Archive | May 25, 2017

Certain Songs #890: Led Zeppelin – “Communication Breakdown”

Album: Led Zeppelin
Year: 1969

Rocketing out of the final notes of “Black Mountain Side” like a pissed off laser beam, “Communication Breakdown” was not just a 2:30 shot of finely amplified adrenalin but also an anomaly in Led Zeppelin history: it’s probably the only song where John Bonham couldn’t figure out what to do.

I didn’t even realize it until a couple of years ago, but on the verses, Bonham is playing against the energy of the song. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant & John Paul Jones are all hopping a supersonic rocket ship to the moon, and with every single beat, Bonham is trying to keep it anchored to Earth. It’s a very weird drum part.