We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at Led Zeppelin’s fiery TV debut and their show-stopping performance of ‘Communication Breakdown’. It was the first song Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham ever performed for a television audience.
When Led Zeppelin arrived on the bustling music scene in their native Britain, there was a hum of excitement that followed them everywhere. Their sound was unlike anything of the time and led by Jimmy Page’s unstoppable nose for a song, the group looked destined for greatness from the very beginning.
The band’s fanbase may have been situated in Britain but their first show came in Gladsaxe just a few months before their iconic TV debut. It showed the and always had an affiliation with mainland Europe and it was clear the fans there loved them too—even if they don’t necessarily show it in the clip.
On March 17th, 1969, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones took to the TV-Byen studio in Gladsaxe, Denmark, to give one hell of a performance. The band were merely a few months into their journey following Jimmy Page’s departure from The Yardbirds when they found themselves in front of the imposing television cameras.
The band had already released their debut record Led Zeppelin in America but the LP was yet to have a real impact in the UK. The band would play four tracks from that album and provide everyone who listened or saw them with four reasons to pick up the record on their next trip to the record shop. But one song perhaps stuck out more than others, the first taste of Led Zeppelin that much of Denmark ever got—’Communication Breakdown’.
One of the band’s most beloved tracks, ‘Communication Breakdown’ became an anthem for the frustrated youth of the time and quickly became a popular moment in their live shows too. It saw Jimmy Page excel with his guitar and offered up a crystalline image of the future of Led Zeppelin.
The band had clearly captured the attention of a generation with their sound and when looking back at this footage, with a row of kids watching the band like they would a shoddy school assembly, it can seem a bit far-fetched as to what the band would become. Though they may not be the stadium-selling rock behemoths that the new decade would promise, even in this rare and early clip the group are a fire-breathing dragon of a band.
Watch below as Led Zeppelin perform ‘Communication Breakdown’ on Danish TV back in 1969.