|Single by Led Zeppelin|
|from the album Led Zeppelin|
|A-side||"Good Times Bad Times"|
|Released||10 March 1969|
|Recorded||October 1968, Olympic Studios, London|
|Genre||Hard rock, protopunk|
|Led Zeppelin singles chronology|
The pounding guitar riff was played by Page through a small, miked Supro amplifier throughout; and ran his Fender Telecaster through a fully closed Vox wah pedal to create the "guitar in a shoebox" sound on the lead. "Communication Breakdown" is also one of the few songs on which Page sang a backing vocal.
In the US, the track was released as the B-side of the single "Good Times Bad Times".
On the Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions, released in 1997, this song was featured three times, each with a slightly different improvisation by the musicians. Three live versions taken from performances at the TV program Tous En Scene in Paris in 1969, at Danmarks Radio in 1969 and at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 can also be seen on the Led Zeppelin DVD. "Communication Breakdown" is also one of the few Zeppelin songs in which the group did a proper lip-sync video for which is also available on the Led Zeppelin DVD.
Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff states that Page's sped up, downstroke guitar riff in "Communication Breakdown" was an inspiration for The Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone's downstroke guitar style. Ramone stated in the documentary Ramones: The True Story, he improved at his down-stroke picking style by playing the song over and over again for the bulk of his early career.
The song is noted for its usage in motion pictures, particularly in a military environment. In episode "G.I. (Annoyed Grunt)" of The Simpsons, during a scene which shows military recruitment, a group of soldiers play the guitar riff of "Communication Breakdown". The song was also used on the soundtrack to the film Small Soldiers.
Formats and track listings
See "Good Times Bad Times" single.
- Robert Plant - vocals
- Jimmy Page - guitars, backing vocals
- John Paul Jones - bass guitar, backing vocals
- John Bonham - drums
- Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
- Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 1-56025-818-7
- Kevin Courtright (1 September 2009). Back to Schoolin'. Xulon Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-61579-045-6.
- George Case (1 April 2009). Jimmy Page: magus, musician, man : an unauthorized biography. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-947-3.
- Greg Kot. Led Zeppelin: Album Guide. Rolling Stone.
- Barney Hoskyns (2006), Led Zeppelin IV: Rock of Ages, Rodale, Inc., ISBN 1-59486-370-9.
- Everett, True, Hey Ho Let's Go: The Story of The Ramones (2002): 13
- Ramones:The True Story. Classic Rock Legends. B000CRSF6W.
- Jonathan R. Pieslak, Sound targets: American soldiers and music in the Iraq war, Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-22087-4, p. 195.
- Small Soldiers soundtrack
- The 1,001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now! Blender.