This is the first image for the artwork Stairway to Heaven, composed of three canvases 56 inches in length by 24 inches. Over the years I have considered, but never felt convinced, to paint this great rock classic song, or any other music by Led Zeppelin. I now realize that this avoidance reaches back to the day that my musical connection became personnel.
I was a sophomore in high school and on Sunday, February 9th 1964, the Beatles, made their first black and white television American appearance, on the Ed Sullivan show. It was the influence of The Fab 4 that formed my early musical tastes. That meant that I ignored the music of Led Zeppelin which I considered to rough, to loud and to hard to listen to. Instead I favored The Byrds, Crosby Still, Nash & Young, The Mamas and the Papas, The Beach Boys, Ray Charles, The Four Seasons, and Simon and Garfunkel, more so than The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Zombies, The Kinks, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendricks, or Janis Joplin. I do remember a moment when the influence of the Beatles was less when I made the rare album purchased of the 1970 record, Live at Leeds, by the Who. To this day, though, I have no interest to listen to Heavy Metal music, or even classic Punk music.
After 46 years since its release I am now painting the music of Led Zeppelin one of the earliest hard rock bands. Stairway to Heaven is a needed step forward in the broadening of my musical appreciation.
Here is the YouTube video where I found the color plan for this painting. Do not waste your time watching this entire video. For all the positive reasons for liking a live music version I am afraid this example of Stairway to Heaven is awful. Throughout this video I sense that Robert Plant is not into the music. This is especially noticeable in the dramatic last section of the song, after the guitar solo, where Plant’s voice seems weak and disconnected from the music.
Here is the better studio version of Stairway to Heaven:
Scott Von Holzen