On December 4, 1971, Led Zeppelin started a 2 week run at No.1 on the UK chart with “Led Zeppelin IV.” The album, featuring “Stairway to Heaven” stayed on the US chart for 5 years, selling over 23 million copies in the US alone. In tribute to this album and song, this week’s playlist is dedicated to songs featuring the word Heaven in their title.
If you never caught Heart’s tribute to Led Zeppelin and “Stairway To Heaven” at The Kennedy Center Honors, give it a watch. It is very moving to see Robert Plant tear up sitting next to his mates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, with John Bonham’s son Jason on drums and Ann Wilson on vocals, her sister Nancy on guitar, with a choir backing. Just spectacular.
“Stairway To HEAVEN” includes the iconic Zep song, but many other heavenly heaven songs as well. Who can forget my opener, Bryan Adams “Heaven” played at every high school dance? The Psychedelic Furs, Warrant, and Los Lonely Boys also with great songs of the same name. While Meat Loaf feels heaven can wait, Belinda Carlisle sings of heaven as a place on earth, and poor Bruno Mars is locked out of heaven. The playlist gets a little edgy, with Guns N’ Roses knockin’ on heaven’s door, and the appearance of some less common artists for my playlists, including some grunge, with Temple of the Dog and Alice In Chains. My follow-up playlist, “The Wrong Side Of HEAVEN,” as there were just too many songs for one, is a B-list, of sorts, with less popular heaven songs. It includes even more grunge and alternative rock with 3 Doors Down, My Chemical Romance, Audioslave, Marilyn Manson, Five Finger Death Punch, and Theory Of A Deadman and some hard rock/metal with Def Leppard, Kiss, and Black Sabbath. I have yet to refine and organize the second list, a work in progress – assistance, advice, and opinions are always appreciated.
I hope you enjoy these heaven songs. And suggestions and assistance in refining the playlists are always welcome!
I realized over the past week that last week’s blog and playlists neglected to include the Christmas songs of my childhood, from Christmas cartoons, released from the mid-60’s to 70’s, which we anxiously awaited every year on TV, prior to the days of cable TV or VCRs. We couldn’t wait to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty The Snowman,” “The Year Without A Santa Claus,” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” They were magical, in part due to the charm of their artistry and musicality, but also given the elusiveness of their availability. I included some of my favorite songs, as well as some songs from John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together” and “Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas,” the latter whose songs we heard as kids, though the movie, as well as the Muppets movie wasn’t produced until my teen years. These songs are fun, and bring back a little of the childhood magic of Christmas. Some great video clips of these movies are presented below – alas we don’t have to be at the mercy of the once-a-year showing of major network TV schedules to watch these now.
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964):
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966):
The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974):
Frosty The Snowman (1969):
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970):
Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas (Album 1959, movie 1980):
John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together (1979):
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965):
So whether your wrapping Christmas gifts, traveling in the car to see the relatives for Christmas, snuggling by the fire awaiting Santa and his sleigh, or opening presents on Christmas morning, consider streaming this playlist, setting the mood, and lifting your spirits for truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Relive your childhood! Bring back the magic of CHRISTMAS!