I first heard this song on the Age of Atlantic sampler LP that I had as a kid. That I still have. (There’s a nice piece about it, and its great plasticine cover, here.)
Led Zeppelin had two tracks on the record: this one and Whole Lotta Love. I was, of course, aware of the latter from Top of the Pops’ use of the CCS version. Still, it was something of a thrill to hear the original in all its glory.
During that period, at a time when punk and new wave were all the rage, it was decidedly uncool to like Led Zeppelin. And quite right too. But Communication Breakdown was the song I always used to play to friends to convince them that Zep were different from the proggy nonsense that we were all supposed to despise. Of course, I was misleading them a bit because this song isn’t necessarily typical of their work, not least with its two-and-a-half minutes running time.
I think I even argued that it had a direct influence on punk. Which maybe it did.