Finally Appreciating Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door

In Through The Outdoor Review

Amazon CD Link

When Led Zeppelin’s final album In Through The Out Door was released, I asked my friend Danny Sobstyl who was the biggest Led Zeppelin fan I had ever met, what he thought of the record. He looked me squarely in the eye and said “It’s not a Led Zeppelin album It’s a John Paul Jones album.” Many Led Zeppelin fans had the same reaction when In Through The Out Door was first released. Of course, during the time period in 1979 when it was first released, there was no internet, and no round-the-clock news, so most of us were unaware of the issues that were going on inside the Led Zeppelin camp. Had we known about all the internal issues then we would have probably been happy to have just had a new Led Zeppelin album.

Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door album was never intended to be their final studio album. It was in the words of John Paul Jones a transitional album. Like all great classic rock bands, Led Zeppelin was in a musical transitional period according to John Paul Jones. Maybe? According to Robert Plant in past interviews, the band had intended on making a much heavier record for the follow-up to In Through The Out Door. However, the so-called transitional period turned out to be their final period. Dominated by personal problems, the death of John Bonham turned the transitional album into their final record ever.

Now as 40 years has passed, looking back at Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door many of us no longer see it as a John Paul Jones album but rather a record that sounds as if it was put together in pieces by each member spending time in the studio on their own as opposed to a band playing together as one. That’s not an entirely bad thing because it’s still a Led Zeppelin studio album, but you can hear the differences in the grooves as opposed to past Led Zeppelin albums.

So why did my friend Danny and many other Led Zeppelin fans call it a John Paul Jones album? One of the reasons is simply because out of the 42 minutes of material released on the record John Paul Jones co-wrote 39 minutes of it. The amount of material that John Paul Jones was credited for was not planned intentionally at the time. It was rather out of necessity because the other members of the band were constantly late to the studio according to John Paul Jones. Instead of just sitting around waiting for the other members to show up, John Paul Jones worked on the record constantly utilizing his Yamaha GX-1 on all the tracks.

Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door contained only seven recorded tracks. The album’s opener “In The Evening,” was followed by “South Bound Saurez, Fool In The Rain,” and “Hot Dog.” Side two opened up with the ten minute track “Carouselambra,” followed by “All of My Love,” and “I’m Gonna Crawl.” That was it, 7 tracks and 42 minutes of Led Zeppelin in the studio for the final time. These are all great songs.  It’s just the arrangements and production of these tracks sound so different from any other Led Zeppelin album ever released.

Listening back to Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door album one can hear a certain duality within the record. There’s a light side to the record that sounds sweet and almost painfully melancholy and then there’s a heavier side that lurks in the background. That’s duality seems to be the product of the band split into two during the recording sessions. John Paul Jones and Robert Plant were together during the daylight hours in the studio by themselves. At night it was  Jimmy Page and John Bonham who came in to lay down their tracks. Maybe it’s simply because we know this was the recording process that we hear the duality, or, it’s just so clearly evident on record that it is obvious why it sounded like it did.

While many critics panned the album calling it the worst Led Zeppelin record ever released, most of us never stopped playing the record. The reason is simple. It’s still a Led Zeppelin album. Personally, I would rather listen to Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham playing together on any album no matter what. It may not have had the same magic that they had on previous records, but it still was Led Zeppelin.  It still was Robert Plant’s vocals, Jimmy Page’s guitar playing, John Bonham’s drumming, and of course John Paul Jones given the chance to drive the bus for a bit.

In Through The Out Door has some sensational moments on it. How could you not love the Latin rhythm and blues shuffle in “Fool in the Rain?” Jimmy Page’s solo on “I’m Gonna Crawl,” is off the charts. It’s simply one of the best solos he has ever played. How can you not be affected by the emotional performance of Robert Plant’s vocal on “All of My Love.” Robert Plant’s tribute to his lost son is heartbreaking in so many ways. It defines how in music we somehow can find an outlet to express our deepest pain and find some small form of relief to curl up in.

Looking back at these songs, we can really appreciate how great these tracks were. We were not all crazy about them when first released, but over time they have infiltrated our rock and roll Led Zeppelin hearts defining part of the soundtrack of our lives.

There are a few tracks recorded for the In Through The Out Door album that never made it to the record. There just wasn’t enough room on the vinyl to include tracks like “Ozone Baby,” “Darlene,” and “Wearing and Tearing.” Those tracks would eventually find the light of day on Led Zeppelin’s Coda album released after the band had called it quits.

In the end, any Led Zeppelin studio album is better than 75 percent of the rock albums ever released. That may sound a bit extreme but many Led Zeppelin fans would probably argue for a higher percentage than we listed. So to all you Led Zeppelin fans we will ask you the question, “When was the last time you listened to In Through The Out Door?” We bet it was not too long ago.

Updated June 12, 2023

Finally Appreciating Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door article published on Classic© 2023 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites. Protection Status


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Classic Rock Christmas Songs
Our 10 Favorite Classic Rock Christmas Songs
A Thousand Horses Albums
Complete List Of A Thousand Horses Albums And Songs
Blackmore's Night Albums
Complete List Of Blackmore’s Night Albums And Discography
Jeff Buckley Songs
10 Essential Jeff Buckley Songs
Can Albums
Top 10 Can Albums
Kiss Bootlegs
KISSteria on Vinyl: Ten’ 70s-era Bootlegs for Records Collectors
10 Essential Metal Albums Released Between 1970 and 1995
10 Essential Metal Albums Released Between 1970 and 1995
The River Album Bruce Springsteen Should Have Released
The River Album Bruce Springsteen Should Have Released
Comic Con 2023
Comic Con 2023 Rocks New York City
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
Beatles Song Now And Then
Just Saying “New Beatles Song Released Today” Is Breathtaking
Pete Mancini and Rich Lanahan
Pete Mancini And Rich Lanahan Release Gene Clark’s Gypsy Rider
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life From humble East Coast origins to grandest stages worldwide, veteran bassist Rob De Luca has seen and done it all. De Luca first hit the local Boston rock and metal scene in the late 80s after meeting guitarist Paul DiBartolo, bonding over Van Halen before forming Bang. Regional success came quickly, but eventually, the members of Bang went their separate ways, with De Luca and drummer Tommi Gallo heading to NYC and hooking up with Ray West and, later, DiBartolo to form Spread Eagle. By 1990, Spread Eagle was on the fast track, with a contract through MCA Records and a self-titled debut album poised to crush skulls. But poor timing and MCA's sad indifference left Spead Eagle out in the cold despite being a hard-boiled answer to Guns N' Roses's West Coast sleaze. Spread Eagle's first chapter came to an end in '95. As for Rob De Luca, his nimble fingers and gift for melody and songwriting kept him moving forward. Soon, he found a gig with former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and the legendary outfit UFO. And in 2010, after coupling up with Ray West and his cousin Rik De Luca, Spread Eagle retook flight. During a break from Spread Eagle's increasingly busy touring schedule, Rob De Luca dialed in with to run through the ten albums that changed his life. But only after adding, "I made a playlist of these songs, including some I've written or co-written. Do you hear any of these albums' influence on me?" Listen here: 10) Gentlemen by Afghan Whigs (1993) Here's an entry that was so important to me. This may be the darkest break-up album of all time. Greg Dulli has been in many projects, but I feel Gentlemen is his zenith. Somewhat undefinable at times but always profound and honest. Listen to "Gentlemen," "Fountain and Fairfax," and "What Jail Is Like." 9) In on the Kill Taker by Fugazi (1993) By this time, I had been sucked in and spit out by the major-label record industry. Glam came and went; grunge was history, too. I was searching for new sounds. When I heard Fugazi's twin guitar approach, I knew this was what was missing. Fugazi may be considered a less polished sound than the albums above; however, once you "get it," it hits you like a ton of bricks, and there's no going back. From the moment I heard Fugazi, I went to every NYC show after. It's easily some of the best concerts of my life, and possibly my favorite bassist in Joe Lally. And their DIY ethics refused to charge us more than $5 a show! In on the Kill Taker is a powerful album demonstrated in songs such as "Smallpox Champion," "Great Cop," and "Public Witness Program." 8) Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses (1987) I discovered many of these albums (sometimes long) after they were released. However, I was at the right place at the right time for this one. Steve Ostromogilsky had a Berklee College of Music lunch card and used to sneak out sandwiches for me. One day, he invited me to hang out at his place and listen to music. As we got off the train, he put Sony Walkman headphones on my ears and said, "Hey, check out this brand-new group." A song like "It's So Easy" was so different from the popular Sunset Strip sound at that time. Me and about 499 other informed rockers were lucky enough to see them on their first East Coast tour at the sold-out Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (the same street Aerosmith started on). I saw Gn'R every tour after until I took a break when Buckethead joined. Gn'R is the band I've been lucky enough to see the most times live, almost 100! Everyone on this album is just stellar. Axl [Rose] had the tones, power, melodic sensibilities, and foresight to do what no other singer did then. Slash's playing was beyond memorable. Duff [McKagan] is one of the most underrated bassists in rock history, and learning his Appetite basslines is a masterclass. Steven [Adler] had the natural swing, and Izzy [Stradlin] was the secret weapon songwriter. Everything that's been heralded about this gem is deserved and true. Check out "It's So Easy," "Out Ta Get Me," and "Mr. Brownstone.' 7) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975) Another contender for my favorite album and band of all time. Using The Beatles machine (same recording studio, engineer, record label), Pink Floyd made what I feel is their strongest, most cohesive album (my second favorite of theirs would be Animals). This list mainly consists of bands with an instantly recognizable sound. Floyd is certainly no exception to that! This album included a solid handful of undeniable rock radio classics, bookended by two halves of the mind-blowing song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond.' That song was written about former band member and founder Syd Barrett. It would be hard to live in a world without this album. Check out "Welcome to The Machine," "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (parts 6-9),' or even better yet, listen to the whole thing in one sitting! 6) Decade by Neil Young (1977) About this time, I started playing guitar. As a beginner, it was comfortable jamming to this album because the chord changes were simple—a great "first ten years" retrospective of Neil's stunning, unique songwriting. Neil is a treasure who always writes from the heart and stands up for what's right. Check out "Southern Man," "A Man Needs a Maid," "Down by The River," and "After the Goldrush." 5) Highway to Hell by AC/DC (1979) When I heard this album, I was firmly "me." My life would be 100% focused on hard rock music forever. AC/DC are like air; they're ubiquitous. Everyone knows them and their incredible songs. However, as a young teen in Wilmington, Delaware, I only had WMMR 93.3 FM Philadelphia and a few friends to inform me about the world of Rock outside my bedroom. AC/DC had not gone mainstream, and their albums were available primarily in the USA as imports. To put things more in perspective, I only knew two people in the world who had heard of AC/DC. A friend had an import that we played in Steve Buckley's basement, which sounded ripping. When Highway to Hell was released, WMMR started spinning the title track, and I immediately bought the album, listening to it every single day after school. Then WMMR announced AC/DC was coming to the Spectrum in Philly, supporting Ted Nugent! I liked Ted but loved AC/DC, so my good friend Mick Cummins and I bought tickets, and he drove us up to the Spectrum (where we saw most of our concerts). Bon Scott was in fine form, and the band went over great. Although the crowd knew Ted better, Angus [Young] wouldn't let anyone upstage him. I'll never forget it! Unfortunately, Bon would be gone in 6 months. Check out "Walk All Over You," "Touch Too Much," "Shot Down in Flames," and "If You Want Blood (You Got It)." 4) Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975) By the time I heard this, I was now in my teens. I had a childhood friend up the street, Jim Linberg (we're still good buddies). His older sister had a great album collection, including Toys in The Attic. Once I heard that groove, my taste changed. I lost interest in rock music that didn't have some sort of "swing" feel to it. I think Rocks is a slightly better Aerosmith album (and possibly my favorite album of all time), but both are perfect or very close. Check out "Uncle Salty," "Adam's Apple," "No More No More," "Round and Round," and "You See Me Crying." 3) Alive! by Kiss (1975) When I was still a little kid, I asked for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke album for Christmas. The entire family came over for an enormous feast, and I dropped the needle. When my mother heard the content, she turned off the album and said I had to exchange it. My mom was cool, but I was young and knew much more about life than she suspected. Anyway, the next day, she drove me back to the store. In the music section, promoted on an "endcap" was a Kiss Alive! display. I had never heard of Kiss, but that cover picture told me I had to have it! My first foray into hard rock. Check out “Strutter.” I went through my Kiss phase very quickly, I believe in a matter of months because I discovered the previous entry, Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. 2) Honky Chateau by Elton John (1972) When I was a wee lad, my parents bought a used Volkswagen camper van from my uncle Ozzie. My favorite Elton John album is Yellow Brick Road, but Honky Chateau is great and easily one of his best. It sent me down a lifelong rabbit hole of loving everything about the 1970s partnership between Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin. The simple beauty of voice, the master songwriting, the perfect backing band, the clear, unobtrusive recordings, and always Bernie's incredible lyrics. The day this album was released, Elton became an unstoppable force that conquered the music industry. Check out "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man." 1) Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (1967) Another tape that was included in the VW Camper. The van had a bunch of music tapes, and one was Sgt Pepper. I was too young to understand the sophistication of the music, but that was one of the many skills of The Beatles. They attracted listeners at every level, even little kids. I still feel that immediate connection to Sgt Pepper; now, I hear so much more. It's an album that changed the world and the world of music. Check out "Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds," "A Day In The Life," and "Fixing a Hole."
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jim Suhler Interview
Jim Suhler: The Interview
Bryan Bassett of Foghat: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Bryan Bassett of Foghat: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
The Raspberries Albums
Complete List Of The Raspberries Albums And Discography
Pixie Lott Albums
Complete List Of Pixie Lott Albums And Discography
Mick Ronson Albums
Complete List Of Mick Ronson Albums And Discography
Graham Nash Albums
Complete List Of Graham Nash Albums And Discography
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review
In Harmony albums
A Look Back At Both ‘In Harmony’ Rock Star Children’s Albums
John Miles Rebel Albums Review
John Miles ‘Rebel’ Album Review
Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album "Whatever."
30 Year Look Back At Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album ‘Whatever’