Friday, September 6, 2019

"Stairway to Heaven" by Far Corporation

Song#:  2883
Date:  10/04/1986
Debut:  93
Peak:  89
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  German producer Frank Farian had major success in Europe throughout the mid- and late-70s with a vocal outfit he assembled called Boney M. The group would have eight #1's in Germany while getting nine Top 10's in the UK including two #1's. They were far less successful in the US where their only significant Pop chart entry was 1978's #30 "River of Babylon." As Boney M's fortunes waned in the 80s, Farian started to look for his next project. In 1984, Boney M recorded a cover of Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" for a Christmas album. The following year, Farian decided to revive the track, add some well-known musicians to it, and push it out as a charity single. Credited to Frank Farian Corporation, the song got some attention. This gave Farian the idea to form a new band that featured more well-known musicians. He assembled a group that included members of Toto, including singer Bobby Kimball who had just left Toto, and vocalist Robin McAuley. Farian shortened the name to Far Corporation and work began on a debut album that would be titled Division One. This first single was pushed out and it would do well in Europe making the Top 10 in few countries including the UK (#8). Eventually a deal was made to get the song over to the States and it was released in the fall on '86. Unfortunately, it didn't catch on and it stalled low on the chart after a short month. However, the success they had back home led to the band getting back together for a second album. A couple of singles were issued out ahead of the LP, but when they failed to chart, the album got shelved. Later in 1994, Farian would revive some of the tracks from the abandoned second album and gather a few members of the old band together for an official second album titled Solitude. However, the LP came and went to little notice and Far Corporation was laid to rest.

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that I was ready to chuck this tune aside with a low rating and move on. I mean, Frank Farian plus Toto, plus "Stairway" just seemed like a disaster in the making. Yet I have to say I didn't mind it. To me it almost sounds like an Alan Parsons Project take on the tune. As the song progresses, it gets more interesting, although the ending goes on a bit longer than necessary. It doesn't sound like they were trying to copy Zeppelin, but attempting to enhance and do something a little different. Is it among the best covers of the song? Probably not. But I found it to be interesting and a surprisingly nice listen.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Farian's name would later become more famous (and infamous) from another project he spearheaded. In 1988, he took two struggling musicians and signed them to be the faces for tracks he already recorded with other singers. The duo would be known as Milli Vanilli and they would go on to have a 6-million selling debut album that spawned five Top 10 hits in the US including three #1's. The LP would also earn Milli Vanilli a Grammy for Best New Artist. A year later, it was uncovered that the duo did not sing on the album even though they were credited as doing such and a historic music scandal was born.  2) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by Led Zeppelin. Their 1971 take was included on their biggest selling studio album Led Zeppelin IV. The eight-minute track became a rock radio staple and one of the most well-known songs in rock music history. Yet despite its popularity, the song was never released as a single. Their label, Atlantic, wanted to do so, but the band refused to have the song edited down into a much shorter single version. It was probably a good choice as it forced people to buy the album to get the song.



  1. How did you like Led Zeppelin's version of "Stairway To Heaven"? Me I give the song a 9/10, it's a great song but there are several LZ songs I prefer more.

    1. I actually agree. It's a classic and I love it, but I tend to like a few other Zep songs over it.