The song was a crowd favourite at Led Zeppelin concerts, and the band opened many of their live shows in 1971 and 1972 with "Immigrant Song" followed by a segue right into "Heartbreaker". On later concert tours it was often played as an encore. "Heartbreaker" and "Communication Breakdown" were the only songs to be played live during every year that the band toured.
During live performances Page would frequently improvise the playing in his solo, and was also known to include parts of Bach's "Bourrée in E minor" from his Lute Suites (this can be heard on the live albums Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions and How the West Was Won), as well as Simon & Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)", though on official releases this section has been cut. Sometimes the solo would also be stretched out to incorporate sections of the traditional English folk song, "Greensleeves".
A live, filmed version of the song from 1973 at Madison Square Garden, New York City, is included in the Led Zeppelin concert film, The Song Remains the Same, although it is only shown in parts. For many years, this recorded version was left off the film's accompanying soundtrack album, until the album was remastered and re-released in 2007, with the full performance of the song included.
Led Zeppelin's last performance ever of the song was on 29 June 1980, in Zürich. Following Bonham's death, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin performed "Heartbreaker" at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988, at Madison Square Garden, with John's son Jason Bonham on drums. Jimmy Page also performed this song on his tour with the Black Crowes in 1999. A version of "Heartbreaker" performed by Page and the Black Crowes can be found on the album Live at the Greek.
Hey fellas, have you heard the news?
You know that Annie's back in town?
It won't take long just watch and see how the fellas lay their money down.
Her style is new but the face is the same as it was so long ago,
But from her eyes a different smile like that of one who knows.
Well, it's been ten years and maybe more since I first set eyes on you.
The best years of my life gone by, here I am alone and blue.
Some people cry and some people die by the wicked ways of love;
But I'll just keep on rollin' along with the grace from the Lord above.
People talkin' all around 'bout the way you left me flat,
I don't care what the people say, I know where their jive is at.
One thing I do have on my mind, if you can clarify please do,
It's the way you call me another guy's name when I try to make love to you.
I try to make love but it ain't no use.
Give it to me
Work so hard I couldn't unwind, get some money saved;
Abuse my love a thousand times, however hard I tried.
Heartbreaker, your time has come, can't take your evil way;
Go away, heartbreaker.