Led Zeppelin hit ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is one of the definitive rock songs of all time, one that sees all four members of the band putting on an absolute masterclass performance that creates something that feels more than just a song.
Robert Plant is undoubtedly one of the all-time great rock vocalists but, on this track, his incredible voice is somewhat overshadowed by Jimmy Page’s sublime guitar licks which are the definition of show-stealing. However, this isolated version that only features Plant’s vocals proves exactly why he is respected so highly as well as that we sometimes take his immense talents for granted.
It’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with ‘Stairway’, after all, its eight minutes of pure songwriting brilliance. Lyrically abstract and musically complete the fact we have Plant’s tender vocals is the cherry on top and that cherry isolated is a thing of beauty.
Plant had millions fall weak at the knees for his gravel toned screech of the band’s early efforts. However, on ‘Stairway’, he returns to a vulnerable and tender sound that showed the world he was capable of far more than he offered in Led Zeppelin—it truly his one of his finest ever performances.
Last year, however, Plant spoke about how ‘Stairway’ is a track that he can no longer relate to but did admit he can admire it still, even if only from afar. While sitting down with UCR as part of their ‘Nights’ radio show, Plant said: “The construction of the song, the actual musical construction, is very good. It’s one of those moments that really can stand without a vocal and, in fact, it will stand again without a vocal, I’m sure, because it’s a fine piece of music.
“Lyrically, now, I can’t relate to it, because it was so long ago. I would have no intention ever to write along those abstract lines any more.”
He added: “I look at it and I tip my hat to it and I think there are parts of it that are incredible. The way Jimmy Page took the music through, and the way that the drums almost climaxed and then continued —it’s a very beautiful piece. But lyrically, now, and even vocally, I go, ‘I’m not sure about that.’”
Even if Plant no longer feels the same way about the track as he did in 1971, it doesn’t take anything away from his stellar vocal performance and his staggering vocal performance is nothing short of magnificent, especially isolated.
Check it out, below.