Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XXI
Date: 96-12-23 06:58:33 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Is it really Monday already? Hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was rather, umm, adventureous, to say the least. Anyway, let's get to the reason I'm writing this and the reason you're reading it. This morning has a kind of Zep II feel to it, so off we go, Led Zeppelin II, track 5, clocking in at 4:15, "Heartbreaker".

I can vividly recall the very first time I heard this song. That riff. That cool riff. One of the first guitar parts I learned to play. (Yeah, I thought I was cool). Jimmy steps out and delivers one of rocks all time great guitar moments. It just grooves along and builds, Bonham and Jonsey right there with him, and then Robert enters the picture with a tale of Annie, who sounds like a pretty tough girl.

      "Hey fellas have you heard the news
       ya know that Annie's back in town
       it won't take long just watch and see
       all the fellas lay their money down
       Her style is new but the face the same
       as it was so long ago
       But from her eyes a different smile
]      like that of one who knows"

During the verse sections Jimmy, John and Jonsey are in one of those tight but loose grooves, as Robert soars above with the vocals. DUHN DUHN, DUHN DUHN, DUHN DUHN, and then back to that riff. As the second verse kicks in Robert spins a personal note on the lyrics, stating that ten years and maybe more have passed since first he laid eyes on miss Annie. Then the gem of this song lyrically comes out:

        "...One thing I do have on my mind
            and if you can clarify please do
            It's the way you call me another guys name
            when I try to make love to you, yeah
            I try to make love...
            Ah give it to me, give it..."

Do you laugh or cry at that? Picturing Robert in the act and some girl calling him, oh, let's say, "David" (OOH) you can just picture the look on his face! Laugh? or cry? Anyway, this leads us to Jimmy's solo. Much has been said, good and bad, about this solo, but make no mistake, in 1969 this was consider awesome. If you compare this to some of the ' 80's guitarists it would be considered sloppy. But Jimmy marches to a different drummer. The intensity in this solo blows away almost any guitar acapella piece ever played. THAT is what seperates Jimmy from the rest. Something else that Jimmy likes to do is play his solo's off the cuff, unrehearsed and unplanned, something the "whiz kids" would never dream of. One way to look at this, the last thing Robert has said is that (Annie) calls him by another guys name when being intimate, so maybe, just maybe Jimmy is going for THAT emotion, that feeling of frustration, anger, hurt, and when a person feels that way they usually don't give a hoot about being "perfect", they're just looking to release the tension. And if you take that approach, Jimmy succeeds beautifully.

Live he always tried to do it differently, and sometimes it didn't work, but, when it did, it was so special. Another key ingrediant in what made Led Zeppelin what they were, they always took a chance. Better to fail than not try at all. And why the wanna-be's never got it right. When you worry about perfection, you sacrifice emotion.

From there the song kicks back in and they rock it out, classic Zeppelin. A song credited to all four members as songwriters. One interesting note on the solo, it was recorded at a totally different time and studio than the song. In a "Guitar World" December 1993 interview with Jimmy, the interviewer notes that the guitar on the solo is actually tuned slightly higher than the song. Jimmy's response: "The pitch is off as well? I didn't know that." (Laughing)

A live staple in Zeps sets, starting off as second song of the night following "Immigrant Song", then moving to encore status, then in a medley with "Whole Lotta Love", then back to encore. This was also played at the Atlantic Records 40th party, and that's all we'll say about that performance. Jimmy and Robert played this on their tour as well, usually second or third song of the set. A song that has stood the test of time, and still played on the radio all the time, with "Living Loving Maid" always being tagged on. Hey, at least when they play "Heartbreaker" on the radio you know you're getting two Zep songs. So enjoy today's look back, and crank up the second album and get your heart broken. Till tomorrow...

Rock on,


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