Revisiting Led Zeppelin’s “In Through The Out Door” 

The final studio album by Led Zeppelin went No.1 on the charts despite being smashed by critics

Revisiting Led Zeppelin’s “In Through The Out Door” 

“In Through The Out Door”, Led Zeppelin’s 8th studio album released on August 15th, 1979 it’s one of the band’s best sellers, however was smashed by critics when it first came out. Recorded in Sweeden at ABBA’s Polar Studios, it’s considered the softest of all Zeppelin albums, it is heavily influenced by Synthesizers, leaving less space to Jimmy Page and John Bonham to play around with the tracks.  The songs on the record, mainly written by Plant and John Paul Jones,  are a reflection of some dramatic events that the band was going through at the time, such as the death of Robert Plant’s 5 year old son Karac, Plant wrote one of the albums most memorable songs “All Of My Love” to him. Despite the songwriting style less guitar oriented as in the previous Zeppelin albums,  only two tracks “South Bound Saurez” and “All My Love” didn’t received credit by Jimmy Page, drummer Bonham didn’t received any credit in the writing process, as he was going through a period of strong alcohol and drug addiction. In the wake of Punk, the album’s reviews were harsh compared to their other ones, the band that had ruled the 70’s had fallen out of grace among critics, but that didn’t stooped Zeppelin to carry on with plans for a new tour, and as Robert Plant stated years later, they were talking about making another album distinctly different from “In Through The Out Door”, one that was gonna go back to their Heavier Rock roots, as the final product of the 1979 album didn’t really pleased the band. “In Through The Out Door” still features a batch of songs reminiscent of Zeppelin’s signature sound, such as opening track “In The Evening” and final track “I’m Gonna Crawl”. “Carouselambra”, a track dominated by Synthesiser throughout the song, “Fool In The Rain”, the album’s only single,  it’s a bizarre attempt of mixing Rock and Brazillian Samba beats, “South Bound Saurez” leaves the listener in the doubt if Zeppelin is attempting to do something similar to the “Houses Of The Holy” and “Physical Grafitti” period or if it’s just a filler, and to conclude “Hot Dog”, another bizarre blending attempt, this time with Country & Western music, it is catchy, but everyone agrees it’s not Zeppelin using their full potential as musicians and composers. Overall, “In Through The Out Door” it’s a pleasant album to listen to but lacks the sparkle Led Zeppelin got everyone used to, it was unfortunately not the Epitaph they deserved.

Album Art, Packaging and release notes

The original album artwork, which was designed by Hipgnosis that was an English art design group based in London, featured an unusual gimmick: the album had an outer sleeve which was made to look like a plain brown paper bag (reminiscent of similarly packaged bootleg album sleeves with the title rubber-stamped on it), and the inner sleeve featured black and white line artwork which, if washed with water, would become permanently fully colored. There were also six different sleeves featuring a different pair of photos (one on each side), and the external brown paper sleeve meant that it was impossible for record buyers to tell which sleeve they were getting (there is actually a code on the spine of the album jacket which indicated which sleeve it was—this could sometimes be seen while the record was still sealed). The pictures all depicted the same scene in a bar (in which a man burns a Dear John letter), and each photo was taken from the separate point of view of someone who appeared in the other photos. The walls are covered with thousands of yellowed business cards and dollar bills. The photo session in a London studio was meant to look like a re-creation of the Old Absinthe House, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

‘In Through The Out Door’ went to the top of the charts for two weeks on September 8th 1979, giving the band their 8th U.K No. 1

Side 1
1 “In the Evening”
2 “South Bound Saurez”
3 “Fool in the Rain”
4 “Hot Dog”

Side 2
5 “Carouselambra”
6 “All My Love”
7 “I’m Gonna Crawl”

John Bonham: drums and percussion
John Paul Jones: bass guitar, mandolin, keyboards, synthesizer, piano
Jimmy Page: electric and acoustic guitars, Gizmotron, production
Robert Plant: lead vocals


Peter Grant: executive producer
Hipgnosis: record sleeve
Leif Mases: engineering
Jeff Ocheltree: drum tech for John Bonham
Lennart Östlund: assistant engineering

Recorded during:
November–December 1978, Pacific Recording, Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Produced by: Jimmy Page
Release Date: August 15th, 1979
Label: Swan Song

“Fool in the Rain/Hot Dog” Released: 7 December 1979

Strongest tracks:

“In The Evening”,”I’m Gonna Crawl”,”All Of My Love”

Watch Led Zeppelin performing “In The Evening” live at Knebworth Festival, August 1979

Listen to “In Through The Out Door” on Spotify


Watch more Led Zeppelin related videos


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