The 6 Variant Album Covers of Led Zeppelin's "In Through the Out Door"
6 Variant Album Covers
In my opinion Led Zeppelin has always had some great album covers and for what would become their last studio album "In Through the Out Door" was no exception. Zeppelin employed design team Hipgnosis, who they worked with on their prior three albums, to design the package and marketing for their eighth album "In Through the Out Door" which was finally released August 15, 1979 after several delays. The album was originally released with a brown paper bag slip cover that had a rubber stamp identifying the band and album title, which had a minimalist look and feel, very reminiscent to how live bootlegs were being packaged and released at this time. However the bags design was for concealing the cover image. When the paper slip cover was removed it revealed a sepia style scene inside a bar which was on both the front and back covers. Why the concealment? For marketing purposes six different jackets were produced and tucked inside the brown paper sleeve which kept the buyer unaware of the cover they were purchasing. The hope was that sales would be increased, while fans and collectors tried to obtain all six versions. although the six LP covers are very similar in appearance, side by side there are noticeable differences.
The Stage Is Set
First lets look at how we identify the six different covers. On the spine of each cover, near the top, is a letter A, B, C, D, E, or F, signifying the six different album covers. Even though "A Back" is the same "view" as "D Front" (and so on), it is a slightly different "picture"; hence there are 6 variant album covers.
The Bar Scene has seven people who are -- a man standing with wallet out (1) -- a woman sitting at end of bar (2) -- a woman standing at end of bar, leaning on wall (3) -- the piano player (4) -- the bartender (5) -- a woman leaning on juke box (6) -- the patron or "John" (7) -- the patron has been dumped by his woman, and is burning the dear john letter while drinking at the bar, with the remnants in the ashtray shown on the inner dust jacket.
Each album cover front and back has a point of view that you are seeing through which is one of the six people in the bar scene, the seventh being "John". When looking at either the front or back album cover, you can see who's eyes you are looking through, by turning the cover over, the person in the center, will be the person who's eyes you were looking through on the other side. Within the six albums we are able to look through everyone's eyes except "John's".
The Inside Scoop
Inside of each record jacket came a unique inner dust jacket which appeared to be just a black and white image of a drink and cigarettes etc on the bar. However, when it comes in contact with water, various pastel colors appear, which will remain that way, rather than turning back to black and white -- The best way to "colorize" your inner sleeve is to use a spray or misting bottle of water (the kind used for glass cleaner, like "Windex") and adjust the nozzle for a fine mist and very carefully mist your sleeve!
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Did You Know ??
The album was so named by the group as a description of there troubles fueled by alcohol and drug addictions midst the death of Robert Plants son coupled with the bands taxation exile from the United Kingdom which resulted in the band being unable to tour the UK for over two years. It was said that trying to get back into the public mind would be like trying to get "In Through The Out Door".
Brown Paper Slipcover Front
Brown Paper Slipcover Back
Front Cover A (point of view) Man Standing with Wallet Out
Back Cover A (point of view) Woman Sitting at End of Bar
Front Cover B (point of view) Woman Standing at End of Bar, Leaning on Wall
Back Cover B (point of view) The Piano Player
Front Cover C (point of view) The Bartender
Back Cover C (point of view) Woman Leaning on the Juke Box.
Front Cover D (point of view) Woman Sitting at End of Bar
Back Cover D (point of view) Man Standing with Wallet Out
Front Cover E (point of view) Piano Player
Back Cover E (point of view) Woman Standing at End of Bar, Leaning on Wall
Front Cover F (point of view) Woman Leaning on Juke Box
Back Cover F (point of view) Bartender
Inside Dust Jacket - Side A
Colorized Inside Dust Jacket - Side A
Inner Dust Jacket - Side B
Colorized Inside Dust Jacket - Side B
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Did You Know ??
The bar scene it-self is a re-creation of an Old Absinthe Bar, at 400 Bourbon Street, just around the corner from the Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans.
On the bar wall there is a small sign below the license plates that reads "Contains Lead" this is only visible on "E -- Front Cover" and "B -- Back Cover" and is only readable on the LP covers, not the CDs.
In the late 1980s, the record company stopped making five varieties of jackets, and the "F" cover was all that was produced. A bar code was added on the back as well.
When "In Through the Out Door" was first released on Compact Disc the "B front cover" was selected for the cover to used for. The reason being is that B front cover image (along w/ "E back cover") are the only pictures to feature everyone in the scene at least partially. The insert on the later released Remastered CD folds out into three pictures. The cover is "B front", the middle picture and the back CD insert are from cover "C".
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