Stairway To Heaven

Album: His Greatest Hits (1960)
Charted: 8 9

Songfacts®:

  • 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.
  • Sedaka's "Stairway To Heaven" was recorded with Stan Applebaum and his Orchestra, on the RCA Victor label. It was his sixth single, and in the UK was released in March 1960 backed by "Forty Winks Away."

    For some reason, the song's title was also given in Italian: "Scala Al Paradiso," which one translation website gives as "It climbs to the Paradise." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • Nobody ever played this song backwards trying to discern the hidden meaning in the lyrics. Sedaka wants to build a stairway to heaven because that's where the angels live, and this girl is surely among them.
  • Neil Sedaka broke into the music business almost literally; Rich Podolsky's book Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear gives the story of how Sedaka and Howard Greenfield made their way to Atlantic Records' office in the Brill Building and pounded on the door until somebody answered. Asking if the Clovers were recording that day, they announced that they'd written a song for them and gained entry. There, they met legendary record producer Jerry Wexler, who at least listened to the kids' songs and expressed admiration for their talent, though noting that it was still raw. Atlantic ended up buying some of the boys' songs for production.

    And for a second connection: Neil Sedaka had gone to high school with Mort Shuman, another Brill Building legend who would later write "Save the Last Dance for Me."

Comments: 5

  • Charlee from Los Angels California My all time favourite song! An instant classic.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 21st 1960, Neil Sedaka performed "Stairway to Heaven" on the ABC-TV program 'Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show'...
    At the time the song was at #13 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; the week before it was at #9, and that would be its peak position on the chart, it stayed at #9 for one week...
    Between 1959 and 1980 he had thirty Top 100 records, nine made the Top 10 with three peaking at #1, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" for 2 weeks in 1962, "Laughter in the Rain" for 1 week in 1975, and "Bad Blood" for 3 weeks in 1975...
    Neil Sedaka celebrated his 76th birthday three months ago on March 13th {2015}.
  • Michael from Bradford, EnglandScala has quite a few meanings and in this case it is a noun: Staircase, Stairs, Ladder - so the translation does indeed mean "Stairway to Heaven"
    The verb "scalare" as well as meaning to climb (ascend)- as in English "to scale", can be "to scale down", "to shade" (colours)
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaHey Brian, pay attentioN! It's a different song with the same name.
  • Brian from Boston, MaI had no idea he wrote this.this song rocks.This is one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar.I just assumed Jimmy page wrote this.
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