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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 is a reflection of the personal turmoil that the band members had been going through before and during its recording. For example, frontman Robert Plant and his wife had gone through a serious car accident, and their young son, Karac Plant, died from a stomach illness. All four band members also felt weary of dealing with record companies and other associates. Despite this, the release wound up being a huge commercial success, particularly in the United States (sitting at the #1 slot on Billboard's chart in just its second week on the chart).


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

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…mainly because I had a new toy. I had this big new keyboard. And Robert and I just got to rehearsals early, basically. [...] With Zeppelin writing, if you came up with good things, and everybody agreed that they were good things, they got used. There was no formula for writing. So Robert and I, by the time everybody turned up for rehearsals, we’d written three or four songs. So we started rehearsing those immediately, because they were something to be getting on with.[5]

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.

Packaging and artwork[]

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 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.[6][7][8][9][10]

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

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The sepia quality was meant to evoke a non-specific past and to allow the brushstroke across the middle to be better rendered in colour and so make a contrast. This self same brushstroke was like the swish of a wiper across a wet windscreen, like a lick of fresh paint across a faded surface, a new look to an old scene, which was what Led Zeppelin told us about their album. A lick of fresh paint, as per Led Zeppelin, and the music on this album... It somehow grew in proportion and became six viewpoints of the same man in the bar, seen by the six other characters. Six different versions of the same image and six different covers.[11]


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Did you ever notice you could affect the dust jacket by putting water on it? If you applied spittle to it or a bit of water, it would change colour, like a children's colouring book we based it on. But we didn't tell anybody. I don't think Zeppelin told anybody, either.[12]

In 1980, Hipgnosis were nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of best album package for In Through the Out Door.[13]

Release and critical reception[]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3Star full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg[15]
Robert ChristgauB+[16]
Classic Rock7/10[17]
The Daily Telegraph1/5 starsStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg[18]
Pitchfork Media8.0/10[20]
Q3/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg[21]
Rolling Stone(mixed)[22]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg[23]
Smash Hits7/10[24]

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][25] 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.[25] 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:

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In Through The Out Door wasn't the greatest thing in the world, but at least we were trying to vary what we were doing, for our own integrity's sake. Of all the [Led Zeppelin] records, it's interesting but a bit sanitised because we hadn't been in the clamour and chaos for a long time. In '77, when I lost my boy, I didn't really want to go swinging around—"Hey hey mama say the way you move" didn't really have a great deal of import any more. In Through The Out Door is more conscientious and less animal.[26]

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

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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.[27]

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."[27]

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."[28] 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.[29]

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 which he ever heard Robert sing.Template:CN

In Through the Out Door was Led Zeppelin's final album to be released while all the original members were still living. 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[30] 1980 Nominee

2015 reissue[]

A remastered version of In Through the Out Door, along with Presence and Coda were reissued on 31 July 2015. The reissue comes in six formats: a standard CD edition, a deluxe two-CD edition, a standard LP version, a deluxe two-LP version, a super deluxe two-CD plus two-LP version with a hardback book, and as high resolution 96k/24-bit digital downloads. The deluxe and super deluxe editions feature bonus material containing alternative takes and previously unreleased songs, "Southbound Piano", "The Epic", "The Hook", and "Blot". The reissue was released with a grayscale version of the original album's artwork as its bonus disc's cover.[31] A replica of the brown bag and the colorable line drawing are included in this edition.

Track listing[]

Standard edition[]

Side one
1."In the Evening"6:53
2."South Bound Saurez"
  • Jones
  • Plant
3."Fool in the Rain"
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant
4."Hot Dog"
  • Page
  • Plant
Side two
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant
6."All My Love"
  • Jones
  • Plant
7."I'm Gonna Crawl"
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant

Deluxe edition bonus disc[]

1."In the Evening" (Rough mix)
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant
2."Southbound Piano" ("South Bound Saurez") (Rough mix)
  • Jones
  • Plant
3."Fool in the Rain" (Rough mix)
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant
4."Hot Dog" (Rough mix)
  • Page
  • Plant
5."The Epic" ("Carouselambra") (Rough mix)
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant
6."The Hook" ("All My Love") (Rough mix)
  • Jones
  • Plant
7."Blot" ("I'm Gonna Crawl") (Rough mix)
  • Jones
  • Page
  • Plant
Total length:42:49


  • John Bonham – drums
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, mandolin, keyboards, synthesizer, piano
  • Jimmy Page – electric & acoustic guitars, Gizmotron, production
  • Robert Plant – lead vocals
  • Barry Diament – mastering (original 1988 Compact Disc release)
  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Hipgnosis – record sleeve
  • Leif Mases – engineering
  • George Marino – remastered Compact Disc release
  • Jeff Ocheltree – drum tech for John Bonham
  • Lennart Östlund – assistant engineering


Chart (1979–80) Peak position
Australian KMR Albums Chart[citation needed] 3
Austrian Albums Chart[32] 15
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[33] 1
French Albums Chart[34] 7
Italian Albums Chart[35] 12
Japanese Albums Chart[36] 2
New Zealand Top 50 Albums Chart[37] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[38] 14
Spanish Albums Chart[39] 5
Swedish Albums Chart[40] 17
UK Albums Chart[41] 1
US Billboard 200[42] 1
West German Albums Chart[43] 28
Chart (2015) Peak position
Swiss Albums Chart[44] 17
Year Single Chart Position
1980 "Fool in the Rain" Billboard Hot 100 21[45]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[46] Gold 30,000^
Australia (ARIA)[47] 2× Platinum 140,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[49] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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.
  7. File:OldAbsintheNOLA1903.jpg
  8. File:OldAbsintheHouseQuaintNO.jpg
  9. File:Absinthe House Front Bar Wall.JPG
  10. History - Old Absinthe House
  11. Thorgerson, Storm (1999). Eye of the Storm: The Album Graphics of Storm Thorgerson. pp. 34, 35. ISBN 978-1-86074-259-0.
  12. Alan di Perna, Guitar World Presents Pink Floyd, pg. 104, Hal Leonard Corporation 2002, ISBN 0-634-03286-0
  13. "Grammy Award for Best Album Package (Hipgnosis) – 27 February 1980". Grammy. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  14. "In Through The Out Door [Remastered] - Led Zeppelin". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  15. link
  16. link
  17. Batcup, Tim (August 2015). "Led Zeppelin Presence / In Through The Out Door / Coda". Classic Rock. pp. 102–03.
  18. McCormick, Neil (23 April 2014). "Led Zeppelin's albums ranked from worst to best". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  19. 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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  20. Richardson, Mark (28 July 2015). "Led Zeppelin: Presence / In Through the Out Door / Coda". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  21. October 2000.
  22. link
  23. link
  24. Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (20 September – 3 October, 1979): 25.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, pp. 89–90.
  26. Mat Snow, “Apocalypse Then”, Q magazine, December 1990, p. 82.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, "Light and Shade", Guitar World, January 1998.
  28. Charles Shaar Murray, "The Guv’nors'", Mojo, August 2004, p. 75.
  29. Liner notes for the Led Zeppelin boxed set.
  30. "Favorite Pop/Rock Album – 18 January 1980". rockonthenet. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  31. Grow, Kory (3 June 2015). "Led Zeppelin Announce Final Three Deluxe Reissues". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  32. "Top 75 Albums – 15 October 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  33. "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 32, No. 6, November 3, 1979". RPM. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  34. "Top 100 Albums – 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  35. "Top 100 Albums – 1979". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  36. "Top 100 Albums – 25 August 1979". Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  37. Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Albums – November 1979". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
  38. "Top 20 Albums – 16 September 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  39. "Top 100 Albums – 15 December 1979". PROMUSICAE. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  40. "Top 60 Albums – 7 September 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  41. "Top 100 Albums – 8 September 1979". Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  42. "The Billboard 200 – 15 September 1979". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009.[dead link]
  43. "Top 100 Albums – November 1979". Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  44. "Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door". Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  45. [1] Archived 4 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  46. [[[:Template:Certification Cite/URL]] "[[:Template:Certification Cite/Title]]"] Check |url= value (help). Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. URL–wikilink conflict (help)
  47. Cite/URL%5d%5d "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2007 Albums" Check |archiveurl= value (help). Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from [[[:Template:Certification Cite/URL]] the original] Check |url= value (help) on 10 August 2020.
  48. [[[:Template:Certification Cite/URL]] "[[:Template:Certification Cite/Title]]"] Check |url= value (help). British Phonographic Industry. URL–wikilink conflict (help) Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type In Through the Out Door in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  49. [[[:Template:Certification Cite/URL]] "[[:Template:Certification Cite/Title]]"] Check |url= value (help). Recording Industry Association of America. URL–wikilink conflict (help) If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[]

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

Template:In Through the Out Door Template:Led Zeppelin