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IzzyBlues

ITTOD - Why is this the most disliked album of Led Zeppelin?

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Again, this is more the result of historical revisionism than any actual dislike for "In Through the Out Door".

First of all, I think I'm like most Led Zeppelin fans in that I like ALL their albums. I may like some more than others, but I consider them like children and hence, don't hate or dislike any of them.

Secondly, let's take a trip in the wayback machine shall we? While Rolling Stone and NME predictably gave ITTOD negative reviews(the whole punks vs. Dinosaur bands thing), ITTOD still received some of best reviews Zeppelin had since "Physical Graffiti".

John Swenson's review in Creem and Kristine McKenna's in the L.A. Times in particular stand out in my mind. Even that curmudgeon Robert Christgau gave ITTOD a B+ in the Village Voice.

People lined up in front of record stores to buy this album. I know, because I was one of them waiting for Licorice Pizza to open across from the Tyler Mall in Riverside the day ITTOD was released. I loved the spooky sounds that began the album. While I wished the mix could have been better on some of the songs, especially the vocals, I was happy that it was NEW Led Zeppelin. I didn't care that it didn't sound like Led Zeppelin II. I already had Led Zeppelin II. This was 1979...I wanted 1979 Zeppelin not a rehash of 1969 Zeppelin. If I wanted the same old, same old, I would buy a Ramones or AC/DC album. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that way, as ITTOD outsold both AC/DC and the Ramones that year.

The album went immediately to #1 on the Billboard charts and spent seven weeks at #1. That is tied with Led Zeppelin II for most weeks a Zeppelin album was #1 on the chart. ITTOD was their biggest seller since PG, and practically single-handedly revived the record industry, which was in a post-1978 slump. A week or two after ITTOD was released, EVERY other album in Led Zeppelin's catalogue appeared in the Billboard Top 200 album chart...all NINE albums of theirs, from the first to ITTOD.

Not only was Led Zeppelin the first to achieve this accomplishment, they are the only ones to have done it twice. The first time was in 1975 when "Physical Graffiti" was released and all five of their prior releases made the charts in the wake of PG's success.

So, ITTOD was one of Led Zeppelin's best reviewed and biggest selling albums. Hardly a sign of being disliked.

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^^Well said Strider! I always loved the fact that the albums were different. I mean the music alone is awesome, then to have the different covers, again, they were certainly creative. I cannot even imagine these songs not being around. :peace:

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Everything you said was true Strider. But there is another reason as well..

There was over a 3 year gap between Presence and In Through The Out Door.

Nowadays, 3+ years between studio albums is normal. Back in the 70's, it was unheard of.

The fans were starved for Led Zeppelin. The demand for the band was as strong if not stronger than ever.

In Through The Out Door got some positive reviews and some not so great reviews from fans and critics.

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^^^

Yes, the long gap helped feed the pent-up demand for new Zeppelin. I remember awaiting any scrap of information regarding the release date of the new album. This was also the time when the break-up rumours went into overdrive...rumours I eventually dismissed. But when the sad news first hit the airwaves about Karac's death, I admit I was distraught for Robert and his family, and also fearful for the future of the band.

After the near-miss in Greece, and now this, would Robert finally say "enough" and retire to his family?

So, not only did the long layoff affect the fans, it affected the band. The band that convened in 1978 to record ITTOD was a far different band with a different psyche than the band that recorded "Physical Graffiti" in the halcyon days of 1974...or even the band that gathered to record "Presence". For one thing, Jimmy was still firmly in control of his talents and the band's direction then.

I didn't mean to imply ITTOD didn't get any negative reviews...it was a Zeppelin album after all, and every Zeppelin album was criticized by somebody. But in aggregate, ITTOD's reviews and radio reception was more positive than "Presence" or TSRTS, which was lambasted more often than not by contemporary critics.

Of course, ITTOD wasn't meant to be the final capstone to Zeppelin's oeuvre. But Bonham's untimely death sealed its fate and I think that's when the historical revisionism set in and people looked on ITTOD as an ignoble end, a disappointing finish to a glorious band's career.

If Bonham had lived and the band recorded another album, I think ITTOD would be looked upon more fondly as a quirky bridge between two peaks of greatness. Much as Led Zeppelin III is the link that allowed Led Zeppelin to progress from Led Zeppelin II to Led Zeppelin IV, or Houses of the Holy the quirky bridge from IV to Physical Graffiti.

So who knows what heights Zeppelin's next album might have scaled if Bonzo hadn't drank so much vodka that September night. Would "Wearing and Tearing" have been on it? Possibly...maybe even likely. The band probably would have better intergrated Jonesy's new synthesizer toys into the band's sound without sacrificing the iconic Zep 'heaviness'. Witness how the live versions of "In the Evening" always sounded more powerful than the studio version.

And, just in case you're wondering, No, I don't count Coda as an actual Led Zeppelin album per se. It only exists due to Bonham's passing and a contractual obligation. There is no way that album sees the light of day otherwise. Their heart wasn't in it.

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To be honest I don't have a favourite or least favourite Led Zeppelin album, maybe I am just an old codger, but I enjoyed each and every one of them when they were released. Therefore I will not criticise any of them.To me to criticise a band is to slag them off, and in my opinion NOBODY has the right to slag Led Zeppelin off, they have risen above the rest of the rock world.

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^^^

Yes, the long gap helped feed the pent-up demand for new Zeppelin. I remember awaiting any scrap of information regarding the release date of the new album. This was also the time when the break-up rumours went into overdrive...rumours I eventually dismissed. But when the sad news first hit the airwaves about Karac's death, I admit I was distraught for Robert and his family, and also fearful for the future of the band.

After the near-miss in Greece, and now this, would Robert finally say "enough" and retire to his family?

So, not only did the long layoff affect the fans, it affected the band. The band that convened in 1978 to record ITTOD was a far different band with a different psyche than the band that recorded "Physical Graffiti" in the halcyon days of 1974...or even the band that gathered to record "Presence". For one thing, Jimmy was still firmly in control of his talents and the band's direction then.

I didn't mean to imply ITTOD didn't get any negative reviews...it was a Zeppelin album after all, and every Zeppelin album was criticized by somebody. But in aggregate, ITTOD's reviews and radio reception was more positive than "Presence" or TSRTS, which was lambasted more often than not by contemporary critics.

Of course, ITTOD wasn't meant to be the final capstone to Zeppelin's oeuvre. But Bonham's untimely death sealed its fate and I think that's when the historical revisionism set in and people looked on ITTOD as an ignoble end, a disappointing finish to a glorious band's career.

If Bonham had lived and the band recorded another album, I think ITTOD would be looked upon more fondly as a quirky bridge between two peaks of greatness. Much as Led Zeppelin III is the link that allowed Led Zeppelin to progress from Led Zeppelin II to Led Zeppelin IV, or Houses of the Holy the quirky bridge from IV to Physical Graffiti.

So who knows what heights Zeppelin's next album might have scaled if Bonzo hadn't drank so much vodka that September night. Would "Wearing and Tearing" have been on it? Possibly...maybe even likely. The band probably would have better intergrated Jonesy's new synthesizer toys into the band's sound without sacrificing the iconic Zep 'heaviness'. Witness how the live versions of "In the Evening" always sounded more powerful than the studio version.

And, just in case you're wondering, No, I don't count Coda as an actual Led Zeppelin album per se. It only exists due to Bonham's passing and a contractual obligation. There is no way that album sees the light of day otherwise. Their heart wasn't in it.

100% agreed.

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Strider makes some great points.

When ITTOD was being released, Jackson Browne had a big hit called "Running on Empty" which some took to be a diss at the record company industry (empty of new talent, new ideas, new ways to sell, etc). ITTOD came out and later The Wall, big releases like these brought relevancy back to the record companies. Until Napster came along....

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The album actually did well commercially, it sold more than twice as many copies as Presence. Artistically, it was the most removed from the "classic" Led Zeppelin sound. Jimmy Page had always been the dominant musical force in the band, but he sort of took a backseat due to his struggles with heroin addiction at the time. There are some strong songs on the album, like In The Evening, Fool in The Rain and All My Love, but some weaker songs as well. On earlier Led Zeppelin albums, there was more of a "all killer, no filler" consensus amongst fans. Also, John Bonham died in the aftermath of the album being released and going on tour to support it. It was basically the twilight of the band and its members, at least in the musical sense.

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As someone quite rightly stated earlier in this thread it's not that ITTOD is bad...in isolation it's pretty good.

It's just that when you compare it to the rest of the officially released Led Zeppelin catalogue it's just not as good. As simple as that.

Let's be honest...with the likes of all the previous studio releases they had set the bar particularly high!!!

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It's all personal preference, so there's no point in arguing. There is no such thing as an objective "best" or "worst" in artistic creations, especially not in music which is limited by the fact there is a limited number of musical notes in our systems of scales. "ITTOD" has grown on me over time. I didn't like it when it was released, because it didn't sound like the Zeppelin music I loved. Now I listed to it and think, "sure it doesn't sound like I, IV or III (my favorite albums) or any of the other albums...but compared to the mediocrity of much of the music that was being released in 1979, as well as the mediocrity of much of what was released in the 80s and 90s with a few exceptions such as Guns n' Roses, ITTOD sounds great. Back in '79, I didn't know for sure (although I suspected) that rock music was in a decline from which it would never recover. By the standards of the '69-78 era of rock music, ITTOD was ho hum, but compared to so much that came later, it sounds like a classic.

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If ITTOD had been a debut album it would have sunk without a trace. I'm in the it's their weakest album camp, it's also my least favourite.

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Running on Empty was released in 77' so don't know how that is relevant to ITTOD. I always thought ITTOD was a great album, but than again I embrace change and diversity. As was said above, you have one AC/DC or Ramones album, you got em all.

Regarding basic rhythm playing by Page I disagree. A good composer writes exactly what the song needs, nothing more. If the track requires a simple rhythm arrangement that is what they do. It is just important what you leave out of a song as it is what you leave in.

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In The Evening was my favorite right from the get-go.

The other songs from the ablum have grown on me, and I would listen to it before listening to my least favorite Zep release HOTH. Now, I do like the songs of HOTH, especially live, I just do not like "sugary" mix of HOTH.

ITTOD has a lot of nostalgia for me now.

What could have been, epic performances of Carouselambra, and I'm Gonna Crawl....

Edited by The Rover

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I love the things that others dislike about ITTOD. For me, that growth, expansion, and change of direction are critical components of the best bands. Robert's voice was never better. John Paul Jones was such an innovator. Jimmy's restraint was nice to see for a change. Bonzo was great, but this was probably his least impressive showing. This was a truly amazing album that breathed new life into a great band. It would have served the exact same purpose as LZ III, in that it would have led to new styles and approaches as the band moved into the 1980's. Brilliant.

Edited by The Dark Lord

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My biggest complaint about ITTOD is the production. In The Evening, as structured, is a great song, but loses a lot due to a vocal track that is garbled and difficult to follow. This circumstance is repeated elsewhere on the album, most notably on Carouselambra.

There are tracks I love on the album, which include songs others seem to hate. I love All My Love, Fool In The Rain, and Hot Dog. I really like In the Evening and I'm Gonna Crawl. I'm not a big fan of South Band Suarez or Carouselambra, mainly because of the vocals.

I will always wonder where they would have gone next, but they were definitely growing further apart on their musical tastes, and the extension of their solo careers to this date reinforces how much their tastes diverged.

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Nope it is not my most disliked album. In fact I respected it a lot. When I was working night shift during the late eighties, I bought a cassette copy of ITTOD and digged that a lot while driving to the AirPort.Together with Miles Davies' Cookin' at the plugged Nickel, Paolo Conte's LIVE and Elgars cello concerto it was one of The most frequently played tapes from my humble car collection.

I'm gonna crawl, In the evening, Fool in the rain,.... I just love them.

While the eighties for me were musically dominated by Talking heads, the Police, REM, I think ITTOD ( and LZ 1 + 2) got me back to Zep.

It is not amongst my top 3, but I rate it higher than Presence or TSRTS. Nuff said?

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Nope it is not my most disliked album. In fact I respected it a lot. When I was working night shift during the late eighties, I bought a cassette copy of ITTOD and digged that a lot while driving to the AirPort.Together with Miles Davies' Cookin' at the plugged Nickel, Paolo Conte's LIVE and Elgars cello concerto it was one of The most frequently played tapes from my humble car collection.

I'm gonna crawl, In the evening, Fool in the rain,.... I just love them.

While the eighties for me were musically dominated by Talking heads, the Police, REM, I think ITTOD ( and LZ 1 + 2) got me back to Zep.

It is not amongst my top 3, but I rate it higher than Presence or TSRTS. Nuff said?

Cool. I can't understand all the hate for Carouselambra. It is absolutely brilliant. Everything about it shows growth, and experimentation. I get that some people don't like synths, but try to evaluate the song as though you were a teacher evaluating a band performance, where you have to keep biases out of equation. The songs is basically a prog song, with three different sections that bleed seamlessly into one another. The lyrics are profound, as they relate to some of Robert's observations of Jimmy. John Paul Jones was on fire, and really showing what amazing talent he had, apart from what we had seen a thousand times before. This, in fact, might be one of the best Zep songs ever written, and by that I do not necessarily mean favorite, but I do mean best, in that it covers the landscape and shows movement that we had never seen before. Achilles Last Stand comes close, but it does not have the prog elements that Carouselambra has. Page's guitars, although understated, are used to perfection, and provide the perfect wall of sound beneath the din of Bonzo and Jones. I would suggest that people try to take their emotions out of the picture when listening to this track, and really try to create a mental picture in your head as to what is going on in that song, and the manner in which it was built. This is perhaps one of the most significant Zep songs of all time, and is undoubtedly the first song that they wrote with such progressive sensibilities. Edited by The Dark Lord

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Also if you can get all the different album covers it would be a remarkable achievement.

I've got all the LP's in near mint condition, in their paper bags. It was pretty easy to put the set together back in the day.

Edited by The Dark Lord

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i have always liked this album.

as i said before, the packaging concept was genius.

and i think i also have a soft spot for the fact that i bought it as it was released ( also presence ).

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As has been stated, it's because of the lesser input of Bonzo and Jimmy. Robert was experimenting with new sounds (which we see on his solo work) and Jonesy sure did like his new keyboard. Fool in the Rain and Hot dog are my favs, but are nothing near as good as anything else they ever did. I would have dailed back the keyboards, turned up the guitar amp to 10, and completely changed some of the songs. Personally, I'm not crazy about Presence, but this is far worse. I can't like I don't like it, I mean come on, saying you don't like a zeppelin song is like saying you don't like oxygen! I like it but it is definitely my least favorite.

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I've got all the LP's in near mint condition, in their paper bags. It was pretty easy to put the set together back in the day.

You mean you bought them second hand? Therefore you saw the covers before you purchased them "back in the day", not quite the same as buying them from different record shops hoping the cover was different, as a lot of collectors did when the album was released.

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You mean you bought them second hand? Therefore you saw the covers before you purchased them "back in the day", not quite the same as buying them from different record shops hoping the cover was different, as a lot of collectors did when the album was released.

Read the quote that I responded to. Who cares how I got them? It was easy to do, and I don't recall you stating that it had to be done in any particular way. And, yes, I bought many of them new, because a person with any level of ingenuity could manipulate the sealed LP and read the letter at the top of the spine. Too bad that you are only learning about that now.

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Read the quote that I responded to. Who cares how I got them? It was easy to do, and I don't recall you stating that it had to be done in any particular way. And, yes, I bought many of them new, because a person with any level of ingenuity could manipulate the sealed LP and read the letter at the top of the spine. Too bad that you are only learning about that now.

Ingenuity, you mean breaking the seal on a new album? How very clever. Although it's not something I would recommend. I care how I got my albums as I'm sure a great many other members of this site do as well.I bought ALL of mine new,not as an afterthought.

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