January 23, 1991

Jan23On this day in 1991, John Sebastian, owner and general manager of KLSK FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, played the Led Zeppelin song ‘Stairway To Heaven’ for 24 solid hours to inaugurate a format change to classic rock.

The track played more than 200 times, eliciting hundreds of angry calls and letters.

Police showed up with guns drawn after a listener reported that the DJ had apparently suffered a heart attack, and later because of suspicion that – this being eight days into the Gulf War – the radio station had been taken hostage by terrorists dispatched by Zeppelin-freak Saddam Hussein.

Weirdest of all, lots of listeners didn’t move the dial: “Turns out a lot of people listened to see when we would finally stop playing it.”

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