The 50 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs
Guitar World presents a critical analysis of Led Zeppelin's 50 best tracks.
10. “Heartbreaker” (Led Zeppelin II)
With its menacing, octave-doubled blues-scale riffs and sexy string bends, this song epitomizes the “Led Zeppelin swagger.” Interestingly, the verse riff features Jones strumming root-fifth power chords on bass, treated with overdrive and tremolo, while Page alternately lays back on decidedly thinner-sounding thumb-fretted octaves — a signature technique heard in his and Jimi Hendrix’s rhythm guitar styles — and punches barre-chord accents together with the bass and drums.
Page recorded the song with his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, which he had recently bought from Joe Walsh, playing the guitar through his newly acquired 100-watt Marshall amplifier. The song also showcases some of Jimmy’s most aggressive, inspired soloing, including a free-form, tantrum-like a capella breakdown section.
Page recorded the breakdown while the band was touring the U.S., using a studio different from the one where the rest of the song’s tracks were cut. He was unaware that his guitar on that particular section was tuned slightly sharp of the rest of the tracks, which are at concert pitch. The discrepancy goes unnoticed to most listeners and only becomes obvious if one goes to play along with the entire recording.
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