Night Music: Led Zeppelin, “Communication Breakdown”

220px-Hindenburg_burningI loved the idea of Led Zeppelin before the first album came out. When it did, I collected my lawn mowing and car washing money and got my mother to drive me to the music store (I was 12, and enthusiastic) and on our way through the shopping center somebody, another person, said hello to me.

But I really didn’t care, because I had the brass in pocket to buy the new Led Zeppelin album that I’d never heard, but I knew was great.

Now, other leaps of faith in ensuing years did not fair so well, but that first Led Zeppelin album is, to my mind, one of the greats of all time. File it under first album apotheosis, this is the record that wooed me and won me.

The second album is equally great, by the way.

So, you know. For tonight’s music, let’s look at the way the Zep handles Communication Breakdown on their Physical Graffiti tour. Not really there, if you’re listening. They’re preening more than playing, right?

But Zeppelin at their best? That’s heaven.

4 thoughts on “Night Music: Led Zeppelin, “Communication Breakdown”

  1. Those are great albums alright. I never saw them but I’ve never heard anything that tells me they were a great live band. No rhythm guitar for one thing. Jimmy Page is overrated as a guitar player but underrated for his fabulous sonic imagination.

  2. Ooh boy, Gene. Page, overrated? We might have to fight outside of Foley’s. I was listening to Zep’s first a while back and it occurred to me that the solo break of “Communication Breakdown” was the first time that trademark “doodee-doodle-dee, doodee-doodle-dee” Page riff was heard. And it’s been used a billion times since (and a billion times more wouldn’t bother me).

    By the way, “How Many More Times” was my final cut for the long songs top five.

  3. Such a great, great album. And, though I loved it when it came out, it did take a while before the Zep really won me over as the great band they are. Not that I disliked them or their songs, but I did tend to think they were a bit over-rated simply because everyone fawned so much.

    But, I more than stand corrected.

    As for the first album, when I was 15, going on 16, I spent my high school semester break (this would be Feb of 1968, or 45 years ago). Peter was a Freshman at UC Berkeley so I went to stay with him at his dorm.

    Well, within two minutes of being his room—and I suspect you all know this story–he had Zep 1 blasting full tilt out the dorm stereos we had in those days. You know, with the GIANT KLH or JBL speakers and Harmon Kardon receivers and AR turntables.

    And, he had a doob in my face and said “get into it.” what could i do? no way i would be uncool. and, that is when i discovered not just dope, but what a wonderful drug it was in combating my Crohns’ disease.

    BTW, Ten Years Gone and Down By the Seaside from Physical Graffiti are among my fave Zep songs. And, I worked a way to play the Dead’s Sugar Magnolia, and segue into How Many More Times, Steve.

Leave a Reply