Communication Breakdown

Communication Breakdown
"Communication Breakdown"
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin
A-side "Good Times Bad Times"
Released 10 March 1969
Format 7"
Recorded October 1968, Olympic Studios, London
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock, protopunk[1][2]
Length 2:28
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Bonham/Jones/Page
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Good Times Bad Times" / "Communication Breakdown"
"Whole Lotta Love" / "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)"
Led Zeppelin track listing
"Black Mountain Side"
"Communication Breakdown"
"I Can't Quit You Baby"

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



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

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.

"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.


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.[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 tracklistings

See "Good Times Bad Times" single.


Cover versions

Album versions

  • 2002: Tierra Santa (The Music Remains the Same: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2002: Disengage (Sucking the 70's)
  • 2003: The Fleshtones (Do You Swing?)
  • 2004: Paul Gilbert with John Paul Jones (Guitar Wars)
  • 2004: The Golden Cups (The Golden Cups Recital)
  • 2004: 2 Many DJs (As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 7 [remix])
  • 2005: Led Zepagain (A Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2006: Gazz (The Covers EP)
  • 2006: Studio 99 (Led Zeppelin: A Tribute)
  • 2006: The Rockies (The Music of Led Zeppelin)
  • 2006: Zepparella (Live at 19 Broadway [recorded 28 October 2005])
  • 2007: The Yardbirds (Reunion Jam: Greatest Hits Live)
  • 2008: Pavic (Misty Mountain Hop: A Millenium Tribute to Led Zeppelin)
  • 2008: The Yardbirds Experience (British Thunder)
  • 2010: Slash and Myles Kennedy (Live in Manchester)

Live versions


  • 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


  1. ^ Greg Kot. Led Zeppelin: Album Guide. Rolling Stone.
  2. ^ Barney Hoskyns (2006), Led Zeppelin IV: Rock of Ages, Rodale, Inc., ISBN 1-5948-6370-9.
  3. ^ Everett, True, Hey Ho Let's Go: The Story of The Ramones (2002): 13
  4. ^ Ramones:The True Story. Classic Rock Legends. B000CRSF6W. 
  5. ^ Jonathan R. Pieslak, Sound targets: American soldiers and music in the Iraq war, Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-2532-2087-4, p. 195.
  6. ^ Small Soldiers soundtrack
  7. ^ The 1,001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now! Blender.

External links

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