Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Every band has their 'Stairway to Heaven' song

So says James Lileks, speaking in today's Bleat (the "joint" is apparently some local Minneapolis establishment):
I had no idea Aerosmith filmed a video in the joint in 1998, and, having learned it, I couldn’t care less. I think I liked them in high school, but you were supposed to like them. I remember explaining to a peer that “Dream On” was their “Stairway to Heaven.” He didn’t get it. See, every band has to have a Stairway. It’s “Dream On” for Aerosmith. It’s “Ridin’ the Storm Out” for REO Speedwagon. The lights flickered on; he got it. Oh! Long pieces that were about weather and wizards and stuff and started slow and got pumped up. Yes, my friend. It is the way of Rock.
So I posed the question to my bride, who still holds a soft spot in her heart for a certain '70s rock band: What is Styx's "Stairway" song? "Duh," she quickly responded, "Come Sail Away!!"

And it's only fair that I ask myself the same question about my favorite '70s band, Rush, even though I reserve the right to change my answer after I think about it a bit. My first thoughts went to 2112, but that's up and down in intensity throughout the piece. There are a few others, like The Trees or Closer to the Heart, that have that start-slow-and-build pattern, but they don't really fit the long-pieces mold that Lileks is talking about. Perhaps the closest would be the lesser-known Natural Science.

But overall, I'm not sure any Rush song really fits that mold. And really, that's why I always liked them.

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