On Nov. 8, 1971, the English rock band Led Zeppelin released their famous and infamous song “Stairway to Heaven.” “Stairway to Heaven” was a song on the eight-song album “Led Zeppelin IV.” It is known as one of the greatest songs to influence the progressive rock era.


This song is known as the “forbidden riff” for many musicians worldwide, especially in music stores that sell guitars. It also has much history behind it.  

How can such a famous song have such a “forbidden” legacy? When beginner guitarists start to learn the guitar, most often result in learning the beginning riff of the song. In “Wayne’s World” in 1992, the joke occurred that it is one of the most overplayed songs for beginner guitarists. The show introduced the famous phrase, “No Stairway! Denied!” 

It was written by lead vocalist, Robert Plant, and guitarist, Jimmy Page. The song is known for its beginning intro riff and Jimmy Page’s guitar solo. The intro riff is one of the most iconic ones to be written and is known to be overplayed by any guitarist in a guitar store. There is no doubt that it is a great song, but it gets old when overplayed.  

Is the song actually banned from music stores? No. However, it is the running joke by experienced musicians to never play it in stores or to play it in a laughing manner. 

Why else does this song have any reason to be “forbidden?”  

In recent years, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have been sued for copyright infringement. They have been accused of stealing the opening by Mr. Wolfe who wrote “Taurus” by Spirited in 1968. Even though it took about 40 years to emerge, the case turned out to be one of the biggest copyright cases in music history.  

Forbidden or not, Led Zeppelin is one of the most influential rock bands in history. The group is comprised of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones. All four members made history in their own way.

In the end, “Stairway to Heaven” is a good song. Even with some poor backlash, the song is one of the most played songs every year and still loved by many.