In Through the Out Door

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In Through the Out Door
Type Studio album
Artist Led Zeppelin
Release Date 15 August 1979
Recorded November - December 1978 at Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden.
Genre Hard rock, progressive rock, blues rock
Language English
Length 42 minutes 25 seconds
Label Swan Song Records
Catalogue Swan Song SS 16002 (US), Swan Song SSK 59410 (UK)
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Leif Mases

In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by England|English Rock music|rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded over a three week period in November and December 1978 at Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and released by Swan Song Records on 15 August 1979. In Through the Out Door was the band's sixth release to reach the top of the charts in America.


In December of 1978, Robert Plant felt he was ready to return to the studio. 'Maybe I waited too long,' he stated, 'but I couldn't push myself. The music had to come back on its own.' The album was named by the group to describe its recent struggles amidst the death of Plant's son Karac in 1977, and the tax exile|taxation exile the band took from the United Kingdom as a result of the Harold Wilson and James Callaghan administrations, which also adversely affected other major British bands of the time, such as the Rolling Stones. 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 back in through the "out" door.'[1]

The band flew to Stockholm, Sweden to record a new album in Polar Studios. Page encouraged the band members to experiment and drive themselves in new directions. From classical solos to samba beats, this album was indeed one of Led Zeppelin's most experimental works. In contrast to previous Led Zeppelin albums, In Through the Out Door features much greater contributions on the part of bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones (musician)|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 which Jimmy Page had no part in writing. With the exception of 'Darlene (song)|Darlene,' a Boogie-Woogie based song credited to all band members (which was eventually released on the 1982 album, Coda (album)|Coda), Bonham did not receive writing credits for any of the songs recorded at Polar Studios.[2] As Jones said:

Many of the songs were put together by Plant and Jones during the day, with Page and Bonham adding their parts late at night.[3] According to Jones, this was:

mainly because I had a new toy. I had this big new keyboard. And Robert and I just got to rehearsals early, basically … 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.[4]

Both Page and Bonham later expressed reservations about the album. In an interview he gave to Guitar World magazine in 1998, Page stated that he and Bonham:

… both felt that In Through the Out Door was a little soft. I wasn't really 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's not us. That's not us. In its place it was fine, but I wouldn't have wanted to pursue that direction in the future.[5]

Years later, Page elaborated that '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.'[6]

Following the recording sessions at Polar Studios, the album was mixed at Page's personal studio at his home in Plumpton.[7] 'Wearing and Tearing', 'Ozone Baby' and 'Darlene (song)|Darlene' were recorded during sessions for this album, but were dropped due to space constraints. All later appeared on Coda.

Album sleeve design

The original album featured unusual packaging: the album had an outer sleeve which was made to look like a plain brown paper bag, and the inner sleeve featured black and white line artwork which, if washed with a wet brush, would become permanently fully coloured. There were also six different sleeves featuring a different pair of photos (one on each side; see images at right), 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 album artwork was designed by Hipgnosis. Storm Thorgerson recalls the design in his book Eye of the Storm:

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.[8]


The album was intended to be released prior to the band's twin Knebworth Festival 1979|concerts at Knebworth in 1979, but production delays meant that it was released shortly after their performances at this event. In Through the Out Door was released on 15 August, in the United States, and 20 August in the United Kingdom.

Despite receiving mixed reviews,[9][10] the album went to number 1 on Billboard's album charts in its first week of release — a first for a rock band. On this album's release, Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue made the Billboard Top 200 between the weeks of 23 October and 3 November 1979, an unprecedented feat.[11] The album remained on the United States of America|US top spot for seven weeks and sold three million copies by the end of September 1979.[12] To date, the album has sold six million copies in the US. In 1980 the album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Grammy Award for Best Recording Package|best album package.

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


Reviewer Country Review Year Score
Scott Floman (Goldmine) United States Rock and Soul Album Reviews 2002 B+


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Melody Maker United Kingdom Best Album of the Year[13] 1979 Winner
American Music Award United States Favorite Pop/Rock Album[14] 1980 Nominee
Grammy Award United States Grammy Award for Best Recording Package[15] 1980 Nominee

Track list

Album information

Track listing:

  • Side 1:
  1. 'In the Evening' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones (musician)|Jones) – 6:49
  2. 'South Bound Saurez' (John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) – 4:12
  3. 'Fool in the Rain' (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) – 6:12
  4. 'Hot Dog (song)|Hot Dog' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) - 3:17
  • Side 2:
  1. 'Carouselambra' (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) – 10:32
  2. 'All My Love' (John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) – 5:51
  3. 'I'm Gonna Crawl' (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) – 5:30

Chart positions


Chart (1979) Peak Position
Japanese Albums Chart[16] 2
Swedish Albums Chart[17] 17
UK Albums Chart[18] 1
US Cash Box Top 100 Albums Chart[19] 1
US Record World Top Pop Albums Chart[20] 1
US Billboard The 200 Albums Chart[21] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[22] 14
Austrian Album Charts[23] 20
Canadian RPM Top 100 Albums Chart[24] 1
New Zealand Top 50 Albums Chart[25] 1
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 3
German Albums Chart[26] 28
Spanish Albums Chart[27] 5
French Albums Chart[28] 7


Year Single Chart Position
1980 'Fool In the Rain' Billboard Hot 100 (Pop Singles)[29] 21

Sales certifications


Country Sales Certification
CAPIF) 30,000+ Gold[30]
United States (RIAA) 6,000,000+ 6× Multi-Platinum[31]
BPI) 300,000+ Platinum[32]
ARIA) 140,000+ 2× Platinum[33]

Certification history

Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold 7 January 1980
RIAA – USA Platinum 7 January 1980
RIAA – USA 3× Platinum 30 October 1984
RIAA – USA 5× Platinum 11 December 1990
RIAA – USA 6× Platinum 25 November 1997


  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, synthesizer, keyboards
    • John Bonham - drums, percussion
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Leif Mases - engineer, mixing
    • Lennart Östlund – assistant engineer
    • Aubrey Powell - sleeve design
    • Hipgnosis - sleeve design
    • Barry Diament - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)


  1. Welch, Chris (2009). Led Zeppelin: The Stories Behind Every Led Zeppelin Song, Revised. London: Carlton Books, 132. ISBN 978-1-84732-286-9. 
  2. Aizelwood, John. 'Closing Time', Q Magazine Special Led Zeppelin edition, 2003, p. 94.
  3. Snow, Mat. 'The Secret Life of a Superstar', Mojo magazine, December 2007.
  4. Cavanagh, David (January 2009). "The Real Jimmy Page: Part 7, John Paul Jones". Uncut (140): 50. ISSN 1368-0722.
  5. Tolinski, Brad and Di Benedetto, Greg (January 1998). "Light and Shade: A Historic Look at the Entire Led Zeppelin Catalogue Through the Eyes of Guitarist/Producer/Mastermind Jimmy Page". Guitar World 18 (1): 100. ISSN 1045-6295.
  6. Charles Shaar Murray, 'The Guv'nors', Mojo magazine|Mojo, August 2004, p. 75.
  7. Case, George (2009). “The Rover”, Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man - An Unauthorized Biography, Revised. Milwaukee: Backbeat Books, 156. ISBN 978-0-87930-947-3. 
  8. Thorgerson, Storm (1999). Eye of the Storm: The Album Graphics of Storm Thorgerson. London: Sanctuary Publishing, 34,35. ISBN 978-1-86074-2590. 
  9. Williamson, Nigel (2014). “The Music: Albums and Solo Projects”, The Dead Straight Guide to Led Zeppelin. London: Red Planet Publishing, 178. ISBN 978-1-9059-5952-5. 
  10. Welch, Chris (1996). “The Long Farewell”, Led Zeppelin. London: Carlton Books, 89. ISBN 978-1-85868-271-6. 
  11. Lewis, Dave (2003). “Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980”, Led Zeppelin: The 'Tight but Loose' Files: Celebration II. London: Omnibus Press, 80. ISBN 978-1844-49056-1. 
  12. Welch, Chris (1996). “The Long Farewell”, Led Zeppelin. London: Carlton Books, 90. ISBN 978-1-85868-271-6. 
  13. Best Album for 1979 - 28 November 1979. Melody Maker. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  14. Favorite Pop/Rock Album - 18 January 1980. rockonthenet. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  15. Grammy Award for Best Album Package (Hipgnosis) - 27 February 1980. Grammy. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  16. Top 100 Albums - 25 August 1979. Oricon. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  17. Top 60 Albums - 7 September 1979. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  18. Top 100 Albums - 8 September 1979. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  19. Top 100 Albums - 8 September 1979. Cash Box. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  20. Top Pop Albums - 8 September 1979. Record World. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  21. The Billboard 200 - 15 September 1979. Billboard. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  22. Top 20 Albums - 16 September 1979. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  23. Top 75 Albums - 15 October 1979. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  24. RPM Albums Chart - 3 November 1979. RPM. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  25. Scapolo, Dean (2007). “Top 50 Albums - November 1979”, The Complete New Zealand Music Charts. Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8. 
  26. Top 100 Albums - November 1979. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  27. Top 100 Albums - 15 December 1979. PROMUSICAE. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  28. Top 100 Albums - 1979. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  29. Hot 100 Singles - 16 February 1980. Billboard. Retrieved on 2009-01-17.
  30. CAPIF: Led Zeppelin - 1993. CAPIF. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  31. In Through the Out Door - 25 November 1997. RIAA. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  32. BPI In Through the Out Door certification - 19 November 2004. BPI. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.
  33. ARIA Album Accreditations - 31 December 2007. ARIA. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.