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Causeway To Heaven

Stuart Bailie | 10:09 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007

Stuart Bailie.jpgWhile the controversy rages over the Causeway Visitors’ Centre, I’d like to put in a rogue bid. Why not give the concession over to Led Zeppelin? They are, after all, exponents of majestic rock. They can certainly draw a crowd, with 20 million ticket applications to their upcoming London gig. And the band really does have a vested interested in Ireland’s most awesome piece of coastline.

zep1.jpgTheir 1973 album, ‘Houses Of The Holy’ featured The Giant’s Causeway in a rather fanciful light - orange and solarised and occupied by some strange elfin creatures. Since then, a series of rock acts have visited the scene of this iconic shoot. Those Bristol loons The Moonflowers even posed on the very same rocks, utterly naked as a homage.

byebye_orig.jpgMeantime, The Stone Roses made a call in 1988, taking a detour from a University Of Ulster date. Guitarist John Squire was so taken by the colour of the sea around the causeway that he used the same tone for his painting ‘Bye Bye Badman’. This in turn became the cover image of their legendary self-titled album a year later.

Led Zeppelin have impinged on our rock history several times. When they played the Ulster Hall on March 5, 1971, they used the opportunity to unveil their latest song, ‘Stairway To Heaven’. It was also the first time that Jimmy Page played his double necked Gibson guitar in public, fact fans.

If I had the chance to revisit a rock and roll moment, that gig would be near the top of the list. Belfast, in the throes of sectarian carnage, random explosions and butchery akimbo. But in the sanctuary of this lovely old building, a bunch of hairy rockers were raving about May Queens, spring cleans and there being a bustle in your hedgerow. It makes me wonder, indeed.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:39 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Vivien Gleason wrote:

Joseph Beuys( the German artist) affectionetly called "Billy" Beuys by Gerry and Terri H. also visited the Giants Causeway. I remember as a child there used to be little shops along the Causeway and I think a little tram service!

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