Why Is Stairway To Heaven Banned In Guitar Stores?

why is stairway to heaven banned in guitar stores

Stairway to Heaven is a famous song by Led Zeppelin. Released in 1971 in the movie The Song Remains the Same, this is an overplayed song belonging to the genres of Hard rock, Folk, Metal, Rock, and Blues. The song is famous not just because of its music that paved the way to the era of progressive rock, but also the plagiarism case plaguing its writers and producers. However, the question here arises, if it is that famous, then why is stairway to heaven banned in guitar stores?

Why Is Stairway to Heaven Banned In Guitar Stores?

This might seem a weird question if you hadn’t been through guitar forums yet. The famous song Stairway to Heaven was written by lead guitarist Jimmy Page and performed by singer Robert Plant of the English rock band Led Zeppelin in 1971. The song was very famous, as it is known to be one of the greatest rock songs that contributed to the dawn of the era of progressive rock. The intro of the song has become the most iconic guitar riff that every guitarist tries to emulate.

However, it is that same iconic riff that has caused a lot of frustration among guitar shop owners and salesman. Sure, it is great, but hearing one thing, again and again, takes the beauty of it, more so if it is played by newbies. As such, it is considered to be a forbidden riff.

Is Stairway to Heaven Really a Forbidden Song in Guitar Shops?

Actually, no, it’s not. Neither is it illegal. Actually, this is a running gag in the entire guitar community that Stairway to Heaven is forbidden in guitar stores. And it all started with the movie Wayne’s World in 1992.

Long story short, the main character of the movie was playing this song in a guitar shop. The shop manager came owner and told him that the song is banned. Hence the line “No stairways! Denied!” made its way into the guitar community, who in good humor adopted this joke. This gag has been running for more than 25 years at this point. So the song is not exactly forbidden, it is a joke. No guitar shop owner would really kick you out of the store for playing this song.

Reasons Why Stairway to Heavens is “Forbidden” In Guitar Shops:

Here are some reasons why this song is “banned”.

  • It is a running gag, obviously. People in the community embraced it with good spirit.
  • It is just too famous and overplayed. Stairway to Heaven paved the way to the modern and progressive rock era. Sung by equally legendary rock singers, the song became popular to the point where you could hear it everywhere. The reputation of beautiful things essentially desensitizes people to beauty.
  • It is extremely frustrating and excruciating to hear the same song played again and again by newbies. It seemed like they were flat out murdering cats, as no salesman is brave enough to go through that torture.
  • The iconic riff is easy to learn. Moreover, every guitarist aspires to be able to play this intro, so again, it is overplayed.
  • A trustee of Mr. Wolfe sued the composer and signer for copyright infringement. It was alleged that they had copied the opening to Stairway to Heaven from “Taurus,” a song written by Mr. Wolfe from Spirit in 1968.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who won the copyright infringement of Stairway to Heaven?

The details of the case are already mentioned above. It was a 6-year long gas that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant eventually won due to the court dismissing the claim of the plaintiff. The strange thing about the case was that it took 40 years for such a claim to surface. Both members of the Led Zeppelin band were potentially facing a lot of damage in millions of dollars. The case was closed in 2020.

Q: What Are The Best Guitars For Rock Music?

A: Following are considered to be the best guitars suitable for the rock genre of music.

  • Squier Bullet Mustang HH 

  • Gretsch G5222 Electromatic Double Jet 

  • PRS Guitars Electric Guitar, SE Custom 24, 2021 Series 

  • Kadence Guitar Frontier Series