Why Is Stairway to Heaven Banned in Guitar Stores?

Why Is Stairway To Heaven Banned In Guitar Stores?

Stairway to Heaven is no stranger to most guitar enthusiasts. It’s one of the things you get familiar with as a beginner in guitar. Hell, the song has probably led many to take an interest in learning the guitar. 

But at some point, this popular and iconic song became a forbidden song to play in guitar stores. Playing the song was met with malignant jokes, eye-rolls, and a flat-out “No” from the store manager.  

So why is the stairway to Heaven banned in guitar stores?

The ban on stairway heaven was adapted and embraced from the movie Wayne’s world, which made a joke directed to the song. Mike Myers, an actor in the movie, tried to play Stairway to Heaven in a guitar store the movie but was immediately stopped by the guitar owner with the camera pointing to the sign “No Stairway! Denied!”

Let’s learn more about a little background history about the song and what factors contributed to the adoption of this ban for many years. 

Background History of Stairway to Heaven

In 1971, an English band led by Led Zeppelin released one of their most iconic songs, the stairway to Heaven. This song is also one of the most iconic rock songs ever, as it paved the way for the next era of the rock genre. 

The song’s intro, which featured a guitar riff, is one of the most popular intros in the rock world. Every guitar player wanted to know how to play it. As a result, the song was getting overplayed at guitar shops, especially by beginners. 

What Led to the Ban? 

It started originally as a joke originating from the popular movie Wayne’s world. An actor called Mike Myers tried to play the intro to the stairway to Heaven in a guitar store in the movie and was immediately stopped from playing it by the manager. 

The manager subsequently pointed the actor to the sign “No Stairway! Denied!” which is now a popular line in the guitar world. 

It is important to note that the movie producers did this to joke about the song because every guitar player wanted to play the infamous riff of the intro to this song in a guitar shop since it was the most popular rock song. Since then, the stairway to Heaven has always been known as the forbidden riff.  

However, playing the forbidden riff isn’t going to get you thrown out of the guitar shop. The joke doesn’t stop people from playing it at local stores, especially nowadays. Although guitar stores owners have grown tired of the song being played over and over in their shops,

What Factors Contribute to the Ban Being Around for a Long Time?

What Factors Contribute To The Ban Being Around For A Long Time?

The ban has lasted in some parts for more than 25 years since Wayne’s World movie release. Below are some factors that might have contributed to the ban being around for a long time. 

Extreme Popularity of the Song

There is no denying it is one of, if not the most popular rock song ever. Its intro featuring a guitar riff is an extremely popular riff that every guitar player has always wanted to learn. 

It made the song overplayed, and guitar shop owners and even average customers got tired of it hence, why guitar shop owners frowned at it being played in their shop. 

Cultural Influence of the Joke

With the movie’s release, people instantly caught up on the joke, embraced it, and made fun of it to the fullest. Some people intentionally went to the guitar shops to play the song and appear funny. 

Copyright Concerns

At some point, the writers of this song, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, were sued by an individual called Mr. Wolfe on the claims of copyright infringement. 

It raised many concerns amongst guitar and rock enthusiasts as it was one of the most famous copyright infringement cases at the time. 


Stairway to Heaven is an iconic song and a great masterpiece in rock music. 

The song’s ban came from a joke in the movie Wayne’s world, where the store manager prevented an actor from playing the song’s intro to try and poke fun at the song’s popularity, hence why it’s also called the forbidden riff.