Well, there are hardly any guitarists who haven’t come across the legendary rock song “Stairway To Heaven” from Led Zeppelin.
Every guitarist will agree that they must have played this legendary rock song once in their life. The crazy rift played by the iconic Jimmy Page in the song is the main reason behind the huge craze. It has so much variation that every guitarist tries to play the song whenever they want to test a new guitar.
But what if I tell you that it is a taboo to play the song, especially the opening riff in any guitar store.
Well, it seems strange right? Even if I felt the same when I came across this fact. Why would the guitar stores ban buyers from playing such legendary songs on the new guitars?
Don’t get perplexed as this article will provide you all the details behind this issue.
Why Playing Stairway To Heaven In Forbidden In Guitar Stores?
Basically, the ban on the stairway to heaven is a joke that made its way from the movie Wayne’s World that premiered in the year 1992. The song has been played so much by guitarists in the guitar stores in the US that the film made a joke about repeatedly playing the song in stores.
- Almost one out of three guitarists who are trying a new model in the guitar stores plays this song.
- There was a time when most of the guitarists were so much into the intro riff that you would hear at least one customer playing the song.
- Despite being an incredible song, people played it so much that most of the store employees got fed up with it.
- The joke became cult in the guitar culture and still makes fun of people who try to play the song in the store.
As an aspiring guitarist, it is not illegal to play the riff of the stairway to heaven when you are trying a new guitar in the store.
No store employee or owner will snatch the guitar or throw you out of the store for playing the intro of the Stairway For Heaven.
Plus, none of the store owners would openly criticize customers for playing the song in the store. But you have to stay prepared to get some weird reactions and giggles from employees and other customers in the store.
Another reason behind the running joke about the song being banned is because whenever an amateur learns to play the song roughly, they try to showcase it in guitar stores.
Since they can’t play riffs properly, so it becomes irritating for owners or others who know how to play them accurately.
Importantly, it is one of the favorite songs of most people, so when someone plays the riff badly or hears it almost every day, it will undoubtedly irritate them.
It is natural for a human being to get irritated if they repeatedly hear the same song played in their stores.
Even though people are well aware of the running joke regarding playing the intro riff of the Stairway For Heaven song. But still, so many customers, especially aspirants, play them in guitar stores without worrying about anything.
Nowadays, even when I step into a store, I still hear at least one player who is trying to imitate the legendary riff played by Jimmy Page.
Honestly, when I was a novice, I also followed the trend of playing the riff when trying out a new guitar, especially an electric model.
The Story Behind The Famous “NO Stairway? Denied!” Dialogue
As you already know how the joke of Stairway For Heaven being banned in guitar stores came into light from the movie Wayne’s World. Back in 1992, when the film premiered in the theater, it became an instant rage among musicians.
The movie portrayed two characters, Garth and Wayne, who have an everlasting love for rock music, especially for the famous Stairway For Heaven.
There was a specific scene where one day, Wayne reaches a guitar shop and starts playing the famous song.
But before he could finish the intro riff, one store staff grabbed the guitar and pointed to the “No Stairway To Heaven” sign.
Then Wayne looked at the team and uttered the famous line No Stairway? Denied!” and this is how the joke became famous.
After this scene came into the limelight, many guitar stores started putting the sign of ‘No Stairway To Heaven’ in their shops.
Even after 28years, many people still embrace that joke through memes in social media. Yet now many customers and staff give those weird looks when an aspiring guitarist tries to play the intro riff of Stairway For Heaven in guitar shops.
What Can You Play As An Alternative?
As an alternative to the overplayed ‘Stairway For Heaven,’ we can recommend tons of songs that you can play in a guitar shop. You can play your own solos or composition to try the capability of a guitar.
Rather than playing popular songs repeatedly, you can try different other things to check the instrument’s sound.
It would be best if you can prevent yourself from showing off because it irritates people in the stores.
What you can do is try other riffs of famous guitarists like Slash, Buckethead, John Mayer, Petrucci, Jimmy Page, etc.
Before you try out the riffs, you should memorize them; otherwise, it would look weird if you constantly check your phone for notes.
My Final Thought
Well, there is no doubt Stairway For Heaven is a legendary rock song with one of the best riffs and solos you will ever come across. However, the song has been played so much, especially in guitar stores, that it has lost its charm in the ears of guitar store owners and staff.
As a matter of fact, there is no ban on playing this song, but for store etiquette, it is better to play something that doesn’t fall in the popular list.
Besides this song, ‘smokes on the water,’ ‘sweet child of mine,’ ‘enter sandman,’ ‘sweet home Alabama’ etc. are some more overplayed songs that you would often hear in stores.