So why is Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
In writing about Coda (#849 of best 1,000 albums ever), I noted the following about Led Zeppelin’s final two studio albums:
… at an impressionable point in my youth, someone advised me not to bother with anything Led Zeppelin had produced post-Houses of the Holy.
And thus, it took me some time to find my way to the band’s final two studio albums: 1979’s In Through the Out Door, and 1982’s Coda. While I can fully understand why someone would claim that Led Zeppelin’s first six albums are their best – because they clearly are, and comprise a mind boggling amount of the best hard rock music ever produced – there’s a wealth of strong material waiting to be explored even through to the self-described Coda.
If you’re keeping track at home (and why wouldn’t you!?), you’ll know that I’ve not yet covered Zeppelin’s first six studio albums, and here we are all the way at #349 (exactly 500 entries later, whoa!) and we’re finally heading In Through the Out Door.
It’s only seven songs long, and with perhaps the slight exception of “Carouselambra” (which is a little too opulent and prog rock for my taste), they’re all top notch.
In Through the Out Door has a slightly different feel from other Led Zeppelin material due to bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones taking over production duties. There’s a soft and sensual feel to the album that makes it unique. That’s not to say that the band hadn’t achieved a similar sound in the past, such as on the masterpiece “Kashmir,” off of Physical Graffiti, but on In Through the Out Door the tone is even brighter and plays consistently throughout.
“All My Love” is a relatively straightforward and absolutely gorgeous number that never fails to hold my interest during its nearly six minutes of running time.
“Fool in the Rain” is similarly stripped down (until it isn’t about halfway through, when a wild samba section ensues!), and is as playful and fun as Led Zeppelin gets. As I mentioned, the production is stellar, and Robert Plant sounds fantastic.
I also most mention how good John Bonham’s drumming sounds here, as it does on every Led Zeppelin track. On a bummer note, Bonham died in 1980, roughly a year after In Through the Out Door was released.
“In the Evening” proves that Jimmy Page had in no way lost his facility for crushing guitar riffs, but with the soft/sensual production that John Paul Jones brings in, the combination is pure delight. Fun fact that Page “uses a Gizmotron to create the droning effects and sliding solo at the beginning of the song.”
And again, at nearly seven minutes long, this is a song that I find impossible to get tired of.
And the songwriting here is pure Led Zeppelin British blues rock:
In the evening
When the day is done,
I’m looking for a woman,
Oh, but the girl don’t come
Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door
As much as I’m trying not to, I can’t help but associate “In the Evening” with the final scene of the 2018 HBO limited series, Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams.
The final line of the finale is, “Don’t tell momma!” which smash cuts to the opening guitar riff of “In the Evening.”
Sharp Objects is an atmospheric, mostly watchable, kind of disturbing, but ultimately forgettable prestige drama, so I’m trying to “take back” my association of “In the Evening” with the show and, specifically, it’s… uh, final reveal, shall we say.
Personal stuff that has something to do with Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door
I write a lot about how music can take us back to specific times and places in our lives. But the same is often true about writing as well!
For example, in making the natural association between Coda and In Through the Out Door for this piece, I’m brought back to when I wrote the best 1,000 albums ever piece about Coda.
My wife and I had recently adopted our dog, Jack, and were staying at a lovely AirBnb near the town of Leavenworth, Washington, east of Seattle. We place was a converted barn next to a vineyard, and we had spectacular views of snowcapped mountains.
It was a super dog friendly place, a high priority for us, and we were able to get our high energy puppy exercise outside during our stay*.
* A short-lived mini-crisis involved Jack eating a caffeinated tea bag. We freaked out a bit and called a vet, but it was much ado about nothing.
It was also my birthday, which I “cashed in on” by forcing my wife to watch the Netflix series, Love Is Blind, with me.
Throw in some writing time and some great music, and that’s what I call vacation!
Some stats & info about Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Album Rock, Arena Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
- When was In Through the Out Door released? 1979
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #349 out of 1,000
Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light to chase a feather in the wind, within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight there moves a thread that has no end.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.