Some time ago Jimmy Page was invited to the Oxford University, for a brief seminar with students, inside the series of debates and Q&A that the university has been organizing for years. The video of Jimmy Page’s speech was published on the University’s Youtube channel: almost an hour long, with Led Zeppelin’s guitarist talking about his career, the way he came into contact with the musical trends from America in the 60s and how he’s proud to have succeeded in transforming a personal passion into a project like Led Zeppelin.
The complete video of the Q&A is above. After the initial speech, there was a long session of questions made by the students. The topics were many: the songwriting process, the balance between writing and improvisation, the break up of the band after the death of John Bonham, the memories related to the history of Led Zeppelin… it’s an interesting way, especially for a Zeppelin fan, to enter “behind the scenes” of one of the most glorious rock bands ever.
One of the most peculiar moments is at the minute 35:45. A girl dares to ask him one of the popular questions about the music of Led Zeppelin: is it true that if you listen to Stairway to Heaven backwards, you hear a satanic message? The immediate reaction was a laugh, of course. But Jimmy gave an interesting answer, something you can mention next time this topic pops out:
Yeah. Well, you know, I’m going to go straight back to The Beatles here because there was a time when somebody wrote a thesis about Paul McCartney being dead and ‘Paul is dead’ and if you played back the records, I’m being serious here — it’s crazy, but if you played back the records there was something which said ‘Paul is dead.’ And so then they started to play back all manner of records and of course we were going to be main candidates for it. Somebody said ‘oh it says my sweet Satan in it’ and I thought ‘oh gosh, it’s hard enough writing the music one way round rather than backwards.’
The question ended up in a general laugh, as predictable. In the past, Robert Plant had already refused any connection with that theory, showing actually his disappointment in seeing that a song so deep and meaningful has been misinterpreted in such way.
The true meaning of Stairway to Heaven‘s lyrics is actually about personal growth of the individual and how to find the true happiness, through our own spirituality. Here is the complete analysis of one of the most popular songs in the history of rock. For who want to discover the original intentions of the band, out of any urban legend.