Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day LIII
Date: 97-05-22 07:19:31 EDT
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Let me tell ya, it has been so difficult to pull myself away from the new Physical Grafitti outtakes tape to do a song of the day, I almost did one for that tape. But alas, here we are. So I thought something very energetic would do quite nicely. A real barn burner this one, from the very first album, track seven, clocking in at a very short 2:26, "Communication Breakdown."

Jimmy comes out smoking with a muted riff, Bonham accenting the quick chord changes, and then everything explodes as Robert enters with a wild, primitive wail. The youthful energy in Robert's voice shines through, the band is practically flying right out of the speakers. One of Jimmy's first "riff oriented" songs, Jonsey and Bonham grasp ahold of this riff and rock it with all their might.

A simple song to play, yet the simplicity is what makes it so special. A few guitar overdubs added to the chorus, backing vocals from the band as well as Robert, but basically as live as live gets in the studio.

This song was developed on the very first tour, when they were billed as The New Yardbirds. Apparently Jimmy wanted a cookin' song of their own, something other than just a cover of "Train Kept A Rollin'." The mission was accomplished. This song rocks with no doubt.

John Henry Bonham is such a joy to listen here. His talent was there from the very beginning. What he plays seems simple enough, but with just the proper amount of subtleties thrown in that make it so fun.

Jimmy is riffing his rear end off, and after Robert yells, "Ohhhhhh Suck it", Pagey lays down one of his most awesome solo's. Full of fire, notes flying out of his Telecaster left and right, spot on, and the build up he plays behind the vocals when they re-enter for the chorus is simply incredible. This was an era where Jimmy was just about the fastest gun in the biz. On boots from the early tours he is all over the place, just wailing on that guitar. A hyper, frantic side of Jimmy that never fails to inspire tons of kids across the world to grab a guitar, sling it down low, and start working on those pentatonic licks.

A great song that was very well documented in concert by the band. Staring out with the New Yardbirds tour in September 1968, played at all the shows in 1969-70, moving to an encore, then as a medley. Used as an encore treat at the final Earl's Court show, as well as the August 11th Knebworth show, and at a few of the Europe 1980 shows.

"Communication Breakdown" was also played in Zeppelin's only appearence on live TV in the UK, in March of 1969. Robert brought it back out on his solo tours in 1988 and 1990 as well. Funny, because in 1988 while Robert was doing this song, Jimmy had revived "Train Kept A Rollin' " for his own solo tour.

A classic moment in Zeppelin's history that showed the band developing what would later become such a huge part of their style: A song built around a repeating riff. It's all here, great riff, great solo, great rhythm section, great vocals. Rock 'n' Roll summed up in 2:26.

Ohhh... suck...


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