Who is the "lady" that Robert Plant speaks of in the song "Stairway to Heaven"?

Led Zeppelin's hit "Stairway to Heaven" was written in a large, drafty mansion in England during 1970 and 1971. The music was composed by Jimmy Page, and, as the story goes, he played through some of what he had written, and Robert Plant began writing lyrics, ultimately creating about 90 percent of the song's lyrics on the spot.

People have long wondered about the meaning behind Plant's lyrics. Was this song about a real lady that Plant knew? Was it about a character from The Lord of the Rings, which Plant was heavily into at the time? Robert Plant, in an interview for Total Guitar magazine, described "Stairway to Heaven" as "some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration." No word on whether he had a particular woman in mind.

Regardless of what the song means, it was Led Zeppelin's biggest hit. It is often touted as the most requested song on American FM radio stations ever, in spite of the fact that it was never released as a single. (It was too long, and Plant and Page refused to create an abridged version to be released as a single.)