Ask any rock fan who first recorded "Stairway To Heaven," and the chances are the reply will be Led Zeppelin. Not even close! Although a piece of music with this title was published in the 1940s, the first song called "Stairway To Heaven" appears to have been penned by none other than Neil Sedaka. In his 1983 autobiography Laughter in the Rain
, Sedaka related how he came to write it. When he and lyricist Howard Greefield sat down to write a follow up to "Oh! Carol
" - a truly massive hit - "panic and fear gripped me."
Finally, he came up with a melody that incorporated a two-voice section where he would sing two different lines, and: 'Howie married the lyrics to the song with ease. We called it "Stairway to Heaven."'
Sedaka said the song was easy to record. The studios in those days had only three tracks; voice and piano were almost always in the middle track.
Although not as big a hit as "Oh! Carol," it reached the Top 10 in both America and Europe. Something the Led Zeppelin song never did.