Communication Breakdown

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This article is about the Led Zeppelin song. For the film by Richard O'Sullivan, see Communication Breakdown (film). For the Roy Orbison song, see Cry Softly Lonely One.
"Communication Breakdown"
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin
A-side "Good Times Bad Times"
Released 10 March 1969 (1969-03-10) (US)
Format 7" 45 rpm record
Recorded Olympic Studios, London, October 1968
Genre
Length 2:30
Label Atlantic (no. 2613)
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Good Times Bad Times" / "Communication Breakdown"
(1969)
"Whole Lotta Love" / "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)"
(1969)

"Communication Breakdown" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, from their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.

Structure[edit]

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.

Live history[edit]

The song was a popular live number at Led Zeppelin concerts, and was the only song to be played during every year that the band toured. It usually either opened shows or was played as an encore.

In a few instances in 1969 "Good Times Bad Times" was used as an introduction to "Communication Breakdown" (as heard on the companion disc to the deluxe edition of their debut album released on 3 June 2014).

"Communication Breakdown" was the last song performed in the year of 1975 and 1979 for the band at Earls Court on 25 May 1975 and Knebworth on 11 August 1979.

Recordings[edit]

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. The version of "Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown" released 15 April 2014, on iTunes, is from 10 October 1969 in Paris, on the European Tour of Autumn 1969.

Legacy[edit]

The 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.[3] 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.[4]

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".[5] The song was also used on the soundtrack to the film Small Soldiers.[6]

"Communication Breakdown" was featured on Blender's 2003 list of "The 1,001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now!"[7]

Formats and track listings[edit]

See "Good Times Bad Times" single.

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • 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

References[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ True, Everett (2002). Hey Ho Let's Go: The Story of The Ramones. Omnibus Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-8444-9413-2. 
  4. ^ Ramones : The True Story. Classic Rock Legends. B000CRSF6W. 
  5. ^ Pieslak, Jonathan R. (2009). Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War. Indiana University Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-253-22087-4. 
  6. ^ "Small Soldiers (1998) – Soundtracks". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "The 1,001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now!". Blender. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 

External links[edit]