Saturday, August 14, 2010


An overplayed staple of classic rock radio, loved and loathed in equal measure for its overwrought theatrics and pseudo-Tolkien lyrics, "A Stairway to Heaven" is now impossible to hear objectively without conjuring up the drug-addled excesses of the 1970s, the TV-tossing antics of royally rich rockstars, the queasy stream-of-consciousness juvenelia-filled notebooks of adolescence, the metal spandex ratted-hair spawn the song inspired, and the loyal legions of hollow-eyed fans higher than paper kites weeping laughing flashing weirdly playing air guitar and pondering the inscrutable lyrics as the drugs kick in.

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

does that mean? Nobody really knows. Bearing that in mind, and anticipating some initial resistance, let's revisit this swaybacked warhorse once again and try to ride it to greener pastures with the help of an unlikely rocker, Dolly Parton. Dolly is cool, and she does a cool version of the song (along with every cover band in every bar in America). Listen, children, as if for the first time, to this classic performed by a simple country gal from Sevierville, Tennessee, and then by the big bad band that made it famous in the first place. Dedicated to Wendy, with love.

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