'In Through the Out Door'
"It was four of us, but i don’t think it was as Led Zeppelin as it might've been," Plant said of Zeppelin's eighth and final studio album. Tax problems forced them to decamp to Sweden, where they recorded at Abba's Polar Studios. With Page addicted to heroin, Bonham a deteriorating alcoholic and Plant still mourning the death of his son Karac in 1977, the mighty band seemed like a spent force.
Page was increasingly unengaged, forcing Jones to step up as producer (it's the only Zep album where the guitarist doesn't get a writing credit on every song). The music moved away from the heavy riffs into subtler textures steeped in Jones' love of synthesizers. "I had a new toy," he said.
And, yet, while many fans found it compromised and weak, In Through the Out Door is a fascinating hodgepodge, brim- ming with intriguing, if not always fully realized, possibilities: the Latin-tinged "Fool in the Rain," the electro-rock anthems "In the Evening" and "Carouselambra" and the fun country goof "Hot Dog." Plant explored his grief over the loss of Karac over Jones' gloaming synths on the grand elegy "All My Love" – a soft moment that's, ironically, one of their most cathartic.
Page optimistically envisioned the next album as raw and stripped-down – a rebirth for a new decade that began instead with Bonham's alcohol-related death in September 1980. "It happened at the beginning of a new lease on life," Jones recalled. "So it hit us all very hard."
– Jon Dolan