Not The Best Pickup Lines

‘Communication Breakdown’ was written by Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham & Robert Plant was later also given credit.  This song is about a guy with serious dating problems, who just doesn’t know what to say to this girl that he likes and it became an anthem for frustrated youth.  Led Zeppelin recorded nine albums between 1968 and 1979, but they broke up in early 1981 after the tragic death of their drummer John Bonham, thus bringing an end to one of rock’s greatest bands. ‘Communication Breakdown’ is on their 1969 debut album titled ‘Led Zeppelin’.  It was released as the B-side of ‘Good Times Bad Times’, the group’s first single in the US.

Jimmy Page helped shape and define the future of rock & roll, with his first recording session starting out in 1963 instrumental song ‘Diamonds’ by former Shadows bassist Jet Harris, and Page quickly became a heavily in-demand commodity in the studio world.  Page jammed on a rock track with the Kinks, ‘I’m a Lover, Not a Fighter’, the Rolling Stones ‘Heart of Stone’, Van Morrison Them ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’, Petula Clark, ‘Downtown’, the Who ‘Bald Headed Woman’, Donovan ‘Sunshine Superman’, Joe Cocker, ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’, Dave Berry ‘The Crying Game’, Nashville Teens ‘Tobacco Road’ and he also played on pop hits by Marianne Faithfull ‘In My Time of Sorrow’ and Shirley Bassey ‘Goldfinger’ among others.  Page and multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones both worked together with Donavan on his songs ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, ‘Teen Angel’ and ‘The Trip’ and ‘Sunshine Superman’.

The story of Led Zeppelin starts with the Yardbirds a British band from the early ‘60s.  Two months after the group formed, they lost their lead guitarist and Eric Clapton became the group’s second lead guitarist from 1963-1965, but he left to play with Jon Mayall.  They asked Jimmy Page to be his replacement, but he was too busy doing session work, so he declined and recommended his childhood friend Jeff Beck to replace Eric.  Beck’s sister Annetta attended art college with Jimmy Page, so it was convenient for her to introduce Jimmy to her brother Jeff when they both were teenagers.  Jeff Beck played lead guitar from 1965-1966.  Jimmy Page started out playing bass with the Yardbirds before he took over as the lead guitarist from 1966-1968.  In 1967, the Yardbirds went to Australia and New Zealand as part of a triple-headline package tour called The Big Show which featured Roy Orbison and the Walker Brothers.

In 1968, Yardbirds song writers Keith Relf and Jim McCarty decided to fold the group, as they wanted to make a total break from music, but Jimmy Page wanted to keep the group going and from September thru October 1968, he started up the New Yardbirds by adding singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham for a tour in Scandinavia.  In October 1968 they took the name Led Zeppelin, which stemmed from a humorous conversation among several musicians about their chances of going down like a lead balloon.

While Orbison toured Australia, he was promoting his new single ‘Communication Breakdown’ which was a Top 10 hit there. Guitarist Jimmy Page of the Yardbirds was so taken with the single, that he asked Orbison if he could have permission to nab the title for a song he was writing.  Page wrote the guitar riff for ‘Communication Breakdown’ which he said was inspired by Eddie Cochran’s ‘Nervous Breakdown’ and the rest of the band wrote the song around it.  Page said that the band played this song during their first rehearsal from material that he had already had in mind, like ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ and some other things and they knew just how good it was.  The down-stroke riff of ‘Communication Breakdown’ comes very close to being considered as punk seven years ahead of schedule and some people say that Led Zeppelin started Heavy Metal.

Jimmy Page popularized his flashy rapid-fire picking technique using his Fender Telecatser on this song, which went on to become the norm for rock guitarists.  ‘Communication Breakdown’ was ahead of its time, due to Page’s rocking solo and Led Zeppelin never got rawer or more harder-hitting than they did with this song.  Page ran his guitar through a fully closed Vox wah-wah pedal to create the track’s wickedly distinctive lead tone.  Page said the pounding guitar riff is difficult to play because of the constant, quick down stroke with the pick.  Robert Plant sang lead vocals on ‘Communication Breakdown’ and this is one of the few songs which Page sang a backing vocal.  Spin Magazine ranked this song as #28 out of all the 87 songs that Led Zeppelin did.  Led Zeppelin was much more than an average band as they went on to become so successful and innovative that they wound up creating the prism through which their entire music of the ‘70s was seen.

Hey girl stop what you’re doin’!
Hey girl you’ll drive me to ruin.
I don’t know what it is that I like about you
But I like it a lot.
Won’t you let me hold you
Let me feel your lovin’ charms.

Communication breakdown
It’s always the same
I’m having a nervous breakdown
Drive me insane!

Hey girl I got something I think you ought to know.
Hey babe I want to tell you that I love you so.
I want to hold you in my arms, yeah!
I’m never gonna let you go,
‘Cause I like your charms.

Communication breakdown
It’s always the same
I’m having a nervous breakdown
Drive me insane!

Communication breakdown
It’s always the same
I’m having a nervous breakdown
Drive me insane!

(Communication breakdown) I want you to love me all night
(Communication breakdown) I want you to love me
(Communication breakdown) I want you to love…yeah! I want you to love!

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Average, for FOWC with Fandango – Prism, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Convenient and for Scotts Daily Prompt – Permission.

12 thoughts on “Not The Best Pickup Lines

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