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Assessing Zippo's Survey of "Lighter In The Air" Songs On Its Tenth Anniversary

Updated on September 10, 2020

Mealoaf Is On The Menu Of "Lighter In the Air" Classics


What exact qualities the pollsters were seeking has not been disclosed, even though it has now been one decade since the lighter company published its results. It was back on September 10 in 2010 that Zippo determined the top three “All-Time Lighter in the Air” songs.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen finished at the top, followed by Led Zeppelin's “Stairway To Heaven” and Meatloaf's “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.” Based solely on those three choices, you could ascertain some of the elements the survey takers were looking for.

Each one has a lengthy running time, nearly twice as long as the standard two and a half minute pop song. Its length in all three cases allows the song to comprise multiple sections, typically a slow tempo changing abruptly to a much quicker pace.

Finally, the trio share a more unusual feature, which probably eliminated many songs from qualification. In some section of each epic tune, you will hear an odd cadence or sound.

In the Queen classic, of course, there are the chants of Bismillah and Scaramouche, as Meatloaf gets steamy while panting lustily with his female collaborator. “Stairway's” is not quite as obvious, until vocalist Robert Plant begins his near scream in the fast-paced coda.

Using those three qualities, a list of other possibilities that could have completed the Top Ten “Zippo All-Time Lighter In the Air” songs are here presented.

4. Hey Jude by The Beatles

Coming in at seven minutes with three distinct parts, including Paul McCartney's ranting of “Jude, Jude” Jude” throughout the end, this number one classic could have beaten out two thirds of the cuts that made the original list.

5. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Starting slowly before erupting into a prolonged legendary electric guitar solo, this concert favorite appeared on the Southern Rock outfit's first album.

6. Hotel California by the Eagles

Its unusual sound is screaming, not from any vocalist, but from the tandem of electric guitars that cry for an exit from the Hellish asylum in the title.

7. 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago

The middle number best represents the length, during which the unusual sounds stem from an aggressive brass section.

8. Aqualung by Jethro Tull

Acoustic guitar takes over after the classic electric riff that accompanies “sitting on a park bench,” after which one can almost hear the wheezing old fellow whose nickname is the title.

9. Iron Man by Black Sabbath

After an almost science fiction muffle declares “I am Iron Man,” Ozzie and band attack society for four and a half minutes of electric rock.

10. Baba O' Reilly by the Who

Who's Next opens with this six minute track, which switches from ballad to blare around the unforeseen violins of Keith Moon.


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