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'STAIRWAY' TO NONSENSE

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Led Zeppelin’s ”Stairway to Heaven” is (a) the single most righteous piece of rock & roll ever recorded, or (b) self-indulgent gibberish. If you chose both, have we got a disc for you! Stairways to Heaven (Vertigo) is a compilation of 22 twisted versions of Zep’s 1971 anthem, started when producers of the 1989-1990 Australian talk show The Money or the Gun asked guests to record their own version of ”Stairway.” Among the baffling results: the Sydney Philharmonia’s respectful choral arrangement, the Rock Lobsters’ B-52s party- beat adaptation, and a ’63 Beatles treatment by the Beatnix. Why ”Stairway”? ”It has just enough blind metaphoric alleyways to bear repeated examination,” cracks Andrew Denton, 33, who hosted The Money. ”A song that takes itself that importantly cannot be taken too importantly by others.” Denton says ”Nights in White Satin” was briefly considered, ”but we nodded off while listening to it.”

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