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leandar

Why the hate toward In Through The Out Door?

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I would go as far as to say ITTOD was the one album where his Producer credit was undeserved.

Why, we weren't there during the actual recording of that album, so how can you know Jimmy wasn't at the desk throughout? He arrived at Polar Studios before any of the rest of them, and he mixed the album himself at his home studio in Plumpton, so there's no reason to assume he was AWOL in the studio while the band were laying their parts down on tape...

I think sometimes too much is made of Jimmy's drug addiction at the time, the whole Zeppelin saga has become such a modern-day mythology (thank you Stephen Davis!) that certain aspects have become ingrained in people's minds and they just take it as gospel truth. That Jimmy was a full-blown heroin user at the time is not in dispute (although it's worth noting he unsuccessfully tried to kick it in late 1976), but he was also clearly a functional user, in that he wasn't so strung out that he was useless, he could still play like a demon in the studio and onstage, and he produced three albums - Presence, The Song Remains the Same, and In Through the Out Door - in his supposed 'haze'. Whether some of his more, uh, 'lesser' live performances in the 1977-80 period were because of his drug use, well, the song remained the same... more or less.

Whatever happened back in the day, I'm just glad Jimmy made it out alive, and is now happy and healthy... sad the same can't be said about Bonzo.

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I think the title of the album says it all. The Outdoor. Goodbye folks. They were contractually obligated at the time to do 2 more albums. So we have, in my opinion, an average album at best, and Coda. It was an unfortunate "swansong" to a decade of fabulous music. So as the sixties ended we got arguably the best live band which produced a body of work second to none, and as the seventies ended we said goodbye to all that with 2 big shows at Knebworth which, I had the pleasure of attending the first show.

I am personally glad it did because Plant put out the worst album ever in Shaken and Stirred and believe me if Zeppelin had gone down that road then it would have been disaster.

Edited by chillumpuffer

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Jones has clearly stated that the ITTOD studio sessions were fragmented. Jones and Plant would turn up every day and realize that they had better try and put some tracks down. Page and Bonham would, occasionally, show up at night and do their tracks in the songs that had mostly been created by Plant and Jones. Where Page had failed to do the odd guitar break, Jones would come back with a keyboard solo.

This un-Zeppelin like process was what made the album what it was. Yes, Page did his post-studio mastering, thereby fulfilling his Producer role. However, he was mostly absent from the studio control booth during the sessions, totally out of character from previous albums.

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Jones has clearly stated that the ITTOD studio sessions were fragmented. Jones and Plant would turn up every day and realize that they had better try and put some tracks down. Page and Bonham would, occasionally, show up at night and do their tracks in the songs that had mostly been created by Plant and Jones. Where Page had failed to do the odd guitar break, Jones would come back with a keyboard solo.

This un-Zeppelin like process was what made the album what it was. Yes, Page did his post-studio mastering, thereby fulfilling his Producer role. However, he was mostly absent from the studio control booth during the sessions, totally out of character from previous albums.

I think Jonesy was talking specifically about the actual writing/rehearsal sessions not the recording sessions... he said pretty much the same thing with regards the band's rehearsals at SIR Studios in L.A. just prior to the recording of Presence in late 1975; that he and Robert were the ones to show up on time whilst Jimmy and Bonzo would turn up much later.

But once recording began, Jimmy was focused and present by all accounts... they wouldn't or couldn't have recorded either album in three weeks (and in the case of Presence, mixed it too!) if one of them was in a perpetual drug haze, more so the producer.

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Presence was, by all accounts, an all-aboard effort. The only difference was working with Plant's car crash recovery. He was seated for his vocal tracks. The album was fast-tracked and Page was definitely very much at the controls. It was his favorite album. I don't believe he was all that messed up in 76 and could function as normal. A couple of years later, however, he and Bonzo were in very sorry shape.

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Getting back to ITTOD, I thought it was their weakest effort, not counting Coda. It just didn't SOUND like them, to me. I thought the best track was Carouselambra, so what does that say?

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It was hated because of how Un-Zeppelin it was. All through their career, Zeppelin did albums that were (for the most part) guitar driven songs. There is very little, if any Guitar based songs on ITTOD. Instead it's mainly keyboards, which made people disappointed.

I remember ordering and receiving the album with great excitement, only to be disappointed in its lack of power. Synthesized to the max for its time. I don't hate it, but didn't like it either.

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I really am amazed how Page tries to deny his junkie hood and it's effect on everything from 76'-83'. 99% of others have just owned up

to it and lamented most of it. And although Page plays very well on ITTOD, he is back to being a session man; as mentioned Jones and

Plant are basically compositionally in charge. And this change, and much more keys, push Zep into unexpected, even unwelcome

territory. Even though in the end Page is the ?? producer/mixer, still his part on this album is as a session man. Of course he came up

with numerous parts, but I think Zep fans could feel his only "partial" presence.

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When this album came out we listened to it all the time, we were totally thrilled that there was still a Led Zeppelin at that point! There was no hate for it then, all that crept in as the newness wore off.

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Yeah, absolutely true. Remember that even in the late 70's Rock was looked upon as something that could really set you free.

Nowadays there are so many other forms of entertainment, rock is only a "religion" to few.

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I read an interview lately with Page, and he said every Zep album was different than the one that came before it. So with ITTOD, Jonesy was taking charge and Page said "great, so we'll have a keyboard centric album, totally different from what came before". Maybe he is using creative hindsight, or maybe he really felt that way at the time.

When ITTOD came out, I love all of it, except Hot Dog (I was very anti-Country at the time) and All My Love (way too mellow). Other than that, I thought it was a pretty great album, and ITE made up for any weakness, I played it until the vinyl just about wore out!

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When this album came out we listened to it all the time, we were totally thrilled that there was still a Led Zeppelin at that point! There was no hate for it then, all that crept in as the newness wore off.

With me, it was the opposite. When I first heard it, it was hard to admit I was disappointed... Not all of it, but the three "piano" tracks in a row were a bit of a shock. Lyrically it was very different as well. Robert was coming from a very different place. Life changing events change people. It's that simple. Fool In The Rain was a story. The only story I can really think of up to then was Gallows Pole. But the album grew on me and it's as important as any other Zeppelin release. In some ways more so than some because it was at such a crucial time their lives, in particular, Robert's life. Edited by the chase

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See? There's the variety of opinions! I loved the three piano tracks, as you say, especially since there were none at all on Presence. I'm actually surprised, considering the state of grief Robert was in, that the lyrics weren't darker and more grieving than they were.

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Yeah. I kind of see this album as a rough diamond spinning in time. Sometimes when the diamond is "frozen" the side I see makes the

album more or less attractive to me. For some reason the other Zep albums are much more defined and not subject to wobbling like

or dislike.

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I was just listening to side 2 of PG, which is something I enjoy more than many of their single albums at times - and noted there are plenty of piano / synth songs throughout. So the notion that ITTOD's main issue is too much of that, doesn't seem to carry much weight, now.

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Well I would argue that side 2 of PG simply has rock solid songwriting and peerless performance regardless of instrumentation. ITTOD

seems much more "tentative".

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The keyboards used on side two of PG are much more classic sounds than the ones used on ITTOD too, Hammond organs, Fender Rhodes & Wurlitzers have aged better to my ears than the sounds created by the Yamaha on ITTOD.

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Mook, that's a great explanation; you mentioned something I felt only subliminally or unconsciously. I am a musician and those sounds

on the various keys on PG are classic. I do think some of the ITTOD sounds are cool, but considering JPJ is regarded as one of the most

tasteful players ever, I still consider his dalliance with that Yamaha whatever a perpetual mystery.

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Was the Yamaha his solution to the years of inconsistent sounds of the mellotron? Basically, an all-in-one keyboard that could eliminate his stage set-up of piano, mellotron, and other keyboards?

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Arguably that mellotron wasn't a constant problem. All in one solution- interesting, although Jones himself never mentioned that. What's

funny IMO is that there have been heated discussions that audience boots of the 80' tour(with new keys) present a far more accurate

picture of the changeover than the soundboards from that tour. I must say that many of the boards do in fact make that new keyboard

sound like a toy key !! and not really in tune, either. I still find the whole thing puzzling, like if Page switched over suddenly to a Gibson

ES-175 Hollow-Body electric, a great guitar but something Page would be fighting with constantly.

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I shall share my feelings on the subject, because I fall into the camp of vehemently disliking, even hating this album, and a big part of the reason is because it starts off so damn well and then almost immediately falls away into nothing. I will add, I don't think In Through The Out Door is a wholly bad album, it's just a bad Zeppelin album, if In Through The Outdoor had happened to be a debut album from some unknown band I would be less critical, but that's not the case so my criticism remains as high as Zeppelin's normally lofty standards.

In The Evening is glorious, it's sharp and it manages to sound raw yet mature at the same time, and thus it is the finest moment on the album, a great start, which makes the rest of the album sound worse by comparison

Then... Well... Everything starts to go South, (pun fully intended) on South Bound Suarez. The lyrics don't do anything for me, nor does Plant's delivery of them.

Fool In The Rain, starts off well, but then the guys breakdown into complete samba mode, ugh, just no, no no no. Perfectly good song ruined, can't stand it.

Hot Dog... Where to even start... This is Zeppelin's worst song bar none, there is nothing I like about it whatsoever, I don't even want to acknowledge that is exists, I cannot even bring myself to speak of it.

Carouselambra... Synth much?!? Jonesy certainly went a touch crazy with it. This track actually does have it's moments but frankly it tries to do far far too much and I fear it doesn't even know what it's meant to be, certainly sounds that way to me.

All My Love, this one is brilliant, well done all around, the guitar is beautiful and Robert's voice is as good as it has ever been, it's deeply moving, as you would expect.

I'm Gonna Crawl, a very strong finish, love the lyrics and the quality of Robert's controlled strain, it just sounds gorgeous and it's the perfect follow up to All My Love.

There are in my opinion only three tracks from In Through The Out Door worthy of respect and they are In The Evening, All My Love and I'm Gonna Crawl, those three are brilliant, 5 stars for all three of them, as for the rest... Nowhere near. There is only one album which was more disappointing and that is Coda.

Personally I rank the albums like this:
1. Led Zeppelin IV (5 stars)
2. Led Zeppelin II (5 stars. This is my personal favourite, but I can be objective and rank IV above it due to material on IV, but I love II just as much if not more)
3. Physical Graffiti (5 stars)
4. Led Zeppelin III (5 stars)
5. Houses of the Holy (5 stars)
6. Led Zeppelin (5 stars)
7. Presence (4 stars)
8. In Through The Outdoor (3 stars)
9. Coda (2 and 1/2 stars)

Edited by Marko_Zoso

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For me, Led Zeppelin mainly was an emotional band. They were exceptional musicians, but other bands had great instrumentalists, singers and songwriters too. What made LZ outstanding was their emotional approach. In this regard, ITTOD imo is a true masterpiece. All my love and I'm gonna crawl are some of their most emotional songs ever.

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The album certainly wasn't "hated" at the time of its release, it was a monstrous success, and music retailers of the day literally credited the album with saving the record industry.  The sheer heft of Led Zeppelin's name and reputation brought fans rolling back into moribund record stores, and they also spent time buying other bands' product whilst there.  Also, all of Zeppelin's other albums reappeared on the charts, which was unprecedented.  The record was an overwhelming and unqualified success.  The band also dominated the reader-voted music magazine awards on both sides of the Atlantic if memory serves.

I was still in high school then, and people were blasting the cassette or 8-tracks of the album out of their car stereos left and right.  I noticed it was a little different than what had come before, but didn't care.  It was Led Zeppelin, man!  And a year later when they were about to tour the States, everyone I knew was psyched beyond all belief and trying to figure out how we were going to come up with tickets.  The 1980 US tour would have been another monster success had it come to pass.

ITE is a full-blooded rocker.  SBS is an uptempo romp with a screaming Page solo.  FITR is one of the most interesting and eclectic songs they ever recorded, Plant is singing very well, Bonham is off the charts and Page plays a very inventive synthesized guitar solo, his imagination still clearly intact.  Hot Dog didn't do a lot for me, but Carouselambra was another grand epic.  Yes, it's keyboard dominated, but what keyboards!  Bonzo is thrilling from start to finish, and Page's heavy guitar section in the middle is stunning.  All My Love is simply beautiful, then and now.  And I'm Gonna Crawl was Led Zeppelin doing a heavy blues as only they could.  Jones' contributions to the album were simply superb throughout.

I think it's bad reputation among some fans is really something that developed thru the years.  Jimmy's comments on his sort of dissatisfaction with it have perhaps contributed to some of that, but it seems that was a difficult period for him and perhaps one could hazard a guess those factors might at least partially color his thinking about it.  btw, all of this is of course just one fan's opinions, but I would add with conviction that I don't think Page has anything to "confess" or "own up to" about that or any other period of his life.  It's a personal thing.  Whatever he was going thru at the time, it doesn't require a mea culpa from him to the fans.

One other point about the era, it seems pretty evident based on his comments across the years that by the time they convened to record ITTOD, Robert Plant wasn't too sure of what he was doing.  Perhaps the album could have been titled One Foot Thru The Out Door vis-a-vis his continued participation in the band.  He's been very honest in interviews about how the shocking death of his son changed him deeply.  I think it's pretty clear he was all but done with being in Led Zeppelin by this point in time.  My guess is he was looking for that out door, and just struggling with how/when to leave.  If that's accurate, surely his bandmates sensed this.  It was a very weird time for them all.

The biggest drawback to the record imo was that the sound was entirely too muddy.  Page and John Davis finally rescued it when they provided the much-needed remaster to it, and it sounds great now.  Also, the three tracks from the sessions which later appeared on Coda would have lent a bit more rockiness to the initial release, but it was still the era of 33 and 1/3, and 40-45 minutes of vinyl time was all they had to work with.  But I'll hazard a guess that had Wearing And Tearing appeared on ITTOD, we wouldn't have had over 35 years of how weak the album was.  

Hopefully the album will come in for a new listen/look now that the sonics of it have been improved.  It really is their weakest effort in the end, but it's still Led Zep, it's still great, and I'm happy that it's there.

 

  

 

Edited by White Phone
spelling

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For me Jimmy wasn't at the helm and the songwriting suffered. It's more like a pop album in places.

A lot is made of Page's addiction at the time, but I think a condition of Plant's return, after his son died, was that the band took a different approach and he had more of a say. In the early days, Page was the band leader and the one with more experience; by ITTOD, Plant had asserted himself as his equal and the power dynamic had shifted. 

Edited by Flares

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The death of little Karac Plant undoubtedly had a very profound effect on the dynamics within Zeppelin; not only was Robert Plant very, very serious about not only walking away from the band but from music altogether, and the rest of the band and their manager knew it.  They gave Robert time to grieve with his family, and during that time, it was Bonzo who was there for him and who helped bring him out of his 'dark night of the soul' and convinced him to rejoin the band in the spring of 1978.  But things were different, and everyone knew it, Plant was ready and willing to walk at any time and that gave him real leverage, plus with Jimmy's and Bonzo's spiraling addictions, it was often ultimately left to Robert and John Paul Jones to work on new material before the other two showed up much later, and by that time, material was already written, and that also gave Jonesy a bigger say in the direction of the album than he ever had before, but it was Robert who ultimately had the balance of power in Zeppelin from that point on... most evident in the fact he was able to dictate when, if, and how long the band could tour at any given time; it was Plant not the management who decided to go to ground after Knebworth, to embark on the 1980 Over Europe tour, and to do the North American tour later that same year (but under strict and predetermined conditions).

It's also why I believe that had Bonzo not died when he did, that Plant would still have walked away from the band after the follow-up to ITTOD... it's unlikely that he would have been willing to sign a new contract to keep him locked in to Zeppelin for another decade or so, Plant was ready to spread his wings and fly at that point, it was only a matter of when... but the death of Bonzo made that decision for him.

And Plant's leverage still exists to this day, it was he who (supposedly) vetoed playing the likes of 'Immigrant Song' and 'Achilles Last Stand' at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert in 2007.

The more things change, the more they (and the song) remains the same... God bless Percy, for refusing to sully the Zeppelin name by indulging in a 'reunion' tour, and for that, he'll always have my gratitude and appreciation.

 

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