Wow, after reading a couple postings I realize that I am just about the only one who HASN’T played Stairway to Heaven.
“I still don’t get the request for “Stairway to Heaven”, but I really like the song!”
For about 90% of people who learn to play rock guitar Stairway is the first complete song they learn. It has become a cultural joke in the rock world to the point that in the movie Wayne’s World when the main character goes to the guitar store to try a new guitar he gets reprimanded for playing this song and ignoring the “no stairway” sign hanging up. The truth being that most guitar shop workers hate the song because they have to hear it being mangled by people every day.
It is one of the most requested songs for bands that play bars regularly.
So it is a joke to ask a harpist to play it as if they were asking a rock band. And it is great fun to surprise such jokers by actually playing it.
The other one that I think every harpist should know is Freebird because it is probably the only song requested more than Stairway.
Well, I did, every Sunday for a couple of years. It was in an area that had been a very downscale neighborhood and had become very upscale and the neighbors kept suing them for being too noisy, so they were forbidden to use amplified music at certain times. Initially I think it was meant as a joke–as a a harpist it’s kind of weird to set up in front of the Bucket o’ Bud 5 for 5 Dale Earnhart sign– but they actually liked it, so I stayed. The hurricanes put an end to it, finally.
Sweet Home Alabama was also very popular. I must say, I did enjoy it when I went out to California for a a meeting with my publisher and some of their other writers.
At dinner they were going around the table making us all introduce ourselves and tell about what we did when not writing computer books. Of course all the the other people said things like, “I write an investments newsletter,” or “I do IT for a university,” and so on. It sure did bring things to a screeching halt when they got to me and I said, “I play the harp in a biker bar.”
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