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Rock Hall Anniversary: Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door

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By the late 1970s, things were not going well for Led Zeppelin. While the group was still setting attendance records, and their 1976 album Presence was the band’s fifth number one album, their film The Song Remains the Same wasn’t well received by either fans or critics (though the album was a number two album), their 1977 tour was besieged by riots, arrests, and finally the death of Robert Plant’s five-year old son Karac, which put the brakes on the rest of the tour.

As Led Zeppelin was speculated to be breaking up, they returned to the studio to record their eighth studio album, to help quell those rumors. But during the sessions, guitarist/producer Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham were both struggling with dependencies, leaving Plant and bassist John Paul Jones to have a bigger influence on the album, having written much of the material. Among the seven tracks on the resulting album In Through the Out Door, the key ones included “All My Love” (written in memory of Plant’s son), “Fool in the Rain” (which peaked at number twenty-one on the US charts), and “In The Evening”. The album cover had an outer sleeve resembling a brown paper bag, with six different sleeves, featuring different pairs of photos.

Like most of their albums, In Through the Out Door was panned by critics upon release. But also again, that would be highly outshined by it’s commercial performance, as the album hit number one in six countries (including the US where it stayed for seven weeks), and went on to sell over six million copies worldwide.

Also upon release, Zeppelin’s entire catalog reentered the Billboard 200 album charts. But sadly, this would be the band’s final studio album. In the fall of 1980, John Bonham died at the age of 32, resulting in Zeppelin’s breakup a few months later.