Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin: Interpretation by a New Generation.

 Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin:  Interpretation by a New Generation.

 Namaste! (Hindu Greetings: It means “I bow to God within you.”)

 

Recently, my friend introduced me to a very famous song, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. While listening to the song and reading the lyrics, I was fascinated by the song.

 So I searched on the internet and looked for the meaning of the lyrics and found different interpretations of this song available on different sites. I was not convinced as the song did sound different to me than the interpretations I had found.

 I am very young (ten) so I have no right to change the meaning of this classic song.  But I firmly believe the true meaning of this song is one in which the poet believed while writing it.

Below is my interpretation of the lyrics. It should be noted that proof reading and editing of the sentences were made by my father and friend. But the content is my interpretation.

            “There’s a lady who’s sure, all that glitters is gold,
               and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

She feels that heaven glitters and hell is dark. Every person on this earth wishes to reach heaven. So this Lady in the song would do every thing which can earn her a place in heaven.

Referring the story by William Shakespeare where the phrase originated, “All that glitters is not gold” in “The Merchant of Venice.”  This is the message Portia’s father wanted to give to everyone who opened the golden casket.  Meaning that the people were  lured by the richness of the gold and had forgotten the initial reason to search the caskets, for Portia’s hand. One should not forget his aim in life.

Believing Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’s creativity, I strongly believe that they cleverly used this famous phrase to their benefit.

             ”When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all                                                            closed,
                 With a word she can get what she came for.”

She knows when she reaches her destination (Heaven), even if all the stores are all closed, she still will get what she came for because of her good deeds on earth.

              “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.”

 

Here the poet wants to tell his listeners that everything has two meanings. Ironically, I believe this song, “Stairway to Heaven” has two meanings.

            “In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings,
              sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.”

Again, the poet wants to emphasize about the general apprehensions in people’s mind about one’s thought about “how to attain the path to heaven?”

People refrain from charity or good toward others as they feel that it will not be counted.

              “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.”

 

Here the poet uses “west” as a metaphor for sunset or towards the end of his life.  He thinks about his future and thinks about his last days when his soul would be crying to leave his body.  Then the only thing that will help him to achieve heaven would be his past investments in good.

            “In my thoughts I have seen, rings of smoke through the                                                            trees,
              and the voices of those who stand looking.” 

Again the poet wants to affirm that what he thinks is correct and even his inner voice and spirits around him are showing him positive signs. The ring of smoke represents a “halo” usually seen around holy spirits like Buddha.

               ”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.”

Here “piper” from the story “Pied Piper” or “Paid Piper” gave the reason of killing the children when was not paid for his services.

Yes, to understand the tune of “Piper” that sooner or later we shall all die so start investing in good immediately.

            “And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
               and the forests will echo with laughter.”

It will be a new day for the people who can understand the above said and all around them it will be happy and positive.

 

            “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed                                                       now,
             it’s just a spring clean for the May Queen.”

 

Here the poet is pointing towards something that is happening for good.

He uses cleaning the hedges to celebrate spring and a little girl with flowers crowned as the Queen of May.

            “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.”

 

Here the poet is telling about the options that persist in one’s life.

Now this line clearly indicates the poets understanding of the song and he clearly asks his listener to choose the right path, 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.”

Here the poet wants you to decide as soon as possible . The “piper” is about to reach to you and one’s end is finally approaching.

            “Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know,
              your stairway lies on the whispering wind.”

(It’s a satire.) Here the poet tries to tell the listeners, “Hey Lady, your thinking or wish is lying on the whispering wind” ***laugh***

            “And as we wind on down the road,
              our shadows taller than our soul.”

Here the poet tries to tell the listeners that we must invest in good during his lifetime. He is pointing towards human ego or impression about himself which is bigger than the reality. Where he also thinks he is above everyone owing to his strength.

            “There walks a lady we all know,
              who shines white light and wants to show,
              how everything still turns to gold.”

Here the poet is telling the listener to follow the white light (good path) showing the promise of heaven.

               ”And if you listen very hard,
               the tune will come to you at last.”

Here the poet is saying: If you listen carefully and if you pay attention, then you’ll understand.

            “When all is one and one is all,
              to be a rock and not to roll.”

Here the poet is saying: If you make this understanding as a part of your life, then you will be as solid as a rock, you will not need to go rolling (searching) for answers.

***A little play off of Rock-n-Roll***

            “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

Peace for all,
Nandini Goel

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