Jimmy Page's classic solo that turned out to be an "afterthought"

The result is something perfect and unique, which is exactly what the guitarist wanted. This experiment largely determined the sound of the band's subsequent albums...

How Jimmy Page Inspired the 'Heartbreaker' Solo

Quite often, the most famous songs, or beautiful fragments of them, are born quite by accident. At some point, the musician is suddenly visited by a thought, inspiration… And this moment is like some kind of magic: very easily and carelessly, something amazing and completely sublime comes out from under the pen… And this applies not only to texts. Such a moment can come when a genius nervously clutches a guitar or sits at a piano - there are a lot of similar stories, and they are all fascinating in their own way! One of them refers to Jimmy Page - the guitarist of the cult band "Led Zeppelin". Page rarely left his instrument alone for long, as he was a frequent recipient of those magical drops of sudden insight. And one day he composed a classic solo, which, in his own words, was "afterthought".

"Heartbreaker" is the fifth track from the group's second album "Led Zeppelin II". Today, the song is included in Rolling Stone magazine's famous list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". All members of the band were listed as the authors of the masterpiece, but the memorable solo is the merit of Page, and today we will talk in more detail about the moment of his birth ...

Background and background

Led Zeppelin II second studio album cover
The cover of the second studio album «Led Zeppelin II»

The band's second album was written in a particularly stressful time for "Zeppelin" time. In the end 60s years, the British rock team enjoyed their ascent to the top of the world Olympus: Zeppelin made four tours in America and Europe and were at the peak of their glory! But the downside of success was that the band spent a lot of time on the road… The musicians often jammed to somehow pass the days. Not surprisingly, quite a few songs from "Led Zeppelin II" are a consequence of these extended improvisational sessions. Some were recorded in the US, others in the UK... Almost all of the material from the disc was born during the cult tour.

Page and his fellow members wanted to quickly record and release a second album, being at the peak of fame. For this reason, they were forced to carve out chunks of time wherever they could. They once played a sold-out show at the Fillmore East in New York and immediately rushed to the studio! It was night, but the musicians did not think to rest. It is this urgency that drives the record, which showcases the band's evolving musical style...

How did the solo come about?

Incredible Led Zeppelin II recording at Olympic Studios, April 19, 1969
Incredible "Led Zeppelin II" recorded at Olympic Studios, April 19, 1969

When the band arrived at the studio, Page immediately began composing parts. There were many variations, but they were not the same. At some point, it dawned on the guitarist, and a vivid example of his sudden inspiration was a solo for "Heartbreaker"! According to Jimmy himself, it was pure improvisation, which seemed to be born out of nowhere.

Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page

"Led Zeppelin" looking for something that would give the track a much needed edge. A word to the genius himself:

“It was a random thought that suddenly came to my mind. In my melodies, I always tried to do something that no one else had! Something that no one thought about ... The most interesting thing about this solo is that it appeared after we had completed work on the track. It was an afterthought... We recorded it already in another studio. You may have noticed that the sound of the guitar is quite different," Jimmy Page commented in a 1993 interview.

Unique feature

Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page

And indeed: in terms of tonality, the solo differs markedly from the whole track. To record it, Page used Gibson Les Paul, which he connected to the stack "Marshall". The result is something perfect and unique, which is exactly what the guitarist wanted. This experiment largely determined the sound of the band's subsequent albums! But the most interesting thing is that all this splendor was born from an “afterthought”.

Interesting Facts

The story of "No Quarter" (Led Zeppelin)
The story of "No Quarter" ("Led Zeppelin")
  • Subsequently, guitar page solo Named one of the "greatest guitar solos of all time" by Guitar World magazine.
  • "Heartbreaker" is one of two songs "Led Zeppelin", which the band constantly performed at their live performances until the early 80s. In the early 70s, the band often began concerts with Immigrant Song and smoothly transitioned to "Heartbreaker".

  • The track is recorded live in the film The Song Remains the Same.
  • The group presented their cover Nirvana. Performed at one of the concerts, later he entered the collection Sliver the Best of the Box.

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