Stairway to Stardom Explication

Stairway to Stardom Explication

By Noel Wurst, Client Services Manager

In my junior year of college, I took the most difficult course I’d ever taken in my life up to that point.  It was plainly called “British Poetry” and it was taught by Bishop Hunt, a legendary “breaker of children,” someone to be truly feared.  It was in his class that I was first required to practice “explications” – where we were required to convince Professor Hunt that we understood each and every line of an absurdly long and stuffy “classic” British poem by providing in great detail to him, the importance of each one of those lines to the poem as a whole.  Not one line could be left out of your explication, no matter how short it was, or unimportant that it seemed.

I hated poetry explications, not because of the work required, but because of the poems on which they had to be performed.  These were painfully dull (especially to a 20-year-old) poems by Keats, and Yeats, and Shelley, and Eliot, and so on – though the work itself was challenging, and in a grammar nerd sort of way – kinda fun.

Since I’ll probably never read another poem by any of those guys ever again in my lifetime, but I want to keep my brain nimble, I’ve completed my first poetry explication in 12 years…on the song “Hairdresser” by Lucille Cataldo and made famous on the New York City cable access show Stairway to Stardom…oh, and on Youtube.

Before reading my interpretation (aka SPOT ON nailing of the message in this now classic song) please view Cataldo’s performance, even if you’ve already seen it a thousand times before.


(P.S. – While this was fun, I’ll probably never do it again.)


“Stairway to Stardom” – by Lucille Cataldo

Hairdresser, hairdresser, whoh-oh
Hairdresser, hairdresser, Ohhhh ohh
Hairdresser, hairdresser
Hairdresser, hairdresser

Cataldo sings adoringly of her hairdresser, the tone in her voice is light and gives the impression that she could be singing this as she walks into her regular hairdresser’s business.  She smiles and dances from side to side, playfully.

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