In Through the Out Door

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In Through the Out Door
Studio album by Led Zeppelin
Released 15 August 1979 (1979-08-15)
Recorded November–December 1978
Studio Polar Studios, Stockholm, Stockholm County, Sweden
Genre Rock
Length 42:25
Label Swan Song
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin chronology
The Song Remains the Same
In Through the Out Door
Singles from In Through the Out Door
  1. "Fool in the Rain"/"Hot Dog"
    Released: 7 December 1979 (1979-12-07)

In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, and their final album of entirely new material. It was recorded over a three-week period in November and December 1978 at ABBA's Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and released by Swan Song Records on 15 August 1979. In Through the Out Door was the band's eighth and final studio release to reach the top of the charts in America, and was the last released by the band before the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980.


The album was named by the group to describe its recent struggles amidst the death of Robert Plant's son Karac in 1977, and the taxation exile the band took from the UK. The exile resulted in the band being unable to tour on British soil for over two years, and trying to get back into the public mind was therefore like "trying to get in through the 'out' door."[1]

In contrast to previous Led Zeppelin albums, In Through the Out Door features much greater influence on the part of bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones and vocalist Robert Plant, and relatively less from drummer John Bonham and guitarist Jimmy Page. Two songs from the album—"South Bound Saurez" and "All My Love"—were the only two original Led Zeppelin songs that Jimmy Page had no part in writing. With the exception of "Darlene," a boogie-woogie based song credited to all band members (which was eventually released on the 1982 album, Coda), Bonham did not receive writing credits for any of the songs recorded at Polar Studios. This diminished input by Page and Bonham is attributed to the two band members often not showing up on time at the recording studio, with Bonham struggling with alcoholism and Page battling heroin addiction.[2] As Jones said, "there were two distinct camps by then, and we [Plant and I] were in the relatively clean one."[3]

Many of the songs were consequently put together by Plant and Jones during the day, with Page and Bonham adding their parts late at night.[4] According to Jones, this was

Following the recording sessions at Polar Studios, the album was mixed at Page's personal studio at his home in Plumpton.[1] "Wearing and Tearing", "Ozone Baby" and "Darlene" were recorded during sessions for this album, but were dropped because of space constraints. All later appeared on Coda.

Album sleeve design[edit]

The original album 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 coloured. 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 bar is the Absinthe Bar, located at 400 Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. The walls are covered with thousands of yellowed business cards and dollar bills. It was re-created in a London studio for the album sleeve design.

The album artwork was designed by Hipgnosis. Storm Thorgerson recalls the design in his book Eye of the Storm:

In 1980, Hipgnosis were nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of best album package for In Through the Out Door.[8]

Release and critical reaction[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau B+[10]
The Daily Telegraph 1/5 stars[11]
MusicHound 4/5 stars[12]
Q 3/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone (mixed)[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[15]
Smash Hits 7/10[16]

The album was intended to be released before the band's twin concerts at Knebworth in 1979, but production delays meant that it was released shortly after their performances at this event. Plant jokingly referred to the delays at times during the performance on 4 August.

Despite receiving poor reviews,[1][17] the album went to No. 1 on Billboard's chart in its second week on the chart. On this album's release, Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue made the Billboard 200 between the weeks of 23 October and 3 November 1979, an unprecedented feat.[1] The album remained on the US top spot for seven weeks and sold three million copies by the end of September 1979.[17] It is also the Led Zeppelin album that has been most weeks on the top of the charts (tied along with Led Zeppelin II). To date, the album has sold six million copies in the US.

Following its release, Plant, Page and Bonham all expressed reservations about the album. In 1990 Plant stated:

In a 1998 Guitar World magazine interview, Page was asked about the paradigm shift of the album's composition and style:

GW: I thought maybe you were losing your enthusiasm for the band.

Page: Never. Never. In fact, Bonzo [i.e. drummer John Bonham] and I had already started discussing plans for a hard-driving rock album after that. We both felt that In Through the Out Door was a little soft. I was not really very keen on "All My Love". I was a little worried about the chorus. I could just imagine people doing the wave and all of that. And I thought, 'That is not us. That is not us.' In its place it was fine, but I would not have wanted to pursue that direction in the future.[19]

In the same interview Page explained that in juxtaposition to the previous Presence album, John Paul Jones was inspired to create new material from his recently purchased Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer, and he was "...working closely with Robert, which was something that had not happened before."[19]

Page said in 2004, "we wanted, after In Through the Out Door, to make something hard-hitting and riff-based again. Of course, we never got to make that album."[20] He is also quoted as saying "It wasn't the most comfortable album. I think it was very transitional... a springboard for what could have been.[21]

On the other hand, former road manager Richard Cole stated in his book Stairway to Heaven during his time with the band, that after John Bonham sat through and listened to 'All My Love', he declared that it was the best song in which he ever heard Robert sing.

In Through the Out Door was Led Zeppelin's final album to be released while the band was together. Drummer John Bonham died the next year on 25 September 1980.


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
American Music Award United States Favorite Pop/Rock Album[22] 1980 Nominee

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "In the Evening"   John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant 6:49
2. "South Bound Saurez"   Jones, Plant 4:12
3. "Fool in the Rain"   Jones, Page, Plant 6:12
4. "Hot Dog"   Page, Plant 3:17
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Carouselambra"   Jones, Page, Plant 10:32
2. "All My Love"   Jones, Plant 5:51
3. "I'm Gonna Crawl"   Jones, Page, Plant 5:30

Sales chart performance[edit]

Chart (1979–80) Peak position
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 3[citation needed]
Austrian Album Charts[23] 20
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[24] 1
French Albums Chart[25] 7
Italian Albums Chart[26] 12
Japanese Albums Chart[27] 2
New Zealand Top 50 Albums Chart[28] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[29] 14
Spanish Albums Chart[30] 5
Swedish Albums Chart[31] 17
UK Albums Chart[32] 1
US Billboard 200[33] 1
West German Albums Chart[34] 28
Year Single Chart Position
1980 "Fool in the Rain" Billboard Hot 100 21[35]

Sales certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina (CAPIF)[36] Gold 30,000x
Australia (ARIA)[37] 2× Platinum 140,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[38] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[39] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Led Zeppelin
Additional personnel


  1. ^ a b c d Dave Lewis (2003), Led Zeppelin: Celebration II: The 'Tight But Loose' Files, London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 1-84449-056-4, pp. 49, 63, 80.
  2. ^ Aizelwood, John, "Closing Time", Q Magazine Special Led Zeppelin edition, 2003, p. 94.
  3. ^ Gilmore, Mikal (10 August 2006). "The Long Shadow of Led Zeppelin". Rolling Stone (1006). Retrieved 9 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Snow, Mat, “The Secret Life of a Superstar”, Mojo magazine, December 2007.
  5. ^ Cavanagh, David. "John Paul Jones On Jimmy Page". Uncut. 
  6. ^ Thorgerson, Storm (1999). Eye of the Storm: The Album Graphics of Storm Thorgerson. pp. 34, 35. ISBN 978-1-86074-259-0. 
  7. ^ Alan di Perna, Guitar World Presents Pink Floyd, pg. 104, Hal Leonard Corporation 2002, ISBN 0-634-03286-0
  8. ^ "Grammy Award for Best Album Package (Hipgnosis) – 27 February 1980". Grammy. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  9. ^ link
  10. ^ link
  11. ^ McCormick, Neil (23 April 2014). "Led Zeppelin's albums ranked from worst to best". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 662. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  13. ^ October 2000.
  14. ^ link
  15. ^ link
  16. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (September 20 – October 3, 1979): 25. 
  17. ^ a b Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, pp. 89–90.
  18. ^ Mat Snow, “Apocalypse Then”, Q magazine, December 1990, p. 82.
  19. ^ a b Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, "Light and Shade", Guitar World, January 1998.
  20. ^ Charles Shaar Murray, “The Guv’nors'”, Mojo, August 2004, p. 75.
  21. ^ Liner notes for the Led Zeppelin boxed set.
  22. ^ "Favorite Pop/Rock Album – 18 January 1980". rockonthenet. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  23. ^ "Top 75 Albums – 15 October 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  24. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 32, No. 6, November 3, 1979". RPM. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  26. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 1979". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  27. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 25 August 1979". Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  28. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Albums – November 1979". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8. 
  29. ^ "Top 20 Albums – 16 September 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 15 December 1979". PROMUSICAE. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  31. ^ "Top 60 Albums – 7 September 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  32. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 8 September 1979". Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  33. ^ "The Billboard 200 – 15 September 1979". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  34. ^ "Top 100 Albums – November 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  35. ^ [1][dead link]
  36. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  37. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2007 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  38. ^ "British album certifications – Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter In Through the Out Door in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  39. ^ "American album certifications – Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Best Disco Album in the World by various artists
UK Albums Chart number one album
8–22 September 1979
Succeeded by
The Pleasure Principle by Gary Numan
Preceded by
Get the Knack by The Knack
Billboard 200 number-one album
15 September – 2 November 1979
Succeeded by
The Long Run by Eagles