Respectful Insolence

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As a long time Led Zeppelin fan, I’m not sure whether I’m amused or appalled by this. Yes, it’s 101 cover versions of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, including a reggae version by Dread Zeppelin. (Actually, I kind of like Dread Zeppelin. I even saw them in concert once in Cleveland back in the early 1990’s. Great show. I mean, come on. How can you resist a Led Zeppelin cover band that’s fronted by an Elvis impersonator? I know I can’t.)

In any case, you can find reggae versions, banjo versions, backward versions, straight versions, symphonic versions, and more. I had no idea that Frank Zappa had done a version, as well, complete with horns, nor did I expect to find a version by Dolly Parton (which actually isn’t as bad as you probably think it is, although it’s not exactly good, either). Heck, there’s even a Gilligan’s Island version. The one thing that seems to be missing (at least I haven’t found it yet) is the infamous disco version from the late 1970’s.

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Maybe I’ll do both.

Comments

  1. #1 Tara Mobley
    September 26, 2006

    My question is: Are there as many versions of Stairway for this as versions of Louie Louie KFJC played during “Maximum Louie Louie” back in 1983? I think not!

  2. #2 J-Dog
    September 26, 2006

    In Chicago, every April 1st, WXRT, “Chicago’s Fine Rock Station” used to play the Gilligan’s Island version. A TRUE classic foil for the uber-pretentious Stairway To Heaven.

    IMO – Early Zep Good – Anything after their 2nd album, BAD!

  3. #3 RIAA, the other white meat
    September 26, 2006

    clock’s ticking kids, download quick.

  4. #4 clone3g
    September 26, 2006

    I remember the Gilligan’s Island version, wasn’t the story that they performed that at Budokan for Japanese fans?

    J-Dog said: IMO – Early Zep Good – Anything after their 2nd album, BAD!

    Oh I don’t know. I like many songs on Physical Graffiti and I’m very impressed by their live performances on the recent DVD. Page is sloppy but he could write and play guitar.

  5. #5 Mary
    September 26, 2006

    I swear that you have to check out the Easy Star All-Stars, a loose reggae collective featuring people like Toots and the Maytals, that has released cover CDs of both OK Computer and Dark Side of the Moon. I downloaded both at emusic.com, but have only played the Radiohead covers so far, which are brilliant.

    Radiodread

    Dub Side of the Moon

  6. #6 Ereshkigal
    September 26, 2006

    One hundred one “Freebird” covers can’t be far behind.

  7. #7 CursedOne
    September 26, 2006

    I remember being forced to hear a Musak version of Stairway to Heaven several times a day when I worked in a department store in the late 80s.

  8. #8 Mark
    September 27, 2006

    Camper Van Beethoven never fails to astound with their genius.

  9. #9 Matt McIrvin
    September 27, 2006

    Thanks for linking to that! The SCTV “Stairways to Heaven” sketch isn’t on the recent DVD compilations because it was impossible to negotiate the music rights.

  10. #10 Graculus
    September 27, 2006

    IMO – Early Zep Good – Anything after their 2nd album, BAD!

    Black Dog, Gallows Pole, The Ocean, Trampled Underfoot, When the Levee Breaks …

    Nope, gotta disagree.

    Most of us ended up hating “Stairway” because it was overplayed. It isn’t actually that bad a song.

  11. #11 epador
    September 27, 2006

    Somehow after a LZ concert at MSG in NYC in the early 70’s, I decided no more indoor concerts. Yes, it was a great show, but the second hand smoke took a few days to come down from.

    I forgot all about that until your post for some reason. But now I’ll have nightmares about the missing DISCO version…

  12. #12 EoR
    September 28, 2006

    That Gilligan’s Island version is more proof that the Others in “Lost” are really the castaways…

  13. #13 Meg Thornton
    September 29, 2006

    There was an Australian version done a few years ago as a spinoff from a program called “The Money or The Gun”. The show was somewhere between comedy and chat show, and one of the set-pieces was a performance by various groups. Only one tune was ever performed – “Stairway to Heaven”. However, about twenty different versions of this one tune were collated from the show as “Stairways to Heaven”. These included versions by Rolf Harris (folky-whatever), at least one new-agey version, a version with the Doug Anthony Allstars and Barry Crocker, and a few others. My brother used to have a copy (and probably still does; must ask him). It certainly won prizes for weird.

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