Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: In Through The Out Door
Recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm Sweden
Label: Swan Song
Musicians: Robert Plant – vocals, Jimmy Page – Guitars, Gizmotron, John Paul Jones – Bass, Mandolin, Keyboards, Synth, Piano, John Bonham – Drums
Producer: Jimmy Page
Engineer: Leif Mases
In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, and their final album of entirely new material. It was recorded over a three-week period in November and December 1978 at ABBA’s Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, (yes, that Abba).
The album’s title reflects the personal turmoil that band members had been going through before and during its recording. For example, frontman Robert Plant and his wife had gone through a serious car accident, and their young son, Karac Plant, tragically died from a stomach illness. All four band members also felt weary of dealing with record companies and other associates.
I got my copy on vinyl used and complete with paper bag over the cover intact in near mint condition for $1 at a swapmeet of all places. Mostly the paper bag is gone on these, so I was fortunate. Not that having the bag is important as I am not a collector, but it’s nice to get the complete package with used records now and again or near the complete package in this case.The original album packaging featured an unusual gimmick; the album had an outer sleeve which was made to look like a plain brown paper bag (reminiscent of similarly packaged bootleg album sleeves with the title rubber-stamped on it), and the inner sleeve featured black and white line artwork which, if washed with water, would become permanently fully coloured. (I do not have the original inner sleeve). There were also six different sleeves featuring a different pair of photos (one on each side), and the external brown paper sleeve meant that it was impossible for record buyers to tell which sleeve they were getting. (There is actually a code on the spine of the album jacket which indicated which sleeve it was—this could sometimes be seen while the record was still sealed.)
Surprisingly, I only have one Led Zeppelin LP in my library, this one. I need to fix that, don’t I.
My favorites tracks on this LP are:
In The Evening = I just like the structure of this tune and there is something about the guitar work in it that thrills me. The track features an extended droning introductory section led by Jimmy Page on guitar, which also includes low sustaining bass pedals played by John Paul Jones and also featured John Bonham playing a tympano; doing long extended single stroke rolls and random single hits, while he changed the pitch of the drum using the foot pedal. Page used a Gizmotron to create the droning effects and sliding solo at the beginning of the song. The Stratocaster’s whammy bar was used, giving the riff a distinctive diving sound. The ‘slamming door’ effect heard at the onset of the guitar solo is a noise from the strings of the guitar being pulled off the magnets of the pickups due to the guitar’s tremolo bridge slackening the stings so much the strings were initially magnetized to the pickup’s pole pieces.
The creation of this song can be traced largely to Led Zeppelin bassist and keyboardist, John Paul Jones.
Carouselambra = I think I tend to be drawn to long songs. The name Carouselambra is a reference to the first section of the song sounding similar to carousel music. It is the second-longest song the band recorded in the studio (after “In My Time of Dying”), clocking in at more than 10 minutes in length. I like the complexity of this tune. I like the time changes and the keyboard work stands out to me.
It’s also a very unusual song for the band, as Jimmy Page’s guitar work is pushed almost to the background, while John Paul Jones dominates with heavy use of synthesizers.
The song itself is split in three sections. The first section is a fast-paced showcase of Jones on synthesizer (he overdubbed bass guitar), with Robert Plant’s vocals mixed down slightly underneath Jones, the drums of John Bonham and Page’s guitar chord progression. The second section is much slower in pace, highlighting Page’s use of the Gibson EDS-1275 double-necked guitar, the only time he used that instrument on a Led Zeppelin studio song, while Plant sings some reflective lyrics. The final section returns to an up-tempo beat, with all four band members performing in unison. Page’s deep, droning guitar sound was produced with a Gizmotron, a device that creates infinite sustain, weird harmonics, and allows the guitar to sound like a string section.
Plant’s vocals, particularly in the first section of the song, are somewhat buried in the mix and the words are difficult to discern. According to an interview Plant gave in 1979, the song was about someone who, when one day realizing the song was written about them, would say, “My God! Was it really like that?”
This song was never played live.