"Stairway to Heaven" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for the band's untitled fourth studio album (often called Led Zeppelin IV). It is often referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume. The song begins in a slow tempo with acoustic instruments (guitar and recorders) before introducing electric instruments. The final section is an uptempo hard rock arrangement highlighted by Page's intricate guitar solo accompanying Plant's vocals that end with the plaintive a cappella line: "And she's buying a stairway to heaven".
"Stairway to Heaven" was voted #3 in 2000 by VH1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Rock Songs, and was placed at number 31 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been officially released as a single there.
We actually only rehearsed it ONCE in full before we played it live.
In our version, James covered the entire guitar part on one guitar (great job, considering Jimmy Page usually covered it with the double-necked Gibson pictured above), Mark did a great John Paul Jones part on bass, Denis was channeling his inner Robert Plant, David took the Bonzo parts, I covered recorder(flute) and strings.
The actual recorder/flute part in the original was John Paul Jones experimenting with a bass recorder and multitracked it to what you hear in the final version. Jimmy Page performed it, as mentioned before, with the double-necked Gibson for the simple reason that he wouldn't have to switch guitars from between the slow intro part and the hard rocking end.
Covers of this tunes were done by (besides us of course), Dolly Parton, Frank Zappa, Heart (done at the Kennedy Center Honors with Led Zeppelin in attendance), Leningrad Cowboys, Those Darn Accordions, and (GASP!) Pat Boone, and many more of course.
Leningrad Cowboys with the Red Army Orchestra (just to keep things strange):