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Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin

Album: Led Zeppelin IIReleased: 1969
  • This opens side 2 of Led Zeppelin II and goes right into "Livin' Lovin' Maid (she's just a woman)" on the album. Radio stations usually play them together, but "Maid" was never performed live by Led Zeppelin.
  • A crowd favorite, Led Zeppelin sometimes opened live shows with it.
  • At concerts, Jimmy Page would stretch out the guitar solo and incorporate bits of other songs, like "Greensleeves," "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," and Bach's "Bouree in C minor."
  • Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father.
  • Led Zeppelin opened many of their live shows in 1971 and 1972 with "Immigrant Song," followed by a segue right into this. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
  • Jimmy Page's legendary guitar solo on this song inspired a young Eddie Van Halen to create his "tapping" technique after he saw Led Zeppelin perform live at the Long Beach Arena in 1972, which can be heard on the CD How The West Was Won.
  • Page's unaccompanied solo is pitched slightly higher than the rest of the song. The guitarist explained to Guitar World in 1998: "The interesting thing about the solo is that it was recorded after we had already finished 'Heartbreaker' – it was an afterthought. That whole section was recorded in a different studio and it was sort of slotted in the middle."
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Comments: 92

Page with another awesome riff. One of my favorites from Zeppelin.Thomas - Roswell, Nm
Comment on the article: Eddie Van Halen didn't invent finger tapping, he certainly took it to new heights, but it had been used for decades before, on instruments other than the guitar as well.Josh - Champaign, Il
This song practically alone, inspired me to pick up the guitar. Kaleo from L.A. said everything really. It's how you play it that counts. Who cares if you nail the same solo night after night? I damn sure don't. If you play the same thing, the emotion and feeling and just the whole FUN of it is lost. In Mr. Holland's Opus, he says that music is about fun. That is one of the best statements EVER made in a movie or real life.Dusty - St. Louis, Mo
I, personally, think the song is wonderful and Page is probably the best guitarist out there. Jimi Hendrix is great, you really can't deny that, but most the attention he gets is on the way he held his guitar. If that is the way you learn to play then that is how you are going to play. I will say that Hendrix is the only person who might put more soul into his playing than Page. And just to say the line "I don't care what the people say I know where their job is at" is one of the greatest- I use it all the time lol.Kyl - Mesa, Az
Heartbreaker has a beautifully constructed riff and a CRAZY unaccompanied solo. The solo is unique in its construction... agreed it is not very melodious but is insane and filled with raw power... and thats why I love it.Revanth - Hyderabad, India
for anyone who said this was a sloppy solo (shame on you)David - Los Angeles , Ca
Lisa, i think The Who is pretty cool but Led Zeppelin throws 'em out the door.David - Los Angeles , Ca
Pet Townsend wishes he could play as well as Jimmy Page.I think The Who sucks ....always have thought that always will. I think ole deaf Pete is a LITTLE jealous of the mighty Zeppelin.The Who cannot even come close to wonder that is Led Zeppelin.

In a interview I have(from the mid 70's) on CD Jimmy talks about the guitarist he grew up in the same time as he did and same influences they all had, Beck Clapton and even Townsend was mentioned.Jimmy never said anything negative about Townsend. Hell it was Rodger Daultry that saw Zeppelin at Royal Albert Hall 1970 thats' where he introduced Jimmy to his lady of 12 years and mother to his daughter Scarlett Charlotte .Keith Moon knew John B. and they admired each other.

So pete Townsend you really showed what a prick you really are.
Lisa - Blountville , Tn
I have been a Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page fan for over 25 years now. I have amassed over 100 live Led Zeppelin bootlegs on albums, tapes, cd's, videos and dvd's. I must say that in all my bootlegs and such, Led Zeppelin NEVER opened with "Heartbreaker". They did open with "Immigrant Song" and then segued into "Heartbreaker" (as the 2nd song) of the set). but never as the opener.Christopher - Dallas, Tx
How have so many people been deceived into believing that this is a sloppy solo?Schweet - Cincinnati, Oh
Nirvana did a live cover on this song (from the album - Sliver: best of the box). The crowd is cheering for them to play the song, Kurt is heard yelling "I don't know how to play it!" Quite funny when he starts singing in his screaming grunge style voice.Ben - Ocean City, Nj
Was watching a DVD series, Time/Life's History of Rock and Roll, specifically the volume entitled "Guitar Heroes". Jimmy Page is interviewed at some length, interspersed with other guitar greats, including Pete Townsend. I just about fell out of my chair when Townsend was asked about Led Zepplin. His response: "I can't stand them, I hate their music". He went on to say he thinks he has a mental block that causes him to dislike their music, and that he likes all the individual band members personally, but he just can't stand any of their songs. Pretty harsh for a fellow Brit who moves in the same circles. I saw an interview once where Keith Richards completely trashed Bruce Springsteen, but, hey, they didn't play the same small clubs in the UK together for 5 or 6 years. Pretty surprising.David - Orlando, Fl
I love the riff in the outro. It's probably the main reason I listen to this song.Vic - Knoxville, Tn
I don't think it's a sloppy solo. It's a LOOSE solo and it's a style of playing. The opposite would be to play real tight like Joe Satriani. Now some people CAN'T play tight, they can only play loose :) I think Page was good enough he could have played it "cleaner" but the way he did it is part of his style. And that's good, it's like the difference between a human drummer and a drum machine.Al - Vancouver, Bc
hey pete, page has inspired a hell of alot more than you have, and i dont think that you can do a better job. dude it was in the 70s too man,the recording equipment wasnt all that great. besides its still as inovative as hell. go mormans!Nate - Provo, Ut
FACT: it is a sloppy solo - and most of Page's live performances are jerky and imprecise. The question is: do you like it or not?Pete - Kansas City, Ks
I'll admit the guitar solo is a bit sloppy. But it's cool, because he made that up right on the spot. I probably wouldn't be able to do that. Jimmy Page is an awesome guitarist. They're all awesome.Pippin - Rhye, Ca
This was often, in about '71-'72, played live immediately after The Immigrant Song. In fact, as soon as the Immigrant Song ended, they instantly went straight into Heartbreaker. As heard on BBC Sessions, Disk 2.Peter Griffin - Quahog, Ri
el mejor solo... se pasa jimmyMirna - Portoviejo, Ecuador
Great solo. Jimmy Page is number 1.Thang - Led Zep, Viet Nam
its was solos like the one in this song that imspired Eddie Van Halens style of playingJambi - T-town, Mi
The solo in this is great. Yes its sloppy, but that's part of Page's style and I think if they had edited out all the mistakes it would sound fake. The sloppiness just adds to the feeling of the solo. aaaahhh its amazing. The only thing I had ever wondered about this song is why it seems to cut off at the end! lolMelanie - Seattle, Wa
bill from topeka- WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? the gutar part in the middle is amazingSeamus - Cloumbia, Ct
Good Song but the guitar part in the middle isn't very goodBill - Topeka, Ks
Sloppy? That's an interesting word to use here. By that standard, that makes Hendrix a sloppy player as well.

There's a huge difference between being a sloppy player and being a soulful player.

Page puts more soul into his songs than almost (Not as much as Jimi) anyone that's ever played. To say his playing is sloppy is... well, wrong.
Steve - Boston, Ma
Okay... it was used as an opener. Obviously not the first song played, but at the same time... it was... It's not perfectly correct but I don't think it's anything to freak out about...

Anyway, yes he does make mistakes in the song, no I don't think he ment to, but yes he did mean to leave it in. If you listen to their songs there are lots of mistakes (But you have to dig them out and really listen usually; I mean... EVERYONE is gonna make mistakes no matter how hard they try to find all the little faults) BUT their songs are so professional. There ARE mistakes but really.... it's EXTREMELY hard to find mistakes in their songs. Little errors and whatnot.

Heartbreaker was done on the spot, probably the first take (He only did 3 takes of his improvised songs anyway) and left with the little mistakes and pauses to add what everyone else here has alreadyn stated. He could have redone it, edited it out or whatever but listen to it.

The whole band stops, it's a different guitar sound.... it's just him uncut playing right there. No he didn't intentionally mess up but he intentionally put stuff in there.

And you can listen to him play it BEAUTIFULLY live too. Usually when the hammeron/pulloff thing gets a little weak it's because he's raising the guitar above his head or something. Watch (or listen) to the solo on 5-25-75 for some mess ups (when he's messing around) and 'perfect' technique when he's serious.


With that said, he IS a sloppy guitarist. No way around it. He admits it. But he also is the most improvisationistic (????) guitarist.. pretty much ever... and those two kind of go hand to hand.


AND IN ANY CASE, IN THE STUDIO HE IS VERY VERY professional and would fix anything thing he didn't love.

sorry for being long winded!! :D
Craig - Springfield, Or
This is one of my most favourite Led Zeppelin songs, ever. I love how the bass and guitar are played together giving it a real heavy sound. Amazing. And I think the guitar solo is perfect. I don't really find it sloppy at all. I've heard so many more guitar solos that are probably 100 times more "sloppy" than some people think this one is. I think it's done very well.Mandy - Calgary
This has to be my all-time favorite bassline. John Paul Jones played it through a Leslie rotating cabinet. It's distorted and Jonesey uses a pick.George - Trenton, Oh
Everyone who thinks that the solo is sloppy should try to play it themselvesWilson - Atlanta, Ga
I love this song. I love the guitar solo. It is a sloppy guitar solo, whether done purposely or not. There is one thing I find very, very offensive posted by some people here, and that is because we're not musicians, we aren't entitled to our opinions and to criticize. That's what the comment section is all about. No, none of us can play like Page. I would say everyone who posted here is a huge Page and Zep fan. We are all entitled to voice our opinions, even if they are critical. Music is subjective. Some people love a song that others wonder why it was ever recorded.David - Youngstown, Oh
GREATEST guitar solo ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Great bassline too!!!
Angelo - Las Vegas, Nv
Heartbreaker is definetly one of the greatest Led Zeppelin works.

to Nick of Vancouver, Eddie Van Halen was greatly influenced by Page's solo, and without it, I doubt Eruption would even Exist.
Joseph - Kingsland, Ga
Jimmy Page could have recorded it any way he wanted to. I mean, he's the guy who played the solo on "Stairway To Heaven" perfectly in every live performance. He wanted it to be sloppy, and the result was a lot of emotion. Underrated.Jonathon - Clermont, Fl
You all need to lighten up a bit. Led Zep didn't write songs to be graded by a bunch of rock star wanna be never will be's ! None of us, me included, are worthy enough to hold JP's jock strap. Just enjoy the music.Period. Man, I hate critics !Heywood - Buttfuch, Mt
Amen Ele. I couldn't agree with you more. That applies to any kind of musical instrument. Some of my favorite guitar solos are the ones, that have lots of feeling. Granted that I hardly have any guitar playing experience. I mean some of the best songwriters aren't always the best singers.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
no one tells a story perfect, it then sounds rehearsed and not from the soul. the struggle to get it right give it the human touch which we all can relate, artists want to deliver a sincere show and this song makes that point
essential it is a hard
Iceman - South Glastonbury, Ct
What can I say that hasnt already been said?
Jimmys solo has got to be one of the best Ive ever heard, its just so electric, it sends shivers up my spine!
Awesome song, awesome solo, awesome band!
Olivia - County Durham , England
When played together with "Livin' Lovin' Maid", it is commonly referred to as "Heartbreakin' Lovin' Maid".Steve - Laconia, Nh
However "sloppy" the solo may be, it must be how Jimmy wanted it to sound, just listen to the live version performed about three years later on HTWWW. A guitarist of Page's skill certainly could've cleaned it up by then if he felt it was necessary (which it obviously wasn't), or some of you critics should just do some research on 'Chicken-Pickin'.David - Orlando, Fl
the riff is pretty sweet. I love this song.Devon - Westerville, Oh
there are some really ridiculous comments on here. jimmy page's solo in heartbreaker is a prime example of being a musician. granted, there was "sloppiness", meaning it wasnt played perfectly articulated or with the most precise technique. but that isnt what making music about, its not what being a musician is about, and it never will be. anyone can play a super fast solo with good technique. all that takes is practicing your finger skills or whatever. that has absolutely zero to do with being a musician...jimmy page's solo in heartbreaker is so incredibly RAW! its got so much feeling. and the fact that its sloppy makes it even better. music shouldnt be able to be reproduced with a computer. ROCK OUT.Ele - Takoma Park, Md
In the middle of the guitar solo on the live album "How the west was won" , page breaks out playing Bouree in E Minor, A Bach piece written for Lute and adapted for classical guitar.Kurdt - Concord, Nh
Heartbreaker;- The 'solo' did not, and does not need to be "edited," "learnt,"or "stumble" free. It is improvised and will probably never be the same way twice. It fits in majestically with the reference points provided by the other instruments within the style that is 'purely' theirs. That is the point of 'artistic creativity' I appreciate most within this fantastic piece of work.Alan - Newcastle, England
yeah the live versions ROCK!Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
Ah, classic Led. Full of movement and beat, it sounds really good in a car stereo! a strong beat is very prominent in this song, with the base coming in after the starting guitar. Not necessiairly their best solo, but good none the less. Live versions rock more though. AMazing song, and a top ten for me!Stephen - Steamboat, Co
Think of the context people... chances are he was completely doped up during the recording of this song, which makes the 'mistakes' totally acceptable. Awesome song.Sam - Shanghai, China
I think I gotta agree with you on that one Jeanette. The sloppiness is just part of his playing style. I don't get why people are so picky.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
do you guys seriously think that page couldn't play the solo? if anyone REALLY WANTED to play the solo, (as page might) they could sit down and learn it. its that simple. hes either too lazy to learn it right, or he feels its not necessary because the "slop" is part of the style. and i doubt hes just incapable of learning it.Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
Solo's great. The intro is awesome too!Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Oh yeah.... You'd better get that comment about the set opener off "immediately"! I have a feeling Peter's getting ready to snap!Scott - Charlotte, Nc
Yeesh! Some people! How picky can you be.... sloppy this... sloppy that.... Rest assured folks; Whatever it sounds like, it sounds EXACTLY the way Page wanted it to sound. For the record; one legitimate fact from Page himself: The guitar solo and the rest of the song were recorded at two different times and if you listen carefully, you can hear that there's a very slight difference in the intonation from one to the other.Scott - Charlotte, Nc
1) I ENJOY very much the song itself.
2) There are mistakes during the solo:anyway I don't know, and I don't care if they were intended to be there
3) Whoever, above, has written sentencies with the word "most" or "ever", talking about the song or about Page or the Zeps themselves, needs to listen to MUSIC a little more.Well maybe not a litte...
Angelo - Rome, Italy
this is undoubtedly the greatest guitar solo to ever be played. I heard that he has never played this song without making a mistake. i Have got almost half way through it and its the hardest thing to playRicky - Birmingham, England
Heartbreaker was never used as a set opener. Please take that off immediately.Peter - Everett, Ma
This song is great! Okay, I think some of us are overdoing it when we say Page is GOD, but then he is the best guitarist the world has ever known and I LOVE the solo! At first I didn't really like it that much, but soon I it grew on me and Heartbreaker became one of the best things that ever happened to me! The solo is awesome! If you don't like it, you'll just have to listen to it a few more times! :)Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
sorry, is NOT the bach´s originalBruno - Cordoba, Argentina
The part of bouree in the solo is the bach´s original, is the ian anderson adaptation from jethro tull album Stand UpBruno - Cordoba, Argentina
guys, do u realize how hard this solo is to play, this thing is like insane, and i noticed that for alot of songs it seems that page would leave in alot of mistakes to make it feel like u were there with him listening to him play. this solo blows my mindDanny - Vancouver, United States
it may be kind of sloppy, but still one of the best songs by one of the best bands of all timeZola - Dublin, Oh
I heard somewhere that this solo was kind of an impromptu one...that Page didn't know he was supposed to solo and that when he did, he just pieced notes together.Matt - Millbrae, Ca
Who dares critizise Page, his solos or even Bonham?. Page is the greatest guitarst of all times, except for Hendrix... This solo is superb in every aspect of it. To Dave: kaelo is right, if you have no idea about music, or haven't even touched a guitar, don't speak. I doub't that any of those conservatory freaks (vai, malmsteen and company) can play this solo the way he does, they may hit the notes with incredible precision/speed, but they don't have that feeling... Even if he had made mistakes, he wouldn't have been dumb enough to leave it like that if he didn't want to. And this so called "sloppiness" adds to his style and bluesiness in my opinion. Another thing, you can't talk about Led Zeppelin without talking about blues, being the founder of metal or not... John Paul Jones bassline is indeed awsome, and I pitty the fool who critizised Bonham's drums, drumplaying doesn't get any better than that, except for Mitch Mitchels and Keith Moon. For the future: if you are an ignorant, please don't speak...Federico - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kaleo is absolutely right. Chicken picking is what Page was going for here, and the sloppy sounding solo only adds to the greatness. Notice how in all the versions you hear the "mistakes" are very similar. Research Page a little bit on this song and youll understand what were saying. Id like to see Eddie Van Halen try to play this solo with the same...swagger. The style of the solo just adds to the style of the song, a real hardcore feel.Zack - Hinesburg, Vt
to rob, im just pointing out, van halens eruption was pretty sloppy in the part just before the tapping, theres a mistake kind of like pages. Page is God.Nick - Vancouver, Canada
.... it is not one of the best solos ever it is in fact very sloppy. However, it was written in 1969, at the time it was pretty impressive. You have to give page credit for attempting it.... Sure it's sloppy and easy to play now, but guitar has evolved.. everything is relative.
- Dave, Winnipeg, Canada

Hey Dave, something you should know: you aren't a very capable music critic. Jesus, do any of you posers even play guitar (and I don't mean Linkin Park riffs)?! And the guy who said he nailed the live version of the solo on the DVD - B*!!s%*#!!! there is a difference between merely PLAYING the notes in a solo and HOW you play the notes in a solo, and unless this guy is a frickin virtuoso among virtuosos, I seriously doubt he nailed crap except the tabs he found on the internet. The technique Page uses on the Heartbreaker solo is called chicken picking, and he uses it alot. It is an inherently sloppy style only because it is really hard to do, and it is usually done in blues, country, and rockabilly forms, which require a little something called rythm. Unlike tap-hammer styles used by the likes of Van Halen, Steve Vai and lesser wielders of the buttrock style, chicken picking requires alot more of rythmic consistency and variation rather than continuity of notes. Hence, the gaps in the output of notes are rather characteristic of a selective rythmic structure, much as a creative drummer doesn't just slam his kick on every damn beat in a measure, or a slap funk bassist doesn't hit every note (Les Claypool is a prime example-just what the hell would Primus sound like if they played with beethoven's precision?). So for all you knit-picky music lovers who think crisp, precise solos are what rockin out is all about, you can keep Yngvie Malmsteen, but it pays 2 play the page, mofo's!
Kaleo - Los Angeles, Ca
the solo of this in How The West Was Won is awesome!!!!Nicole - Hampstead, Nc
MY FAVOURITE LED ZEPPELIN SONG OF ALL TIME!!! I regularly close gigs with this song and the whole place usually buzzes. Took me all of 10 minutes to leard the solo from the "How The west Was Won" Version. Incredible song. Still gets me going as soon as i bend the first G. AAHH.Guisseppe - Bradford Uk, England
Who cares if its sloppy? His imperfection add to the charm of it. I dont think i would like any of Zepps stuff quite as much if Mr. Page was was perfect. I like the sloppiness.Jimmy - Rugby, England
Intentional or not, Page's sloppy style adds to Zeppelin's bluesiness. Due to his influence, many famous guitarists intentionally go for the sloppy sound: Neil Young, Angus Young, Slash, Kurt Cobain, to name a few. It's now part and parcel of what guitarists call "feel".Rob - Santa Monica, Ca
I usually don't like solos, but this one blows my socks off! But kinda weird how its not very smooth, Page stumbles a bit. Wouldn't they have edited it or something?Maddie - Knoxville, Tn
yeah Page was a sloppy guitarist... he often made his little sloppy mistakes unlike Van Halen or Hendrix who usually hit everything perfectly... this is a great song... i love teh Nirvana cover tooRob - Castaic, Ca
The solo may have been sloppy, but it's still greatm and the guitar work after the solo is simply amazing.

the worst solo btw was on an elvis tune - the giotarist just fell apart and lost his way - elvis laughed so hard and as a lark put into the final cut - hysterical.
Princess J - Toronto, Canada
stop criticizing the song, it rocks. period.Diego - Panama, Other
everybody who types things like its "sloppy" can not listen to the song as the band intended it to, the song isone of led zeppelins greatests. martyr rulesJosh - Perth, Australia
I think Bonzo could have written a better drum part to this song. Most of his fills don't go well with the music and he doesnt really put them in the right places.Ryan - Los Angeles, Ca
I agree with Pat, really nice bass lineDiego - Panama, Other
well maybe Page plays this solo in a sloppy way, but people... u cant deny that the song kicks ass and the (sloppy) solo is really cool (in fact, its a "real" guitar solo, cuz its just the guitar... ¡solo!) hahaha peace.

(and.. sorry about my "sloppy english" hehehe
Diego - Panama, Other
Page is great and all (He's my favortive guitarist of all time). But lets not overlook JPJ bassline's in this song.Pat - Pennsauken, Nj
Page is God. Even though he made mistakes, the quality and complexity of his musicianship is mind-numbing. I'd like to hear anyone up here play it better than Page.Wocky - Atlanta, Ga
Jimmy Page has admitted himself that the solo was an after thought, that's why if you listen carefully to the you can pinpoint two locations in the song where there is no sound for half a second. That's because the song was originally written without a solo. Page later wrote the solo in a seperate studio and spliced it into the song.Mike - Ontario, Canada
.... it is not one of the best solos ever it is in fact very sloppy. However, it was written in 1969, at the time it was pretty impressive. You have to give page credit for attempting it.... Sure it's sloppy and easy to play now, but guitar has evolved.. everything is relative.Dave - Winnipeg, Canada
Great solo, sure he missed some notes,(so says you) but even his horrible solos beat out just about anyone else's, with the exception of hendrix and a few others.Mark Bacigalupo - Windham, Nh
Hehe i'm a HUGE zeppelin fan, i love them. But let's be honest. The guitar solo is great...if you take it as a joke! just listen to it very close, jimmy plays awfuly in it!when he starts playing the fast part, you can clearly hear a lot of mistakes he does, a lots of little silent gaps, and take into account that the one included in the song, must have been the best take he could do!
I love Jimmy Page, but lets not take him as a god. He can commit mistakes, and in this solo we can clearly see it.
Ramiro - Buenos Aires, Argentina
if you really listen to the beginning part of the solo, you can hear page....i dont know what to call it....stumble? he just kinda pauses for a split second...surprised they didnt edit that out or anythingKyle - Memphis, Tn
I recently saw an article in a guitar magazine that said this was one of the worst solos of all time, i couldnt believe it, i think it is one of the best.Anonymous
The studio version of this song is awesome, but the version on How The West Was Won is even better! Page stretches out the middle solo for two or three minutes and incorporates some fret work that somewhat mirrored the opening of "Over the Hills and Far Away" which had just been recorded a month or two before. The blend of that with the electrifying speed showcases not only the incredible skill of Jimmy Page, but also his diversity.Adrian - Wilmington, De
BEST SOLO EVER. Eruption's a close second, thoughBob - Mt. Laurel, Nj
mmm good riff.....Ben - Adelaide, Australia
I think this is one of the best solos of all time.Nate - Lincoln, Ne
Love this song...it pumps me up.Amanda Craigie - Winnipeg, Canada
Jimmy Page is one of the greatest guitar players ever, it is proved in this songHarry - Seaville, Nj
One of the best solos I've ever heard.Dan - Concord, Ca
Some of the greatest guitar work ever. Catchy riff, and great solo.Brian - Paoli, In