Stairway To Heaven leads 2023’s National Recording Registry inductees

Other notable inductees include John Lennon’s Imagine and John Denver’s Take Me Home.

Led Zeppelin onstage

Photo: Rob Verhost / Redferns

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

The Library of Congress has revealed the 2023 inductees into the National Recording Registry, with Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven leading the list of audio recordings set to be preserved for future generations.

The reveal was accompanied by a written entry for the track into the National Recording Registry that notes the careful crafting of the track, describing the creative process of guitarist and producer Jimmy Page.

“Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist and producer, was responsible for much of the song’s structure and feel. Early in his career as a studio musician, Page had learned that one of the cardinal rules of studio work was to keep an even tempo and resist the urge to speed up at all costs. Ironically, Stairway to Heaven violates this rule to masterful effect, as it gradually increases speed, while adding instruments one at a time. First, we hear a lone acoustic guitar, soon a recorder enters, and, as the sound broadens, we hear vocals, a 12-string guitar and bass.”

“Bassist John Paul Jones contributed the recorder melody, lending a medieval feel to the song’s early measures,” the entry continues. “He and drummer John Bonham’s rhythm activities build to their usual huge and thunderous level. Few can imitate Robert Plant’s singing, and his lyrics, most of which were written during the band’s rehearsals, have appealed to a wide range of fans, while proving open to a bewildering number of interpretations.”

“Finally, Page recorded one of the most tasteful solos in rock music. Selected for the 2023 registry.”

The list of inductees this year also notably includes a track from a female rapper and a track from a video game for the first time in the addition of Queen Latifah’s All Hail The Queen and Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros theme. Other notable inductees include John Lennon’s Imagine, John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads, Eurythimics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and The Police’s Synchronicity added to the registry.

Related Artists

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.