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scythe

What do the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven represent?

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scythe   

I'm just another "fucker" (haha) trying to figure it out. What do these words mean to you?

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 heaven.

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's a songbird who sings,

Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,

Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's 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 stand looking.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,

Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

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.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,

It's just a spring clean for the May queen.

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run

There's still time to change the road you're on.

And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,

The piper's calling you to join him,

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know

Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

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 is one and one is all

To be a rock and not to roll.

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

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reswati   

Since my smartass comment may not be what you really wanted to know, namely what the lyrics might mean, hereby a short and cool analysis posted here a week ago by the member who calls himself "Saggitarius Rising"

"If you really want to break STH down lyrically it means pretty much the following: When you are inexperienced in life material things are what is important. The world will try to deceive you with materialism, however if you ignore the bullshit around you and focus on the experience of life, accumulating wisdom, and loving your fellow human, you will find the right road to true salvation and liberation, that being freedom from material want."

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JTM   

Well they fit with the tune/melody, but they're meaningless nonsense really...That's OK though people like them, that's all that matters.

Edited by JTM

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ED68   

In the book "When Giants Walked the Earth" it discusses some of the meaning to the lyrics. It suggests some "occult" meanings in there (which I'm sure there are) but overall, I like reswati's explanation.

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Read the lyrics as you would a poem: the meaning of the words, phrases and images created by the author are meant to be interpreted by the reader...in this case listener. There are no right or wrong ways of interpreting what Robert is saying in the song. It is what you make of it.

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fishhead   

The author said it was a "song of hope" so I guess I'll take his word for it......

For me when I hear STH, I think I get different imagery everytime, but I always look forward to the line, "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, There's still time to change the road you're on..".....

And my all time favorite line of the entire lyric is "To be a rock and not to roll".....killer line!

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Reggie29   

what's a piper?

Just in case you're not taking the piss, a piper is one who plays Bagpipes.

BTT

Almost meandering lyrics that can be and are, interpreted differently by listeners everywhere with good phrasing, vivid imagery written in prose and set to almost symphonic music.

For me it tells a story of hope in that we all make our choices good and bad and that we each have a chance to redeem ourselves.

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scythe   

Since my smartass comment may not be what you really wanted to know, namely what the lyrics might mean, hereby a short and cool analysis posted here a week ago by the member who calls himself "Saggitarius Rising"

"If you really want to break STH down lyrically it means pretty much the following: When you are inexperienced in life material things are what is important. The world will try to deceive you with materialism, however if you ignore the bullshit around you and focus on the experience of life, accumulating wisdom, and loving your fellow human, you will find the right road to true salvation and liberation, that being freedom from material want."

I suppose that's as good analysis as any. It sort of has the story of the straight and narrow. There's a lot of talk of 'doubt' in this song.

With a word she can get what she came for

What's the word?

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Yep. The trolling should start pretty soon.

And then somebody gets banned

Last time it was ZepGuy, or something. It was actually pretty funny, he ended up ranting about Paul McCartney for some reason...

Edited by SEBASTIAN_V3TTEL

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And then somebody gets banned

Last time it was ZepGuy, or something. It was actually pretty funny, he ended up ranting about Paul McCartney for some reason...

:coffee:

Oh yeah, he thought Paul was replaced by "imposter Paul"! :blink:

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:coffee:

Oh yeah, he thought Paul was replaced by "imposter Paul"! :blink:

Here's the quote:

"Hey, McCartney dying at 27 is a very valid, AND interesting theory...and if you think about it...

He would have been a member of the 27 Club. Mindfuck. :redcard:"

:slapface: It's insane how people believe these urban legends and hoaxes.

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Dee Dee   

I suppose that's as good analysis as any. It sort of has the story of the straight and narrow. There's a lot of talk of 'doubt' in this song.

With a word she can get what she came for

What's the word?

"If you really want to break STH down lyrically it means pretty much the following: When you are inexperienced in life material things are what is important. The world will try to deceive you with materialism, however if you ignore the bullshit around you and focus on the experience of life, accumulating wisdom, and loving your fellow human, you will find the right road to true salvation and liberation, that being freedom from material want."

My Thoughts:

To begin with, it is my understanding Robert Plant has been asked this question (what do the lyrics of Stairway mean), and his reply was that the song can be interpreted any way you want. By giving this statement, he actually avoids answering the question. He doesn't exactly say that there isn't a meaning behind the lyrics, and the fact of the matter is the lyrics may have a meaning to him that he alone knows. If so, he may very well want to keep that to himself and may have his own personal reasons for doing so. And if he doesn't want to reveal his interpretation to the public, he doesn't have to. So when asked what do they mean, he can simply say, "You can interpret it any way you want." This is not an uncommon answer among writers.

Having said that, I want to make one thing clear. I have been a fan of Robert Plant for years. Most of my friends were Led Zeppelin fans as well, and when we'd get together and talk about the band, its members, and its music, most of us were in agreement that at least in our opinion, Robert Plant wasn't a great lyricist but we didn't care. We liked him anyway. Still I'd sooner be asked to interpret "Gallows Pole" than "Stairway" because "Gallows Pole" is much more obvious. But "Stairway" has its own brilliance, which leads me to my next point.

It had been said that Robert Plant used his voice like a musical instrument. Good examples of this can be found in film, "The Song Remains the Same". Page would play a few notes and Robert would repeat the notes and they would alternate back and forth like that. When they did that, Plant didn't necessarily sing any words. He's just singing. He is using his voice like a musical instrument. Anyone who can sing can do that. You can sing, "fa la la", words which have no meaning behind them but you are still singing. And if you sing fa la la with someone accompanying you on a guitar or a flute or a piano or whatever, your using your voice like a musical instrument as much as they are who accompany you with their guitar or whatever. So what is the point I am making? Well, the point is if a person can use their voice as a musical instrument when singing, "fa la la", then why isn't the voice still a musical instrument when singing actual words. You kind of have to look outside the box as the saying goes. But if you get when I am saying, that you can use your voice as a musical instrument when singing, "fa la la", it really doesn't matter what words you sing or whether or not the words make any sense. Once you understand this concept, you can go back to my first point which was that Plant supposedly said that you can interpret Stairway to Heaven any way you want. Having said this, I come to my final point.

My final point is --well, let me tell it to you this way. Music has a very powerful affect on the human mind. I learned this when studying consumer economics, where I learned how music is used a lot in advertising. And the reason for this is that advertising firms had learned to use music in their advertising after learning the results of hundreds of psychological studies performed which showed how the human mind reacts to music. Music has a way of capturing the attention of the human mind and holding the attention of the listener. Have you ever tried to read a book while listening to music? Takes a considerable amount of concentration. I know of a drama teacher who used to have his students take the stage one by one and sit on a chair and try to read a paragraph while loud music was playing, and then he would ask the student to tell what the paragraph was about, and of course, a lot of the students would be stumped because they said they found it hard to concentrate on reading with the music playing. Are you with me so far? On the same point, I once heard over the radio an interview with George Harrison and he started talking about how music is very powerful in that it hits your mind a certain way and that many prayers (and you know George Harrison was into transcendential meditation for a while), but he said that many prayers like the way the Buddhists pray are similar to music. And he'd go, "Oooom", you know like how the Buddhists pray or how the monks chant. Anyway George Harrison went on to say that certain prayers are like music and have an affect on the human mind so as to capture the listener's attention and hold onto it. Think of when someone wants to hypnotize you and they swing an object back and forth like a pendulum and speak to you in a soft monotone voice, "You are getting sleepy . . . very sleepy . . . " so as to put you in a trance like state. This is like what music does. You hear it and it diverts your attention, and then it takes you. Where it takes you depends on the kind of music it is, of course. But it has the power of putting your mind in a different state. In fact, people can recall words they learned in a rhyme better than words they learned that were not in a rhyme. People can remember lessons learned in songs better than lessons learned in plain language. That's how powerful music is. So what does Stairway mean?

In my opinion, I agree with most of what reswati says as far as the anti-materialism aspect that appears to be in the song. However, I also believe that the lyrics allude to the power of music on the human mind. This is just my interpretation. It is not Robert Plant's interpretation as far as I know. From what I know, he says Stairway to Heaven can be interpreted any way you want. How do I interpret it? Well, I say it is vague, but like poetry, lyrics are often vague. I don't look for meaning in my life in songs or poetry, not songs and poetry alone anyway. I will say I believe I see in "Stairway" hints towards the power of music ". . . The piper is calling you to join him . . . And if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last . . . " the influence of music, words, and feelings over materialism. The song Stairway to Heaven brings to mind the question of the true value of gold (materialism), as well as the question of what is truly heaven? What is heaven? Is heaven made of gold or is heaven just a feeling of happiness? What then is true happiness? It is clear to me that what makes Stairway to Heaven such a powerful ballad is the blend of both voice and melody. Notice I say voice here and not words and recall my point made about using the voice as a musical instrument. What makes music so powerful is that it can bring the listener to happiness, tears, anger, laughter. It brings emotion. Stairway to Heaven is a powerful ballad. So powerful, one would think there would be some profound, prophetic message behind it. The line, "To be a rock and not to roll" seems to be a calling to stand your ground in some way. But for what? Heaven? What is heaven then? Lastly, I believe it is worth mentioning that while gold may be equated with materialism, materialism shouldn't be equated with certain necessities like food and shelter. I also don't believe materialism should be equated with the want of comfort in times of human suffering. It is one thing to interpret a song; it is another to agree or disagree with the message even if I am the only one who interprets it that way. To be fair, no where in "Stairway to Heaven" do the lyrics suggest that greed or materialism should be equated with such needs. If anything, I believe it asks to consider the power of music and feelings over "gold" in the elements of what makes up "heaven" and perhaps to consider making heaven as opposed to just buying it. What say you?

Edited by Dee Dee

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Dee Dee   

Regarding your post:

I'm just another "fucker" (haha) trying to figure it out. What do these words mean to you?

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 heaven.

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's a songbird who sings,

Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,

Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's 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 stand looking.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,

Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

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.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,

It's just a spring clean for the May queen.

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run

There's still time to change the road you're on.

And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,

The piper's calling you to join him,

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know

Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

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 is one and one is all

To be a rock and not to roll.

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

And in response to the following replies:

With a word she can get what she came for

What's the word?

Dee Dee's Reply: I say it doesn't have to be any particular word. Could be having a word with a shopkeeper.

reswati, on 09 December 2012 - 04:15 AM, said:

"If you really want to break STH down lyrically it means pretty much the following: When you are inexperienced in life material things are what is important. The world will try to deceive you with materialism, however if you ignore the bullshit around you and focus on the experience of life, accumulating wisdom, and loving your fellow human, you will find the right road to true salvation and liberation, that being freedom from material want."

Dee Dee's Reply:

My Thoughts:

To begin with, it is my understanding Robert Plant has been asked this question (what do the lyrics of Stairway mean), and his reply was that the song can be interpreted any way you want. By giving this statement, he actually avoids answering the question. He doesn't exactly say that there isn't a meaning behind the lyrics, and the fact of the matter is the lyrics may have a meaning to him that he alone knows. If so, he may very well want to keep that to himself and may have his own personal reasons for doing so. And if he doesn't want to reveal his interpretation to the public, he doesn't have to. So when asked what do they mean, he can simply say, "You can interpret it any way you want." This is not an uncommon answer among writers.

Having said that, I want to make one thing clear. I have been a fan of Robert Plant for years. Most of my friends were Led Zeppelin fans as well, and when we'd get together and talk about the band, its members, and its music, most of us were in agreement that at least in our opinion, Robert Plant wasn't a great lyricist but we didn't care. We liked him anyway. Still I'd sooner be asked to interpret "Gallows Pole" than "Stairway" because "Gallows Pole" is much more obvious. But "Stairway" has its own brilliance, which leads me to my next point.

It had been said that Robert Plant used his voice like a musical instrument. Good examples of this can be found in film, "The Song Remains the Same". Page would play a few notes and Robert would repeat the notes and they would alternate back and forth like that. When they did that, Plant didn't necessarily sing any words. He's just singing. He is using his voice like a musical instrument. Anyone who can sing can do that. You can sing, "fa la la", words which have no meaning behind them but you are still singing. And if you sing fa la la with someone accompanying you on a guitar or a flute or a piano or whatever, your using your voice like a musical instrument as much as they are who accompany you with their guitar or whatever. So what is the point I am making? Well, the point is if a person can use their voice as a musical instrument when singing, "fa la la", then why isn't the voice still a musical instrument when singing actual words. You kind of have to look outside the box as the saying goes. But if you get when I am saying, that you can use your voice as a musical instrument when singing, "fa la la", it really doesn't matter what words you sing or whether or not the words make any sense. Once you understand this concept, you can go back to my first point which was that Plant supposedly said that you can interpret Stairway to Heaven any way you want. Having said this, I come to my final point.

My final point is --well, let me tell it to you this way. Music has a very powerful affect on the human mind. I learned this when studying consumer economics, where I learned how music is used a lot in advertising. And the reason for this is that advertising firms had learned to use music in their advertising after learning the results of hundreds of psychological studies performed which showed how the human mind reacts to music. Music has a way of capturing the attention of the human mind and holding the attention of the listener. Have you ever tried to read a book while listening to music? Takes a considerable amount of concentration. I know of a drama teacher who used to have his students take the stage one by one and sit on a chair and try to read a paragraph while loud music was playing, and then he would ask the student to tell what the paragraph was about, and of course, a lot of the students would be stumped because they said they found it hard to concentrate on reading with the music playing. Are you with me so far? On the same point, I once heard over the radio an interview with George Harrison and he started talking about how music is very powerful in that it hits your mind a certain way and that many prayers (and you know George Harrison was into transcendential meditation for a while), but he said that many prayers like the way the Buddhists pray are similar to music. And he'd go, "Oooom", you know like how the Buddhists pray or how the monks chant. Anyway George Harrison went on to say that certain prayers are like music and have an affect on the human mind so as to capture the listener's attention and hold onto it. Think of when someone wants to hypnotize you and they swing an object back and forth like a pendulum and speak to you in a soft monotone voice, "You are getting sleepy . . . very sleepy . . . " so as to put you in a trance like state. This is like what music does. You hear it and it diverts your attention, and then it takes you. Where it takes you depends on the kind of music it is, of course. But it has the power of putting your mind in a different state. In fact, people can recall words they learned in a rhyme better than words they learned that were not in a rhyme. People can remember lessons learned in songs better than lessons learned in plain language. That's how powerful music is. So what does Stairway mean?

In my opinion, I agree with most of what reswati says as far as the anti-materialism aspect that appears to be in the song. However, I also believe that the lyrics allude to the power of music on the human mind. This is just my interpretation. It is not Robert Plant's interpretation as far as I know. From what I know, he says Stairway to Heaven can be interpreted any way you want. How do I interpret it? Well, I say it is vague, but like poetry, lyrics are often vague. I don't look for meaning in my life in songs or poetry, not songs and poetry alone anyway. I will say I believe I see in "Stairway" hints towards the power of music ". . . The piper is calling you to join him . . . And if you listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last . . . " the influence of music, words, and feelings over materialism. The song Stairway to Heaven brings to mind the question of the true value of gold (materialism), as well as the question of what is truly heaven? What is heaven? Is heaven made of gold or is heaven just a feeling of happiness? What then is true happiness? It is clear to me that what makes Stairway to Heaven such a powerful ballad is the blend of both voice and melody. Notice I say voice here and not words and recall my point made about using the voice as a musical instrument. What makes music so powerful is that it can bring the listener to happiness, tears, anger, laughter. It brings emotion. Stairway to Heaven is a powerful ballad. So powerful, one would think there would be some profound, prophetic message behind it. The line, "To be a rock and not to roll" seems to be a calling to stand your ground in some way. But for what? Heaven? What is heaven then? Lastly, I believe it is worth mentioning that while gold may be equated with materialism, materialism shouldn't be equated with certain necessities like food and shelter. I also don't believe materialism should be equated with the want of comfort in times of human suffering. It is one thing to interpret a song; it is another to agree or disagree with the message even if I am the only one who interprets it that way. To be fair, no where in "Stairway to Heaven" do the lyrics suggest that greed or materialism should be equated with such needs. If anything, I believe it asks to consider the power of music and feelings over "gold" in the elements of what makes up "heaven" and perhaps to consider making heaven as opposed to just buying it.

What say you?

Edited by Dee Dee

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JTM   

It's just a song......just listen and enjoy it. Why do people have to dissect every song to look for a meaning?

It's like you said in another thread Joe, "Each to their own".

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