Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Stairways to Heaven
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
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A Dozen Delicious Versions of the Greatest Rock Song Ever
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am here to tell you that there is clearly no middle ground on this album. You either love "Stairways to Heaven," with its dozen different versions of the consensus choice of greatest rock and roll song of all time or you look at people who love this album as if their brains had melted and were oozing out of their ears. But then I had a teacher who played Spike Jones in grade school, I grew up on the Smothers Brothers, got hooked on Tom Lehrer and thoroughly enjoy Weird Al Yankovic. Add to my vote for Led Zeppelin as the greatest rock and roll band since the Beatles and why wouldn't I love this album? It is even better than the first Dred Zeppelin album. But then, I recall once hearing on the radio the infamous song that set the lyrics to "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" to "Stairway to Heaven," so my mind was warped in this direction a long time ago.The contents of this album are easily reduced to a single declarative sentence. One dozen versions of Led Zeppelin's classic "Stairway to Heaven" done in the (mostly) notable styles of different musical groups. This album was produced in Australian and is a major reason they were awarded the Summer Olympics (which took place just after the Australian winter). If you prefer early Beatles there is a "I Want to Hold Your Hand" style version by The Beatnix as well as a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" version done by Robyne Dunn for those who prefer the later work of the Liverpool lads. There is Elvis in a "Blue Hawaii" mood courtesy of Neil Pepper and a dignified Moody Blues poetry reading from Leonard Teale that appropriately closes out the album. The Rock Lobsters do a B-52's take on the song while the Australian Doors Show do, well, you should be able to figure it out. John Paul Young does a disco version, the Vegimite Reggae a reggae version, Kate Ceberano and The Ministry of Fun a sulty soul version. Sandra Hahn and Michael Turkic tackle an operatic duet, Pardon Me Boys a Be-Bop duet, and Rolf Harris is just out in the outback doing whatever comes into his fertile little mind ("All together now!"). Jimmy Page might have played his guitar with a violin bow, but you must admit he never tried playing a saw.I have yet to grow tired of listening to this album and have found a great way of having fun with it at the expense of others. Simply go up to a family member, friend, co-worker or somebody walking down the street with a CD player and ask them to pick their three favorite groups a list that covers the above. When they have made their choices, from Early Beatles to Joan Sutherland (note the Australian reference in keeping with the origin of this CD down under), play the appropriate trio of tracks from "Stairways to Heaven." Watch their faces contort as they go from confusion to understanding, from amusement to trepidation, and from familiarity to contempt. And when they have turned their backs on you, just remember: "There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold . . .""
The Money or the Gun
Headbang8 | Bogenhausen, Munich | 03/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Listeners may be interested to know that this album came out of a TV series. "The Money or the Gun" aired on Australian public television in the early nineties, a unique combination of documentary and variety show. Each week, host Andrew Denton (since sold out and gone commercial, alas) developed a theme around interviews, sketches, musical numbers, and plain, old-fashioned news reports. It was pretty hard-hitting; the episode on Prostitution got censored when a madam demonstrated, using her mouth and a handy microphone, how to get a condom on an unwilling customer. Every show ended with--you guessed it--a different artist/band doing its version of Stairway to Heaven. Denton is on record somewhere explaining why he chose this ever more bizarre way to close the show, but his exact words escape me. The joke worked better when it was delivered once a week rather than, in the words of Rolf Harris, "all-together-now". But on listening to the CD, I'm surprised at what a diverse and stimulating collection a dozen versions of the same song can be. But then, it's a great song."
The greatest song in rock revisioned again & again &...
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 03/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll admit it up front, I'm a sucker for novelty albums and this CD is the lollapalooza of novelty albums. Most CD's of this genre lose their novelty about 1/3 of the way through but this CD only sputters once or twice. What is obvious is that while most of these versions of "Stairway" are delivered as fun or tongue in cheek, the artists are utterly sincere about their interpretations. The songs fall in 2 camps: Camp 1 is a complete remake like the Calypso tinged opening track or Rolf Harris' incredibly gooney Lawrence-Welk-meets-Mitch-Miller-in-the-Twilight-Zone version. Also good is Robyn Dunne who melds just about every currently popular female singer (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, & Jewel) into one Beatlesque tribute. Camp 2 is how "Stairway" would sound as done by the Beatles, or B-52's, or Viva Las Vegas era Elvis. The best interpretations are the unbelievably realistic Doors version and the John Paul Young which transforms the classic into an early 80's pop ditty. You also get a reggae version, a operatic version, and (in my opinion the only 2 times the CD misfires) a swing version and a poetic reading. I appreciate another reviewer providing the context for the Teale version. I guess stateside we would have DeNiro or Pacino read it. This CD is both great as novelty and tribute. If only Econium were this good."