nose if GEaston doesn't like Robert Plant's singing and such)

Regarding the article, it strikes me that it's somewhat odd to have a Catholic priest trying to denounce a song whose author admits it was deliberately vague.  It's even more odd when he really one can infer that one "moderately firm" conclusion of the song IS indeed that one cannot buy it.

And somehow this seems appropriate....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I suspect Led Zeppelin's members were on drugs when they wrote many of their songs. Take this excerpt from "Kashmir." Yet, I hesitate to be dogmatic on this, because the lyrics are surely poetic! Very strange ...

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face
With stars to fill my dream
I am a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been

Sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
Talk of days for which they sit and wait
And all will be revealed

Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace
Sounds caress my ear
But not a word I heard could I relate
The story was quite clear

Oh, baby, I been flying
No, yeah, mama, there ain't no denyin'
Ooh, yeah I've been flying
Mama, mama, ain't no denyin', no denyin'

All I see turns to brown
As the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand
As I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find where I've been.

Pilot of the storm who leaves no trace
Like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place
Yellow desert stream

My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon
I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June
When movin' through Kashmir.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

I was just kidding. I don’t really listen to Zepplin anymore. Tyler, I am quite certain that they were on copious amounts of drugs.

TylerR's picture

Editor

As a whole, the lyrics give the impression of a drugged hallucination. As a piece of writing, however, the lyrics are sophisticated. Who on earth would write a line that read:

Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace
Sounds caress my ear
But not a word I heard could I relate
The story was quite clear

Lilting grace!? There is talent here, no matter what you think about the piece as a finished whole. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to ramble on ... got no time for spreadin' roots, the time has come to be gone. And though our health we drank a thousand times, it's time to ramble on ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?