Saturday, June 25, 2016

Original Versus Cover - Stairway to Heaven

Those who know me will understand why I toyed with the idea of doing an Original Versus Cover this week that involved Spirit and Led Zeppelin. The whole idea of suing Zeppelin over a riff that not even Spirit invented seemed silly to me. But it was nice to see Zeppelin getting some press after all of the years that have passed under the bridge. All that is left now is for Led Zeppelin to do an impromptu concert of one song - performing Stairway to Heaven on the back of an 18-wheeler in front of the houses of the remaining members of Spirit. Besides, the original writer of Taurus had no problem with Stairway.

Anyways, this week we will look at the original Stairway to Heaven and compare it to a cover by, you guessed it, Dolly Parton. What? You didn't guess that? Well you should because Dolly actually put out a version of Stairway that anyone can appreciate. I am not sure how I feel about artists that take the time and effort to record a studio cover of Stairway to Heaven, but Dolly does a nice job.

First, we start with Dolly's studio version. She does "country it up" more than a bit, but you have to expect that.

There is no doubt Dolly can sing and it seems appropriate that a performer known for her physical attributes tackles a song adored mostly by males clad in jeans and t-shirts. But this is simply a good version of a great song. The only complaint I have is that Dolly does not put the lament in her voice that, I feel, is required to get this song just right. But this is her interpretation, and I think she does a damn good job.

It doesn't matter what version of Stairway I plan to use - live or studio. The results are awesome no matter where the guys are playing the song. So I decided to go with my favorite version from the Song Remains the Same. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu I give you the legal world's favorite band - Led Zeppelin performing Stairway to Heaven:

Yeah. I love Dolly, but this one isn't even close.

Verdict (by majority ruling): Zep

George N Root III is a music fanatic and noted wise-ass. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at