On August 15, 1979, "Led Zeppelin" released their eighth and final studio album "In Through The Out Door".
This album was born out of a tragedy that befell Robert Plant two years earlier.
On July 26, 1977, while Led Zeppelin was in the middle of a US tour, Plant received a phone call from his then-wife in England. She informed him that their five-year-old son Karac was in critical condition due to an unclear stomach infection.
Two hours later another phone call came, and Plant received the bitter news, that his wife told him that his son Karac was dead.
The news hit Plant very hard. Beyond the fact that he felt his world was destroyed, he could not stand the fact that he was at that horrible moment so far away from his family with no ability to do anything.
The rest of the tour was stopped immediately and the ten remaining performances for the band in the US were canceled. Plant immediately returned home and asked to be alone with his family. He lost his desire to continue with "Led Zeppelin", he has already made up his mind that he is going to end his musical career. At one point he even considered becoming a teacher at the "Rudolf Steiner Waldorf" school.
The three band members gave Plant all the time he needed to recover from the heavy blow that fell on him. They showed true friendship, and supported and encouraged him to return to the world of music, but only when he felt ready.
After more than a year of hiatus, Robert Plant decided to return to the band. In November 1978, they entered the "Polar" studio in Stockholm, owned by "ABBA", to record the album.
At that time disco, punk, and new wave dominated the music world, and "Led Zeppelin" knew they needed to update their sound in order to be relevant This is one of the reasons this album differs in its musical style in a very substantial way from the rest of the band's albums.
Another reason for the fundamental change in sound and style stemmed from the fact that at the time Jimmy Page was heavily addicted to heroin while John Bonham was deeply immersed in alcohol. They were sometimes late for the studio and some cases did not appear at all. Under these circumstances, the craft of writing fell mainly on the shoulders of Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, who co-wrote 6 of the 7 songs on the album, the largest number of songs he has written for "Led Zeppelin's" album.
Jones was experimenting at the time with the "Yamaha GX-1" synthesizer he had purchased just before the recordings, which is another reason why on this album the keyboards took over the guitar riffs.
The album opens up with the "Gizmotron" effect that Page used on the guitar, which slowly puts us on the gates of "In the Evening", which is without a doubt one of the best songs on the album and a great choice to open it up. Plant wrote the words about the rich and famous who are not immune to pain and suffering but exposed to them like any other person. A kind of allusion to the situation he is in.
The second track "South Bound Saurez" includes a spelling mistake when the band's intention was for the word "Suarez" which means "party". It's a song that John Paul Jones was the main writer and it revolved around his piano playing. Page noted that he made some playing mistakes during the recording, but he preferred to be spontaneous and left it in the final mix. It's one of the band's few songs to which Page has no contribution in terms of writing.
In the song "Fool in the Rain" there was an intention to combine samba with rock and as a result, it is one of Zeppelin's most special songs in terms of rhythm. It combines two different rhythms that intersect. The band members who watched the 78 World Cup held in Argentina, heard a lot of samba rhythms and decided to combine them into a song. Page uses here a special effect called "Blue Box" a kind of Fuzz effect that lowers the tone by two octaves.
The song that seals the first side of the album - "Hot Dog" is a rockabilly piece influenced by Elvis and Ricky Nelson. During rehearsals in the studio, the band members played songs from the two artists and the jam session evolved into a song.
The other side of the vinyl opens up with one of the band's most complex and unique pieces - "Carouselambra", a more than 10-minute piece dominated mainly by John Paul Jones' playing, which covers several musical styles, even disco. Jimmy Page uses his famous double-neck guitar "Gibson EDS-1275" here. The lyrics were written by Plant about the band's condition and the relationship between its members at the time.
From here we move on to the most exciting section of the album, perhaps even the most emotional of the band in all of its diverse and rich repertoire. "All My Love" is the first song Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones wrote when they first entered the studio. Contrary to many people's beliefs, this is not a love song but a song of longing and parting from Robert Plant from his eldest son Karac, who passed away two years earlier. Plant noted that this is a tribute to the happiness that Karac has given to the family. It is interesting to note that Robert Plant's song "I Believe" from 1993 is also dedicated to his son Karac.
The album is sealed with the excellent blues ballad "I'm Gonna Crawl", the last song on the last album that drummer John Bonham played before his death. Robert Plant was influenced here by Wilson Pickett's solo music.
During the sessions for the album, the band recorded four more songs - "Wearing and Tearing", "Ozone Baby", "Walter's Walk" and "Darlene" which were not included in the album due to space constraints. The songs will appear later on the album "CODA".
There are several interpretations regarding the name chosen for the album "In Through The Out Door".
The first, apparently refers to the fundamental change in the music world that the band members had to deal with while recording the album. Something that felt to them like "going against the flow" - "In Through The Out Door".
The second, argues that Robert Plant toyed with the idea of assigning himself to a gay image, when the name of the album could be an ironic interpretation of anal sex.
The third, attributed to the area where the band members grew up - "Out Door" was the name of liquor stores that lined up next to pubs.
The fourth, refers to the feelings Robert Plant went through after the death of his son and his return to the world of music, just like coming out of grief and coming back to life.
Before concluding, a few words on the album cover.
As you know, almost every "Led Zeppelin" album cover is special and unique, and so is this case.
The album had six different covers that featured a pair of different images from each side of the album. All the pairs of photos showed the same "scene" that was filmed in a bar and showed a man dressed in white sitting on the bar, only that it was shot from different angles, Seemingly from the angle of each of the other characters in the photo.
To prevent buyers from knowing which cover they would receive, the album was wrapped on the outside in brown paper reminiscent of simple wrapping paper.
But that's not all, because the inner cover of the album also includes an interesting "trick". If you wet the inner cardboard cover that includes a black and white drawing, it becomes colorful, just like a drawing book for a child. This trick, apparently, was also dedicated to the memory of Karac, the son of Robert Plant.
With the release of the album, it jumped straight to number one on the Billboard 200 where it stayed for 7 weeks. The release of the album led to an unprecedented achievement for the band, as in October and November 1979 the entire "Led Zeppelin" catalog re-entered the charts, apparently following acquisitions of the old albums following the release of the current album.