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May 5, 2006 9:02 AM   Subscribe

37 versions of Stairway To Heaven, including Rolf Harris [mp3], Dolly Parton [mp3], and SCTV's Dave Thomas [mp3] doing a K-Tel ad for, uh, 30 versions of Stairway To Heaven. (See also 32 versions of Ghost Riders In The Sky.)
posted by Armitage Shanks (32 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
That Dick Dale version of Ghost Riders is goddamn incredible. Awesome.
posted by boo_radley at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2006


The Pat Boone version's pretty good.
posted by interrobang at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2006


(Of Stairway to Heaven, that is.)
posted by interrobang at 9:15 AM on May 5, 2006


OMG, you have to get the version by Leningrad Cowboys and the honest-to-God Red Army Chorus. Starts off delicate and faithful, then the mandolin and brass come in, then the chorus: "Makes me vonder, makes me vonder ..."
posted by rosemere at 9:17 AM on May 5, 2006


(And if you can ever find the Cowboy's version of "Happy Together", it's more deep-voiced Slavic goodness, even though the band themselves are Finnish.)
posted by rosemere at 9:21 AM on May 5, 2006


Awesome. I love WFMU. And the Hard-Ons' "version" had me laughing like a loon.
posted by Decani at 9:27 AM on May 5, 2006


I've had parts of the original Stairways to Heaven compilation for a long time, and I've been looking for exactly this for ages.

Thank You

Can't help but love the Rolf Harris version. The way I heard it, he had never actually heard the original tune. He was simply handed the sheet music and made a his rather unique version. This may or may not be true, I can't imagine how anyone could escape ever hearing Stairway to Heaven.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 9:28 AM on May 5, 2006


Yaaaaay! Can't wait to check all these out.

BTW, Robert Plant on Fresh Air a while back totally reaffirmed my belief that Rock Stars can still be Good Folks by, when asked about bad covers and wierd versions of "Stairway", launching excitedly into a catalog of bizzaro ones he knew about and how much he loved them. That, and his statement that the 60s got a bit "you know, Harum-Scarum".
posted by freebird at 9:32 AM on May 5, 2006


This may or may not be true, I can't imagine how anyone could escape ever hearing Stairway to Heaven.

I managed never to hear the whole thing until about a year ago. I'd only heard the very last 30 seconds or so on the radio until then. It's possible.
posted by interrobang at 9:37 AM on May 5, 2006




I thought Dolly Parton's version was great until the she reached the "..whispering wind" line when she just started making shit up and singing the line 'stairway to heaven' at least seventeen times.
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:02 AM on May 5, 2006


This is by far the most impressive Stairway to Heaven cover I've ever heard.
posted by mosessmith at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2006


So what is the most famous version Ghost Riders In The Sky?
posted by smackfu at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2006


The surf guitar versions of Ghost Riders In the Sky are awesome. Thanks!
posted by Gamblor at 10:33 AM on May 5, 2006


This is by far the most impressive Stairway to Heaven cover I've ever heard.

"For this video, the artist practiced 3 months in a row to learn to sing Led Zeppelin's most famous song--entirely backwards." Umm, that wasn't backwards. (I watched both clips.)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2006


He DID sing it backwards, then the film was reversed. Note that the people behind him are walking backwards.
posted by rosemere at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2006


The best "Ghost Riders" is Mary McCaslin's, of the ten or so I have heard, and she is not on the list. There must be a hundred of them.
posted by bukvich at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2006


My brother came home from a two-year stint in Austrailia with a Rolf Harris disc, and the Stairway to Heaven bit was always one of my favorites. Unrepentantly silly. :)
posted by weston at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2006


Nice find. I've been putting the Dread Zepplin version on mix tapes for years now.
posted by furtive at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2006


I love how Ms. Parton sings "wanna be a rock and not a roll" instead of "to be a rock and not to roll".
posted by ikalliom at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2006


"Makes me vonder, makes me vonder ..."

This reminds me that if I won the lottery I would spend all the money financing a movie just so I could include a scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger goes into a karaoke bar and does a version of "All Tomorrow's Paaaa-ties" by the VU. In fact, that would be the whole movie.
posted by snofoam at 11:34 AM on May 5, 2006


I have two more versions of "Stairway to Heaven." The first is a predictable cover by Me First & the Gimme Gimmes. The second is a Gregorian chant version -- yeah, really. Yeah, I know.

To demonstrate my coolness even more, allow me to say that I think Tom Chapin also did a cover of "Ghost Riders."
posted by booksandlibretti at 12:06 PM on May 5, 2006


Like Freebird, I heard Plant's interview and he does have a sense of fair play about all the covers. Of course he should considering how much cash the rights to the song must bring in every year.

On another note, I saw Zep in '77. They ended the show with "Stairway". There's a reason that anthem endured. The earth DID move.
posted by Ber at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2006


Hey, don't forget Neil Sedaka and the O'Jays... but then, theirs were two different songs with the same title, and if you're gonna be casual about it, you should include Sarah Vaughan's corny-but-still-cool recording of "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradice (With a New Step Every Day)", the title of which obviously inspired the first line of Zep's song.
posted by wendell at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2006


Jimmy Page commented on Tiny Tim's version, saying, "Thank God, someone has finally killed that song."

(note: it might have been Robert Plant)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:04 PM on May 5, 2006


My favorite is the one by the Mothers of Invention; hearing Page's solo played note-for-note by the horn section is funny as hell.
posted by Ickster at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2006


Jimmy Page commented on Tiny Tim's version, saying, "Thank God, someone has finally killed that song."

(note: it might have been Robert Plant)


I don'w know how anyone could confuse Robert Plant and Tiny Tim...
posted by arto at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2006


(or for that matter confuse W and T)
posted by arto at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2006


I'm sorry, but some songs just should NOT be messed with. Dolly Parton's version is just WRONG and she totally screwed up the end of the song.
posted by AmyMay at 9:10 PM on May 5, 2006


They missed Gian-Piero Reverberi. I have his version from 1977 on vinyl somewhere.
posted by mmoncur at 8:17 PM on May 7, 2006


It's now 60 versions.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:22 AM on May 8, 2006


I'd post the version I did with my old band, if we'd ever recorded it. We did it as a reel. We felt it important to bring out the full inherent nonny of the song.

By the way, if anyone wants to form an ironic post-folk band called "The Full Inherent Nonny", please email me. Or not.
posted by Decani at 4:48 PM on May 10, 2006


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