Tonight the kids and I sat glued to the radio.
The station had solicited listeners’ top 10 rock songs of all time, compiled them by duplicate and played the top 1,000 in order, starting Wednesday morning.
We made our lists. We made predictions. The disc jockey would say, ‘Coming up next, a song by Queen,’ and we would all guess which it would be. Once, he said, ‘After the commercial, you’ll get a song that was written for a boy whose parents were divorcing, that’s become a popular sing-along.’
I totally guessed it.
We were in and out of the countdown for meals, sleep, and Thanksgiving, checking online to see what we missed, but today we turned it on for the top 40 throughout the house.
At number 19 I had to go grocery shopping. The kids had to call me each time a song came on while I was in the store.
One year we were at our friends’ poolside on the Fourth of July. I was doing an acrostic puzzle. I love an acrostic puzzle.
The clue was “He wrote Stairway to Heaven,” 10 letters.
Ten letters? Don’t they mean nine, or 11?
I worked out the whole quote and transfered the letters. The answer: Neil Sedaka.
I showed it around, because by now everyone had been trying to think of someone with a 10-letter name who could have written it.
My husband said, “No way.” The Bonadimans said, “No way.” Guess what the Booths said.
I tucked that bit of astounding trivia in my brain and pulled it out occasionally, so I could hear people say, “No way.”
Next up, the interviewer said, the writer of Stairway to Heaven.
“Oh, I know who that is,” I told Mom. “Neil Sedaka.”
She got to look right, because some other dude came on the radio and talked about how the song came to him.
I stopped pulling out this astounding trivia tidbit.
This year I was listening on another station to the author of “Sounds Like Teen Spirit, Stolen Melodies, Ripped-Off Riffs, and the Secret History of Rock and Roll.”
It turns out — and I know people are gonna start e-mailing me — but it turns out Led Zeppelin was a cover band.
The final word: Randy California wrote Stairway to Heaven.
That’s all the thinking I want to do about this song and its writer. I don’t even like Led Zeppelin.