Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven ‘owes its success to cigarettes’

Not really about harm reduction but a curious story from the Guardian.

Was the secret to Stairway to Heaven’s success the fact that it gave DJs the chance to nip out for a cigarette? That’s the theory of Led Zeppelinbiographer Charles R Cross, who claims that 100 radio presenters “literally … swore” that they aired the now classic tune because it was the “perfect length” for a cigarette break.

“The song became successful by accident,” Cross told the New York Post. “[I] had 100 DJs swear to me that they only played the song because they needed a long break to go and smoke a cigarette. If it had been a minute shorter, you couldn’t have smoked a full cigarette. If it had been a minute longer, it would have been too long.”

This brings up an interesting point in comparing traditional smoking and ecigarettes. One of the factors that make cigarettes so compelling are not only the easy delivery of a very controllable and yet effective drug of just the kind of effect that not only does not interfere with production but for some people improves it, but the way it works as a timing mechanism.

Having a cigarette means not needing a watch for taking the appropriate time off from the day. It also works as a timer in structuring your day through the cigarettes in the pack and a sense of completion at the ends of either the smoke or the pack. Among the many advantages of the ecigarette, what might end up being a lack is the loss of this aspect.

With ecigs there is no real end to the smoke. Rather than the product controlling you, you control when to end the smoke. The behavior becomes more free form; you could say more analogue than digital. Or if you consider the puff a shorter discrete version of the cigarette, then you have the new behavior mirroring the increasing speed of the times.


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