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


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The very first time I heard Hot Dog, was live at Knebworth. The album had been delayed and had not yet been released. My brother and I looked at each other during the first few seconds of that rockabilly start and gave each other such a grin. We loved that stuff and to us, it was one of the memorable highlights of the show. However, I can see why the typical fan didn't like it, putting it in the "what were they thinking" bin, along with D'Yer Maker. Remember, these were different times, and Zeppelin fans for the most part wanted to hear the hammer of the gods stuff.

Edited by NealR2000
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The very first time I heard Hot Dog, was live at Knebworth. The album had been delayed and had not yet been released. My brother and I looked at each other during the first few seconds of that rockabilly start and gave each other such a grin. We loved that stuff and to us, it was one of the memorable highlights of the show. However, I can see why the typical fan did like it, putting it in the "what were they thinking" bin, along with D'Yer Maker. Remember, these were different times, and Zeppelin fans for the most part wanted to hear the hammer of the gods stuff.

What you say is true, but those fans are missing out on the depth, bredth, and continual evolution of this band. I am so glad that they didn't give us "the same old". Every disc showed considerable evolution, and ITTOD was as revolutionary as LZ III, IMHO.

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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.

Well said. I love his riffs in Fool in the Rain (my fav song from that album), as well as All My Love and In The Evening. I really love this album and do not understand why many fans dislike it. I feel that music was taking a different direction for the 80s and this album was leading the way while still maintaining a rock edge to it. My only complaint about this album is Caroulesambra. I feel that this song wasn't given the final Zep-like "polishing". It had a Achilles Last Stand feel to it and may have even rivaled that song if it were given a final "polishing".

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Well said. I love his riffs in Fool in the Rain (my fav song from that album), as well as All My Love and In The Evening. I really love this album and do not understand why many fans dislike it. I feel that music was taking a different direction for the 80s and this album was leading the way while still maintaining a rock edge to it. My only complaint about this album is Caroulesambra. I feel that this song wasn't given the final Zep-like "polishing". It had a Achilles Last Stand feel to it and may have even rivaled that song if it were given a final "polishing".

True. The polisher was not exactly at the top of his game at that time.

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I read this comment on YouTube and I thought it very appropriate in summing up ITTOD and Carouselambra, in particular. Most of us remember 1979, but this helps to put it into perspective a little better:

MrValiantAP6 wrote:

If someone was to ask me, 'what is my favourite song'? I would answer with out hesitation - Carouselambra. In Through the Out Door has no analogues. The guys were on the cusp, John's consistent rhythm pulled it off - it was Rock, but a kind of New Rock. Sure it feels like John Paul Jones had a big influence, hey, maybe it is his album, but look at the date - pc's and desktop power was still a dream. You hear stuff you've never heard before. The Beethoven's 5th.

Edited by The Dark Lord
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First time I've weighed in on this thread, I think. But with the 35th anniversary of "In Through the Out Door" looming, I've got the brown paper bag on my mind.

This is another case where I believe the thread title is misleading. "Dislike" is the wrong adverb, in my opinion. Just because ITTOD isn't beloved as much as "Physical Graffiti" or "IV" doesn't necessarily equate to it being disliked.

Say you like ice cream. You may enjoy many flavours...chocolate, vanilla, rum raisin, cookies n' cream, strawberry, whatever. Now, there may be a flavour you love more than the others but you still like the other flavours...just not as much.

But you don't dislike them.

It is the same with me regarding Led Zeppelin albums. There is not one album of theirs I dislike. I may not love them all with equal fervor, but they each have their high points that always reward each listen. Some albums suit particular moods more than others...some more introspective and contemplative rather than raucous party albums.

Is there a scientific study that posits the notion that ITTOD is the most disliked album of Led Zeppelin? Just from my own admittedly unscientific survey, none of the Zep fans I meet say in no uncertain terms that they hate ITTOD. One of my brothers ranks it his third favourite after "Presence" and "Physical Graffiti". I know several people who, if not their favourite, still have a sentimental attachment to ITTOD due to it being the first Led Zeppelin album they heard/bought.

They weren't alone. I remember lining up early that August morning in front of Licorice Pizza on Van Buren in Riverside, waiting for the store to open so I could buy ITTOD the day it was released. Many others made the same pilgrimage...and kept on making it, for ITTOD was the #1 album for seven consecutive weeks. It pulled up the rest of Zeppelin's catalogue to the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart in its wake.

I'm not blind to some of the album's flaws. The songwriting is uneven. It could be mixed better, especially with regard to Plant's vocals. You can barely decipher the lyrics. Which is okay for songs like "South Bound Saurez" and "In the Evening", but criminal for "Carouselambra", one of Plant's better and sharper lyrics.

The songwriting may not be as consistent as previous albums, but I like all the various grooves the band experiments with, in particular "South Bound Saurez", "Fool in the Rain", "Hot Dog", and "Carouselambra".

People complain about Jimmy being too laid back on ITTOD; that there's not enough guitars. First of all, Jimmy exhausted himself so completely with the intricate guitar work on "Presence", that he deserved to take a rest for the next album. Actually, after his (and Bonzo) dominance of "Presence", I kind of welcomed Jones and Plant asserting themselves the next time around. One of the things that endeared Led Zeppelin to me even more was the fact that the members weren't running off all the time making silly solo albums a la Kiss, the Who, and the Rolling Stones. That's because each member of Led Zeppelin was allowed to have his say...to contribute equally.

Even so, I disagree with those who say Jimmy doesn't play enough, that his guitars aren't prominent enough on ITTOD. I think his playing is forceful when needed ("In the Evening"), playful ("Hot Dog"), and tastefully restrained ("All My Love") when necessary. After the technical showcase of "Presence", it was bracing to hear him unleash the solos of savage fury on "In the Evening" and "South Bound Saurez"...just letting it rip. His approach to "All My Love" is perfect, with the stately acoustic flourishes and those incisive wah wah scratches. I also love how Jimmy is playing around with his rhythms...deconstructing them in a way...on songs like "Fool in the Rain" and "South Bound Saurez". The solo on "I'm Gonna Crawl" simultaneously makes my heart throb and leaves a lump in my throat. A soaring six-string squall of emotion.

Then there's "Carouselambra"...good god almighty, people, there are guitars scorching all over this track!!! I absolutely was floored by this song when I first heard it...it's stupendous in my book. I'll take on the whole bar, if I have to, defending this song. Lyrically and musically, it's one of the more richly textured and adventurous songs in the Led Zeppelin canon. It's a perfect snapshot of where Led Zeppelin was in 1979. Best of all, it wasn't "The Lemon Song" or "Black Dog" Part Deux.

To me "In Through the Out Door" was a band in flux. A band grappling with the shifting musical and technological tides. ITTOD was a means to an end...the only problem was that Bonham's untimely death prevented us from ever hearing what that end would be. No, "Coda" doesn't really give us any clue...with the exception of "Wearing and Tearing".

Think of it like this: in Led Zeppelin's album chronology, two of their most esoteric/eclectic albums, often misunderstood by fans and critics alike, were III and "Houses of the Holy". Both albums were followed by jaw-dropping masterpieces: IV and "Physical Graffiti".

One could argue that it was the band stretching out on albums like III and "Houses" that gave them the know-how and confidence to deliver the towering epics that followed in their wake.

That is how I look at ITTOD. It was the band trying on new hats and playing around with their formula to see what to keep as they moved into the 80s and what to jettison. With ITTOD and the 1980 tour under their belt, whose to say that when they reconvened for their next studio album that they wouldn't have a firmer grasp on their sonic direction. A bolder confidence.

I think the 9th studio album would have been a monster...a sort of summing up of the best parts of the new directions explored on "Presence" and "ITTOD", mixed with some of the German and minimalist avant-garde influences that were creeping into some of the live performances on the 1980 tour. Listening to some of the solos on "Trampled Underfoot" or "Whole Lotta Love" in 1980, I have to think Jimmy was listening to Neu!, Cluster, Popol Vuh, and maybe some Frippertronics.

Also, think of how Bonham's drumming and grooves had grown exponentially from Presence to ITTOD and his playing on the 1980 tour. Is there any doubt his beats would be monstrous and supple/complex on the next album? Just think if the 1980 US tour had happened...they would have been exposed to the hip-hop scene that was then rising from the underground and hear the playing around with beats and samples that was the bedrock of the sound. I believe that would have had a profound and positive effect on Bonham and the band...much like it did on The Clash when they toured the U.S. around the same time.

But then, I was always an optimist when it came to Led Zeppelin.

Finally, for the record: In the Creem Readers Poll of 1979, ITTOD came in #1 for Album of the Year and Led Zeppelin was Band of the Year. If memory serves, Robert, Jimmy, Jones, and Bonham all placed at or near the top in their respective instrumental/vocal categories.

Doesn't sound like an album that was "disliked" to me.

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Very well said here Strider. I too think that their next album would have been an epic one. Sadly it never happened.

Think of it like this: in Led Zeppelin's album chronology, two of their most esoteric/eclectic albums, often misunderstood by fans and critics alike, were III and "Houses of the Holy". Both albums were followed by jaw-dropping masterpieces: IV and "Physical Graffiti".

One could argue that it was the band stretching out on albums like III and "Houses" that gave them the know-how and confidence to deliver the towering epics that followed in their wake.

That is how I look at ITTOD. It was the band trying on new hats and playing around with their formula to see what to keep as they moved into the 80s and what to jettison. With ITTOD and the 1980 tour under their belt, whose to say that when they reconvened for their next studio album that they wouldn't have a firmer grasp on their sonic direction. A bolder confidence.

I think the 9th studio album would have been a monster...a sort of summing up of the best parts of the new directions explored on "Presence" and "ITTOD", mixed with some of the German and minimalist avant-garde influences that were creeping into some of the live performances on the 1980 tour. Listening to some of the solos on "Trampled Underfoot" or "Whole Lotta Love" in 1980, I have to think Jimmy was listening to Neu!, Cluster, Popol Vuh, and maybe some Frippertronics.

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I should clarify that I don't dislike this album, just Carouselambra. In fact that may be the only song of theirs I genuinely dislike.

Such a shame. It covers musical areas never touched before. A true prog song with cutting autobiographical lyrics, and leading edge synths. It does surprise me that it is such a polarizing song, knowing that it is as powerful and innovative as anything they have ever done. The way they strung together the three main sections and sequed the mood of the song is just mind boggling.

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Believe it or not, after the mighty "Physical Graffiti" and mammoth masterpieces like "Presence" and "IV", "In Through The Out Door" happens to be my 4th favourite album in the Led Zeppelin catalogue (yes, ahead of albums like Led Zeppelin I, II and III) and I'll tell you why. Look, if there is one thing that I really love for any of my favourite bands to do, is to have the balls, to put out an extremely bold album, which takes fans (like myself) completely by surprise! As one who was born much after the band's break up and who only listened to her first Led Zeppelin album at the age 16, I pretty much had to soak in the entire catalogue all at once! It was one of the most fascinating musical journeys that I ever took! On giving the first 7 albums numerous listens, my ears were pretty accustomed to the guitar and drums (literally) dominating almost every song. Then I picked up my dad's CD copy of "In Through The Out Door" and needless to say, my musical perception of Led Zeppelin changed, forever. As far as I am concerned, "In Through The Out Door" is nothing short of a ground breaking album, symbolizing boldness and sheer experimentation!

As much as I love "In The Evening", it is "South Bound Saurez", "Fool In The Rain", "Hot Dog", "All My Love", "Carouselambra" and "All My Love", which made this album, an absolute winner in my book! Here are my thoughts on each song:

"Fool In The Rain": This song is the one Led Zeppelin song which makes me want to dance, hop, skip and jump! A sheer delight to listen to! As much as I love the electric guitar, it is always a delight to listen to the piano being at the forefront! Also, at exactly 2 minutes and 35 seconds in to the song, I honestly felt that I was at a carnival at Rio! Such is the lovely carnival type atmosphere captured in this song, IMHO! :D

"South Bound Saurez": Yet another infectious song which honestly, makes me want to dance! Love the combined effect of the piano and guitar here! I always find myself singing along to this song, on a regular basis! I always seem to be characterizing this song as "light and frothy"! :)

"Hot Dog": This song just screams fun, IMHO! So bloody infectious! Also, my mom (who usually doesn't listen to rock music, general), just loves this song as she believes that this song as a "wonderful country-music type vibe to it".

"Carouselambra": Well, I have had plenty of fun, head-banging moments thanks to this song! :lol: The guitar riffs and keyboards do have an extremely rockin', sensual and hypnotic quality about them, in this song! :wub: This is one of their boldest songs ever! I think the boldest step that the band took musically, was right around the 7th minute of this song. At this point, I thought that I was listening to a composition, straight out of a sexy 80's pop tune! But, rather than shake my head in absolute disbelief and declare my dislike for this song (believe me, my dad has declared his vehement dislike for this song, time and time again and I honestly feared that his judgement might influence me, in some way!), I continued to listen in, absolutely astounded at the strange yet fascinating musical direction, this song was taking! It was a jaw dropping but incredibly exciting moment for me, musically! B)

"All My Love": Beautiful, heart-warming tribute to little Karac Plant. Love the orchestra-type feel to this song and of course, the beautifully restrained guitar riffs! Definitely, one of Led Zeppelin's most tender moments!

All in all, "In Through The Out Door" will always remain extremely special to me, since Led Zeppelin took on a music persona, which I most certainly did not envision! My love, respect and admiration for them increased even more after listening to this album, as they most certainly "dared to be different"! :wub:

Edited by Kiwi_Zep_Fan87
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Fair enough. I think they've delved into that area before with much more satisfying results (Achilles, Kashmir, In the Light, No Quarter, Rain Song, Stairway)

I guess that's what makes Zep special; something for everyone. Those songs that you mention are certainly Epic, but they have nowhere near the prog structure and sensibilities of Carouselambra. I guess that's what sets Carouselambra apart for me: it takes things to the next level. The song itself may not be their best, but I find it hard not to be impressed with its construction and innovation. I certainly put it my top 10 faves.

Edited by The Dark Lord
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Fair enough. I think they've delved into that area before with much more satisfying results (Achilles, Kashmir, In the Light, No Quarter, Rain Song, Stairway)

I guess that's what makes Zep special; something for everyone. Those songs that you mention are certainly Epic, but they have nowhere near the prog structure and sensibilities of Carouselambra. I guess that's what sets Carouselambra apart for me: it takes things to the next level. The song itself may not be their best, but I find it hard not to be impressed with its construction and innovation. I certainly put it my top 10 faves.

:drinks:

Believe it or not, after the mighty "Physical Graffiti" and mammoth masterpieces like "Presence" and "IV", "In Through The Out Door" happens to be my 4th favourite album in the Led Zeppelin catalogue (yes, ahead of albums like Led Zeppelin I, II and III) and I'll tell you why. Look, if there is one thing that I really love for any of my favourite bands to do, is to have the balls, to put out an extremely bold album, which takes fans (like myself) completely by surprise! As one who was born much after the band's break up and who only listened to her first Led Zeppelin album at the age 16, I pretty much had to soak in the entire catalogue all at once! It was one of the most fascinating musical journeys that I ever took! On giving the first 7 albums numerous listens, my ears were pretty accustomed to the guitar and drums (literally) dominating almost every song. Then I picked up my dad's CD copy of "In Through The Out Door" and needless to say, my musical perception of Led Zeppelin changed, forever. As far as I am concerned, "In Through The Out Door" is nothing short of a ground breaking album, symbolizing boldness and sheer experimentation!

As much as I love "In The Evening", it is "South Bound Saurez", "Fool In The Rain", "Hot Dog", "All My Love", "Carouselambra" and "All My Love", which made this album, an absolute winner in my book! Here are my thoughts on each song:

"Fool In The Rain": This song is the one Led Zeppelin song which makes me want to dance, hop, skip and jump! A sheer delight to listen to! As much as I love the electric guitar, it is always a delight to listen to the piano being at the forefront! Also, at exactly 2 minutes and 35 seconds in to the song, I honestly felt that I was at a carnival at Rio! Such is the lovely carnival type atmosphere captured in this song, IMHO! :D

"South Bound Saurez": Yet another infectious song which honestly, makes me want to dance! Love the combined effect of the piano and guitar here! I always find myself singing along to this song, on a regular basis! I always seem to be characterizing this song as "light and frothy"! :)

"Hot Dog": This song just screams fun, IMHO! So bloody infectious! Also, my mom (who usually doesn't listen to rock music, general), just loves this song as she believes that this song as a "wonderful country-music type vibe to it".

"Carouselambra": Well, I have had plenty of fun, head-banging moments thanks to this song! :lol: The guitar riffs and keyboards do have an extremely rockin', sensual and hypnotic quality about them, in this song! :wub: This is one of their boldest songs ever! I think the boldest step that the band took musically, was right around the 7th minute of this song. At this point, I thought that I was listening to a composition, straight out of a sexy 80's pop tune! But, rather than shake my head in absolute disbelief and declare my dislike for this song (believe me, my dad has declared his vehement dislike for this song, time and time again and I honestly feared that his judgement might influence me, in some way!), I continued to listen in, absolutely astounded at the strange yet fascinating musical direction, this song was taking! It was a jaw dropping but incredibly exciting moment for me, musically! B)

"All My Love": Beautiful, heart-warming tribute to little Karac Plant. Love the orchestra-type feel to this song and of course, the beautifully restrained guitar riffs! Definitely, one of Led Zeppelin's most tender moments!

All in all, "In Through The Out Door" will always remain extremely special to me, since Led Zeppelin took on a music persona, which I most certainly did not envision! My love, respect and admiration for them increased even more after listening to this album, as they most certainly "dared to be different"! :wub:

:goodpost:

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I guess that's what makes Zep special; something for everyone. Those songs that you mention are certainly Epic, but they have nowhere near the prog structure and sensibilities of Carouselambra. I guess that's what sets Carouselambra apart for me: it takes things to the next level. The song itself may not be their best, but I find it hard not to be impressed with its construction and innovation. I certainly put it my top 10 faves.

Quite right! Just because something is epic doesn't mean it's prog

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jimmy also didn't like the album.

Yes, I've heard that he was a litte too uncomfortable with JPJ's stamp all over it. As you know, there's a lot of give and take in a band, or you end up like Waters and Gilmour, or Paul and John.

I love basically every cut on ITTOD though ... used to get stoned then listen to it over and over at my parent's seasonal campground site in the Fall of '81 or '82, with a cassette recorder and a single ear jack.

No, it's not Physical Graffiti or LZII or IV. Because it wasn't meant to be.

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Yes, I've heard that he was a litte too uncomfortable with JPJ's stamp all over it. As you know, there's a lot of give and take in a band, or you end up like Waters and Gilmour, or Paul and John.

I love basically every cut on ITTOD though ... used to get stoned then listen to it over and over at my parent's seasonal campground site in the Fall of '81 or '82, with a cassette recorder and a single ear jack.

No, it's not Physical Graffiti or LZII or IV. Because it wasn't meant to be.

Good post. The album is essential to their catalogue, and is just as important to any die hard fan as any of their other albums, including Coda. Can't wait for the "In Through The Outdoor" and "Coda" deluxe box sets.....what treasure's they may reveal !! The book that comes with the box sets should also have some cool pics. Coda might finally be recognized as a more complete album now....esp. with the additional four songs found on the old box set. Cheers

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Yes, I've heard that he was a litte too uncomfortable with JPJ's stamp all over it...

This. In Through the Out Door is light on guitar pyrotechnics and heavier on the keyboard and synthesizer in comparison to the rest of Zeppelin's catalog. Perhaps this is why it isn't a fan favorite.

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This. In Through the Out Door is light on guitar pyrotechnics and heavier on the keyboard and synthesizer in comparison to the rest of Zeppelin's catalog. Perhaps this is why it isn't a fan favorite.

If Jimmy was unhappy with the emphasis on keyboards on ITTOD, there was a simple solution...SHOW UP AT THE STUDIO! While Page and Bonham dithered about with their addictions, Plant and Jones were at the studio. What were they supposed to do, twiddle their thumbs?

Also, if ITTOD isn't a "fan favorite", as you say, why are "In the Evening", "Fool in the Rain" and "All My Love" some of the most-played Led Zeppelin songs on the radio? Again, I restate my premise: Just because it isn't liked as much as IV or Physical Graffiti doesn't mean ITTOD is disliked/hated.

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People bitched and moaned about LZ3 as well because it was a different sound and journey from 1 and 2. By the time In Through the Out Door was released many of the first generation of Zeppelin fans had gotten older, and to them In Through The Out Door was crap, which is fine, to me it's a an important musical statement, and an amazing album. You have general lovers of music, who like anything and everything, and lovers of a particular type of music or style or sound and so there musical tastes are not as varied, which is fine as well.

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If Jimmy was unhappy with the emphasis on keyboards on ITTOD, there was a simple solution...SHOW UP AT THE STUDIO! While Page and Bonham dithered about with their addictions, Plant and Jones were at the studio. What were they supposed to do, twiddle their thumbs?

Also, if ITTOD isn't a "fan favorite", as you say, why are "In the Evening", "Fool in the Rain" and "All My Love" some of the most-played Led Zeppelin songs on the radio? Again, I restate my premise: Just because it isn't liked as much as IV or Physical Graffiti doesn't mean ITTOD is disliked/hated.

I could be wrong, but I think at least some of the "synth" sounds JPJ gets credit / blame for on ITTOD (Carouselambra in particular) are actually Jimmy Page on his Roland Guitar Synth. Page was running his guitar through an early ARP Synthesizer as far back as 1972-73. He was talking up his new Guitar Synths in 1978.. Check out the 3:12 mark of Carouselambra..

Don't get me wrong there's obviously a ton of keyboards.. but I also think there's more Page than it seems.

Edited by the chase
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