And the highlight of that particular segment was the version of Stairway To Heaven led by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. The Heart thing actually wasn’t so great; what was great was the song’s crescendo, this time brought to even greater heights by a backing gospel choir.
I’d never heard Stairway done that way before, and I must say it brought new life to what had become a tired warhorse of a song. And it brought tears to Robert Plant’s eyes. Take a look:
All of which got me thinking: what are the best rock songs ever to feature a choir?
Voila! My list is below. (Note: I refuse to include Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, perhaps the best known rock-song-with-a-choir of them all, because it’s just too banal and absurd.)
5. John Hiatt, Have A Little Faith In Me. John Hiatt is an underappreciated roots musician with a distinctive voice and gift for lyrical punch. Have A Little Faith in me is one of his best:
4. Marc Cohn, Walking In Memphis. Why is this his only good song? At least it’s really, really good — and I’ve never even been to Memphis.
3. The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. For sure the only Stones’ song that parents can use as a disciplinary tool. And so we did.
2. Led Zeppelin Fans, Stairway To Heaven. See above.
1. U2, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Rattle & Hum Version). The gospel choir is thoroughly in keeping with the gospel feel of the original lyrics. This track alone makes Rattle & Hum worth the purchase price.