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


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My history with ITTOD is, imagine 1986 i was 13 years old and with a little help of friends and neighbours older than me, i was impressed with the LZ II, III and IV and also with progressive rock like Yes, ELP, KC, and then a neighbour pass me a vinyl of ITTOD, i remember that it was an arden defender of the album like dark lord, so i imagine, this would be great.... Imput that album and to be honest, i was not impressed at that time, so the next album that i hear after ITTOD, was Drama, when i finish that record i was blown away....

Over the years i rank low ITTOD, but, things change in the mid to late 90's i gave me a chance to hear it again and i like better than before, And then ten years passed, and suddenly with all the unofficial shows that arose over the internet, i have some 1980 shows and hear some of those songs, so i think, let's back to hear ITTOD again... And now i like even much that those past years.

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It's not really fair to say that In Through The Outdoor is the most disliked album.

It went to number one and has sold millions of copies.

All the previous Zeppelin albums went up the charts when ITTOD was released,

so they picked up many new fans.

But it is curious that it was the only album not represented at the 02 concert in 2007.

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I suspect if we had a poll of our best to worst Led Zeppelin studio albums on here, In through the out door would come last.

I like it because it's Led Zeppelin & it has some great moments on it but as far as I'm concerned it's their weakest LP by some way.

To put my opinion into context, I started getting into Led Zeppelin in the mind 90's.

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ITTOD is a good album. All my Love is probably their best ballad, I'm gonna crawl is a good song, and Fool in the rain is one of their most original songs, The Who or The Stones would never have written a song like this.

South Bound Saurez and Hot Dog both show Led Zep's eclectism; ITTOD is essential to Led Zeppelin's discography, because it shows their most ambitious and adventurous side.

Presence is their weakest, in my opinion.

Rolling Stone magazine gave ITTOD a bad review, therefore people tend to repeat that ITTOD is not as good as the previous albums.

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I like the album, but I totally understand why it's "disliked".

It wasn't a Zeppelin album made in the classic collaborative format. If this isn't clear, then what I mean is that Zeppelin were greater than the sum of their 4 parts, and that sum needed the full artistic input of all 4 parts in song construction, and instrumentation. Yes, I know all 4 participated, but it's fairly well documented how Plant and Jones took the lead while Bonham and Page occasionally showed up to "do their bits". There are some obvious bits where JPJ's admirable keyboarding would have been better served with a Page guitar solo. Jimmy got his standard Producer credit, but this was really a formality, and didn't involve his ever-presence in the studio and his usual weeks of working alone in the studio after the rest had gone to put his magic touches on it. He was the Producer in name only.

There was a new dynamic in the band. Putting aside the health issues of Page and Bonham, Plant was a changed man. Following the death of his son and his Zeppelin hiatus, Peter Grant had gone to great lengths to talk Plant into continuing. Plant was evenutually convinced to work again, but he did so with strings attached, such as tour sizes, tour frequency, being able to persue solo projects, time away from the UK, etc. In my opinion, this was the start of the new Robert, where he knew he held a powerful hand and going forward, would expect and demand more creative control. Don't forget the additional stories of Plant being miffed at Page and Jones for what he saw as them not being supportive during his grieving period. Plant has always been more focused on relevance, and I think he drove the theme of the album to be more musically in line with the times. He was very conscious of the changes that had happened in the music scene with punk and new wave, and was very aware of the labelling of Led Zeppelin as being one of the dinosaur bands.

Like I said, I like it, but I have to admit that it leans ever so slightly towards a Plant solo album.

Edited by NealR2000
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IMHO, this is one great album. I cannot imagine not having In The Evening, I'm Gonna Crawl, All My Love, along with SBS,FITR, HD (fun song) and Carouselambra..just a great album like the rest were/are. Unexpected and a different direction sort of...but they were always about that IMHO :peace:

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I don't get the negative assessment. This is a great example of the "ever onward" mentality they had. I don't think they wanted to become just a dirty toned-blues rock band, a lot of which was the previous 2 albums. I LOVE that Page hung out at Abba shows (great band), and liked their sound, hence the use of their studio. That just steps away entirely from most of what they had done sound-wise. Entirely out of the comfort zone.

I understand Plant being too far down in the mix on Caroulesambra for some tastes, but I think its just right, it sounds ominous in a good way. That song....my favourite of all their output. It occupies its own place entirely. As for Plant, it was like the band a new singer for that album. Talk about ever onward, he sounded entirely different, so shiny, love love love it. Page was so ethereal in parts of this album, his playing was so atmospheric throughout, glistening and shimmering in Carouselambra, in the Evening. I wish Jones would come out with synth heavy music like he did here, actually almost makes you forget the bass! (which is really, really good, no surprise). The synth here just fills the room with wonderful atmosphere. As for Bonham, he is basically perfect here, with really sharp snap to his playing, what he does is fun to listen to (eg. the end of Carouselambra).

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Some of Page's best work is on this album, yet there are continued references to his artistic absence on ITTOD. His resounding Fender on In The Evening. His tasteful acoustic and electric fuzz tone on Fool in the Rain. His delicate acoustic in All My Love, giving way to so many heartfelt and shimmering electric licks during the solo section. His outstanding blues rock solo in I'm Gonna Crawl, that just reaches so deep into his soul for inspiration. His southern country riff and solo in Hot Dog. This album kicks ass, and it's possibly my favorite. Don't let John Paul Jones presence fool you into thinking that Page took a back seat. That is not the case at all. For perhaps the first time, Page learned how to tame his presence and share the floor with the others, but he still made his statements in a way that was mind bogglingly proficient. This is a thinking person's album. One where the craftsmanship, new direction, and highly relevant and autobiographical lyrics combine to create an incredible new musical statement. Like 90125 was to Yes, and like Long Distance Voyager was to The Moody Blues, ITTOD was so incredibly adventurous and relevant in its day. I adore it, and I love to study the interplay between everyone as they share the spotlight in such a respectful manner.

Edited by The Dark Lord
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Some of Page's best work is on this album, yet there are continued references to his artistic absence on ITTOD. His resounding Fender on In The Evening. His tasteful acoustic and electric fuzz tone on Fool in the Rain. His delicate acoustic in All My Love, giving way to so many heartfelt and shimmering electric licks during the solo section. His outstanding blues rock solo in I'm Gonna Crawl, that just reaches so deep into his soul for inspiration. His southern country riff and solo in Hot Dog. This album kicks ass, and it's possibly my favorite. Don't let John Paul Jones presence fool you into thinking that Page took a back seat. That is not the case at all. For perhaps the first time, Page learned how to tame his presence and share the floor with the others, but he still made his statements in a way that was mind bogglingly proficient. This is a thinking person's album. One where the craftsmanship, new direction, and highly relevant and autobiographical lyrics combine to create an incredible new musical statement. Like 90125 was to Yes, and like Long Distance Voyager was to The Moody Blues, ITTOD was so incredibly adventurous and relevant in its day. I adore it, and I love to study the interplay between everyone as they share the spotlight in such a respectful manner.

I quote your whole statement, as it is all essential to read. The guitar on In The Evening, its one of my favourite of his sounds. Its almost like its in black and white (if a tone can be so), its like the shadow of a sound. Amazing that a renowned guitar hero like Page would play like this here. I'm knocked out that a band with 7 albums of intense, invloved music behind them, would re-define themselves so entirely here. Its almost like they ignore what came before it, in order to make this one. Your assessment of Page taming his contribution and sharing the floor, is just so on it. I think that is what many have been trying to say in threads that discuss this album.

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I quote your whole statement, as it is all essential to read. The guitar on In The Evening, its one of my favourite of his sounds. Its almost like its in black and white (if a tone can be so), its like the shadow of a sound. Amazing that a renowned guitar hero like Page would play like this here. I'm knocked out that a band with 7 albums of intense, invloved music behind them, would re-define themselves so entirely here. Its almost like they ignore what came before it, in order to make this one. Your assessment of Page taming his contribution and sharing the floor, is just so on it. I think that is what many have been trying to say in threads that discuss this album.

Why thank-you. Most kind indeed. ITTOD is just an incredible album that often soars over many people's heads.

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Some of Page's best work is on this album, yet there are continued references to his artistic absence on ITTOD. His resounding Fender on In The Evening. His tasteful acoustic and electric fuzz tone on Fool in the Rain. His delicate acoustic in All My Love, giving way to so many heartfelt and shimmering electric licks during the solo section. His outstanding blues rock solo in I'm Gonna Crawl, that just reaches so deep into his soul for inspiration. His southern country riff and solo in Hot Dog. This album kicks ass, and it's possibly my favorite. Don't let John Paul Jones presence fool you into thinking that Page took a back seat. That is not the case at all. For perhaps the first time, Page learned how to tame his presence and share the floor with the others, but he still made his statements in a way that was mind bogglingly proficient. This is a thinking person's album. One where the craftsmanship, new direction, and highly relevant and autobiographical lyrics combine to create an incredible new musical statement. Like 90125 was to Yes, and like Long Distance Voyager was to The Moody Blues, ITTOD was so incredibly adventurous and relevant in its day. I adore it, and I love to study the interplay between everyone as they share the spotlight in such a respectful manner.

PERFECT POST

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Most kind. The album has earned every word of praise it gets. Those who see it as a failure have missed the point altogether. :)

Agreed. ITTOD has never gotten enough respect.

Edited by Pagefan55
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"Page learned how to tame his presence and share the floor with the others," I don't know what you are talking about. One of the things I've always loved about Zeppelin is how you can always hear each member. That didn't start with ITTOD!

I was 15 when the record came out. I just remember thinking that it didn't sound like the Led Zeppelin I adored. The radio overplayed "All of My Love" which just sounded like an attempt at a hit pop ballad, which was what in fact it ended up being. Listening to it years later, I realize I like "In the Evening" and "I'm Gonna Crawl" but my main reaction when it came out was "they're over." I knew the band couldn't keep doing their thing over and over again, but at the same time, it seemed to me they were chasing the zeitgeist which was then oriented toward disco and overproduced rock/pop. It gave me a depressed feeling, that they couldn't stick with their thing and seemed to be trying to stay popular and "relevant."

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"Page learned how to tame his presence and share the floor with the others," I don't know what you are talking about. One of the things I've always loved about Zeppelin is how you can always hear each member. That didn't start with ITTOD!

I was 15 when the record came out. I just remember thinking that it didn't sound like the Led Zeppelin I adored. The radio overplayed "All of My Love" which just sounded like an attempt at a hit pop ballad, which was what in fact it ended up being. Listening to it years later, I realize I like "In the Evening" and "I'm Gonna Crawl" but my main reaction when it came out was "they're over." I knew the band couldn't keep doing their thing over and over again, but at the same time, it seemed to me they were chasing the zeitgeist which was then oriented toward disco and overproduced rock/pop. It gave me a depressed feeling, that they couldn't stick with their thing and seemed to be trying to stay popular and "relevant."

You have and I have unique perspectives that are not shared by everyone. I bought ITTOD the day that it was released, and like all of my Zep friends at the time, I thought the album was incredibly fresh and in keeping with the musical times. It must have been disappointing for you to think that "they're over". I saw ITTOD as a re-birth after much tragedy and concern as to whether they were going to carry on at all. Had it not been for Bonham's death, this album would certainly have been the springboard for the new Zeppelin. AC/DC has "stuck with their thing" for decades, and although they are an enjoyable band, that philosophy toward their music is what has made their sound so monochromatic and repetitive. I'm glad that Zeppelin had the presence of mind not to get caught up in that trap.

As for the production values on ITTOD, it always perplexes me that people complain that the album sounds like a product of its time. What else should it sound like? Times may have changed, but the Zeppelin sound on ITTOD is a snapshot in time, and I respect it for what it was when it was released, and not how the production values measure up against today's standards. It is important to remember that every album is a documentary of a musical era, and must be viewed in that context. ITTOD stood up incredibly well when it was released; sales figures support that fully, despite the revisionist thinking that exists today. It is a shame that more people cannot listen to the album in the context of how it stood up against other albums of the era. It was an incredible piece of work, and that is the true test of its value. I love it as much or more today as I did back then.

I do agree that this is a polarizing album. It seems that there are those who are more comfortable with the base Zeppelin sound, whereas others, such as myself, are more willing to embrace the exploration that Zeppelin indulged in, and in particular as seen and heard on ITTOD.

Edited by The Dark Lord
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All Of My Love is regularly played on Ken Bruce's BBC Radio 2 morning show. For those who don't live in the UK, you may not understand the relevance. Mrs CP reckons that he has the worst taste in music in the modern era. I agree with her. The song fits in nicely with "middle of the road" and bland 80's pop shite.

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I quite agree with some, that before ITTOD, they managed to reinvent themselves with Page and his riffs being prominent and that the album was partially what it was,

because of Page's uninvolvement!

But on the other hand, it's undeniable, that it's still Led Zeppelin and their genius! The riffs Page still provides are really good and inventive and I think some of the keyboard structures Jones provides are incredible, specially the All my love solo and parts of Carouselambra and few other things and Plant's melodies are as strong and sublime as ever!

It'as got a more pop direction and songs are more like tunes, rather then hard rock riff structures, but denying the quality of them, is just ridiculous, or partially just a matter of taste, as All my love and South bound saurez are very pop like, but they are also very new, which is something a Zep fan usually likes, but here the new direction does take the hard riffs out a bit,

but I'm still convinced it's a really good album and we would get to hear the riffs again on the next one, as Jimmy said, but sadly Bonzo died!

Edited by Matjaz1
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You have a unique perspective that is not shared by everyone. I bought ITTOD the day that it was released, and like all of my Zep friends at the time, I thought the album was incredibly fresh and in keeping with the musical times. It must have been disappointing for you to think that "they're over". I saw ITTOD as a re-birth after much tragedy and concern as to whether they were going to carry on at all. Had it not been for Bonham's death, this album would certainly have been the springboard for the new Zeppelin. AC/DC has "stuck with their thing" for decades, and although they are an enjoyable band, that philosophy toward their music is what has made their sound so monochromatic and repetitive. I'm glad that Zeppelin had the presence of mind not to get caught up in that trap.

As for the production values on ITTOD, it always perplexes me that people complain that the album sounds like a product of its time. What else should it sound like? Times may have changed, but the Zeppelin sound on ITTOD is a snapshot in time, and I respect it for what it was when it was released, and not how the production values measure up against today's standards. It is important to remember that every album is a documentary of a musical era, and must be viewed in that context. ITTOD stood up incredibly well when it was released; sales figures support that fully, despite the revisionist thinking that exists today. It is a shame that more people cannot listen to the album in the context of how it stood up against other albums of the era. It was an incredible piece of work, and that is the true test of its value. I love it as much or more today as I did back then.

I do agree that this is a polarizing album. It seems that there are those who are more comfortable with the base Zeppelin sound, whereas others, such as myself, are more willing to embrace the exploration that Zeppelin indulged in, and in particular as seen and heard on ITTOD.

All of their albums are different than the ones before it.. There has to be more to it.

Houses Of the Holy and Led Zeppelin 3 were panned at the time of release and took some time to be accepted because they were so different.

Now, both are considered among their greatest works.

Because ITTOD sadly became Led Zeppelin's final active release, I think it gets much more scrutiny.

If there were 2 or 3 more studio albums after, I feel it would be looked at differently and more favorably.

There are times I love it and times not nearly as much.

But, either way, I've always felt it was a very gutsy release. They didn't go along with what was happening at the time.

There's no New Wave, Punk or Disco flavor at all. They certainly didn't play it safe. I just have to be in the mood for much of it.

I've never had a problem with the mix.. sounds great to me.

In fact until fairly recently, I didn't know anybody had a problem with the mix..

I'll say it again... the next album would have been incredible.

Edited by the chase
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All of their albums are different than the ones before it.. There has to be more to it.

Houses Of the Holy and Led Zeppelin 3 were panned at the time of release and took some time to be accepted because they were so different.

Now, both are considered among their greatest works.

Because ITTOD sadly became Led Zeppelin's final active release, I think it gets much more scrutiny.

If there were 2 or 3 more studio albums after, I feel it would be looked at differently and more favorably.

There are times I love it and times not nearly as much.

But, either way, I've always felt it was a very gutsy release. They didn't go along with what was happening at the time.

There's no New Wave, Punk or Disco flavor at all. They certainly didn't play it safe. I just have to be in the mood for much of it.

I've never had a problem with the mix.. sounds great to me.

In fact until fairly recently, I didn't know anybody had a problem with the mix..

I'll say it again... the next album would have been incredible.

I'm sorry but I think that the main reason this album is the runt of their litter is down to the mix. The drums sound to flat, the whole thing is too mid range. If this album were given a (sympathatic) remix then I think most of it's (open minded) detractors would see it in a new light.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think this album was the most radical change they hade made. With that in mind, I think touring this album would have been the right time for a big change in appeaance. They could have gone with short hair and sharp clothes. Page covered the clothing angle at Knebworth and the 1980 tour.

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