Robert Plant wrote the lyrics about the state of the band at the time: they were not all getting along. Jimmy Page and John Bonham were spending a lot of time together enjoying life as rock stars, while Plant and John Paul Jones were showing up on time and doing most of the work on the album. As a result, the band wasn't working together as much, but Page and Bonham were capable of working on their own and would add their parts when they did show up, usually very late at night. The lyrics ended up getting drowned out in the mix, mostly by Page's guitar, so they are very hard to understand.
The song reminded the band of something you might hear when riding on a carousel, hence the name of the song.
Suggestion credit: Marshall - Gallatin, TN
Jimmy Page played a double-neck guitar on this. Some of it is processed through a Gizmotron, a device that adds distortion.
One of Led Zeppelins longer songs, this runs 10:28.
Paulimperial from BremertonWhile it is true that Page used a Gizmotron for this song, its purpose is not distortion. This device has tiny spinning 'wheels' for each string and produces drones and infinite sustain, which if you listen to this song at a fair enough volume you can hear in Pages guitar playing, especially during the slower, middle section. There is a Gizmotron 2.0 now available.
Musiclover69 from CanadaAn intense and awesome song with some seriously sophisticated lyrics. I believe that Plant was quite interested in ‘Lord of The Rings’ type fantasy and mythology although some parts may be symbolic references to various misfortunes having plagued the band’s career (e.g. the abrupt end of the 1977 US tour due to the death of Plant’s son etc). The song is otherwise a prime example of synthesizers used effectively in a heavy rock song but it should also be mentioned that if you strip away the keyboards there are some pretty badass guitar chords and riffs in there.
Jules from OregonFell in love with this the first time I heard it and love it still. It just works.
Josh from Alta Loma, CaThis is the song you drive through any parking lot blasting it at full volume with your windows down.
Lisa from East Tn. , TnPagey and Robert were not getting along during the recording of ITTOD that a fact. You can hear Jonesy took over a lot.Pagey and John Bonham were into to drugs mostly Heroin and staying out all night. Robert did say that he and JPJ would come in the AM do there parts and Jimmy and John would come along in the evening and record there bits. Kinda like ships passing in the night, I remember very well when this album came out in Summer 1979. I was so looking forward to a tour I would be old enough to go to a concert and Led Zeppelin was who I desperately wanted to see at 14 years old, and got the ok from my parents.Then the devastation of losing John the following year. I can't help but wonder if the lyric from Robert was a direct comment about Jimmy "Where was your word, where did you go? Where was your helping, where was your bow? Bow."
Steve from Alliston, QcI believe the "hunter's eye" to be a reference to the heroin that had takin over Jimmy,John and Richard.The verse that starts "where was your word" is about Peter, Jimmy and John Paul not being there at Karac's funeral."They had to stay" refering to them staying in New Orleans after Richard ,john and him returned to England
Heather from Los Angeles, CaSome Zeppelin songs I love and some I hate. There's not much in the middle for me. I love this song...it's so different and plays through my head with ease. I love its length...no abrupt stops. If these guys had been born 200 years ago they would've been great classical musicians as well.
Jesse from Madison, WiSome people. This song is one of the best ever. Over-produced? This song was a masterpiece through and through. And that synthesizer. YUMMMMM.
David from Sydney, AustraliaThis song has a similar beat to "Run Like Hell" from Pink Floyd, although it's about 2 1/2 times as long as that song. If you play both songs simultaneously, you notice a similarity between the two songs.
Priscilla from Dublin, --My favorite song ever!!
Matthew from Cincinnati, Ohi agree with don, this song is like a conscious awakening from beginning to end. always revolving around one's self, it is a self narrative story with subplots intertwined; a real gem. not many other bands could pull of the 80's synths and outrageous rhythym while actually complementing the piece with them. what amazes me about this song in particular was that zep was having a difficult time carrying on as a band, yet still is able to capture such an honest picture of their scene at this given place. it's easy to see the 'viking' references. this person in particular was stubborn yet innocent, dangerously brave yet wise, reflective yet clouded. and perhaps the way to explain the story is to direct the listener on a 'carousel' of informative experience. the lyrics alone make the piece worth the investigation. and you gotta love jonesy's work on the keys, simply groovin' -so now my attempt to answer kelly's question... it could be anyone who knows what the speaker means? as if the song becomes its own figure and asks the listener to understand its message. no more is it plant speaking, rather it's his 'child' which has become a breathing, speaking entity of prose. nick said it's trippy and i'll agree to that. it reminds me of a robert hunter lyric...
Kathi from Detroit, MiI don't remember him playing a double neck during the intro of this song, what he changes somewhere? I would hate to think we were ripped off on that black and white seg and that they lied to us. Man, we were almost going to get to see them live I guess during one of their rehearsals back in 1980. Page will hate me if I say that's where we first heard eminence front - the rehearsal of the carouselambra rehearse show we never got to see! Sad me.
Kathi from Detroit, MiSo,we will never get to hear this song live? I remember it used to be the intro to some videos on tv and it was just a black and white seg with Page playing guitar. It was beautiful. I think this song is better than Kashmire or Trampled Underfoot, maybe as good as Bring it on Home, and as good as Black Mountain Side, but in a different way. It just sounds funky, and it's deep; I love it!
Jeremy from Ventura, Caalina,
I agree with everything you said.
especially the part about Led Zeppelin Nad Pink Floyd being the greatest bands on earth.
Alina from Karlstad, Swedeni really hate this song !! i think its strange, all my love, in the evening and i'm gonna crawl all belong to my favourites, but i really hate the rest of ITTOD!! i see their point with the samba, bluegrass and so on but i don't like that kind of music!! still zep is the best band ever, along with floyd!
Mike from Skokie, IlNot to stick my chest out, but being the Zep lunatic (see allexperts.com) I digitally isolated the lyrics once and for all and posted them into songmeanings.net. It's an set of observations as to the excess of the 77 tour and how he compared it to various Norse mythos, as usual (as with Achilles...). It documented the groupie scene, the craziness in general, versed against the moment that reality hit him in the face when, in New Orleans, he picked up the phone to hear his son died ("I heard the word..."). Mostly kind of sad. Gorgeous song, and Page's weakened state showed through, it's almost like he cried when his guitar interlude came in around the halfway point.
Peter Griffin from Quahog, Ri2nd longest Led Zeppelin song.
Bill from Topeka, KsI like the last section the best with all four musicians performing in unisin
Neil from London, EnglandI remember buying this album the week it came out, and thinking how great it sounded. I listened to it again recently and thought how much it has dated !! And the vocals are lost. I bought the sheet music to the album while it was available, and the lyrics make little sense, so burying the vocal in the mix was probably a wise move !
Carouselambra from Manchester, United StatesI love this song. Its very underrated, but i think its a masterpiece, it just shows how much Led Zeppelin could have made an impact through the 80's had John Bonham still been alive.
Tim Boyd from Sydney, AustraliaIt is a good song, probably the best of In through the out door. The keyboard is fantastic.
Brett from Muskegon, MiJohn Paul Jone's keyboard was FIRE on this song.
Mark from Worcester, MiThis is an over produced mess IMO. I like ITTOD a lot, but this is a poor effort compared to previous Zep epics.
Niall from Dublin, Irelandfantastic bass line
Nick from Ledzephead, United Statesthis song is good. i cnt hear plants lyrics thanks to the mixing... but it is one of their many underated songs from 'in through the out door'. hell 'in through the out door' is underrated overall.
James from Toronto, Canadain through the outdoor is so underrated. Its actually one of my favourite albums. It has carouselambra, fool in the rain and all of my love. Whats NOT to like about this album?
Don from San Antonio, TxSkating a pool to the first part of this song is pure adrenalin bliss. I'm gonna make an edit of the first part repeated for that purpose. I didn't like this song at first, but when it grew on me it was like I woke up for the first time!
David from Monrovia, CaIn the Zeppelin catalog as a whole, this song is pretty weak, especailly when compared to any of their earlier work. At this point in their career the wind was gone from the sails, battling addictions and personal losses.
Elaine from Spokane, WaThe third verse of this song sounds like it's talking about The Battle Of Helm's Deep from Lord of the Rings. If it is, it's not the first song to have some reference to LotR.
Paul from Cincinnati, OhThis song has to have the most complex lyrics of any of their songs. They really don't make very much sense. By the way, if you want to know the lyrics to a song, I suggest you go to www.lyricsfreak.com. That's what I use. One thing thats cool about this song is how it changes pace several times.
David from Orlando, Fl'And fall to fate and make the status plan, Lord wherever were you to reach'...that's what I hear.
Lp from New York, NyDoes anyone know what Plant sings right after the line "And to fall to fate and make the 'status plan' "? I know there's something, but I never could understand it...
Anaki from Manchesterthat zeppelin performance at knebworth is amazing! especially achilles last stand, kashmir and in the evening! anydo! this is a top song! i really like it, shame about the vocals though!
Zack from Austin, TxZeppelin did get a chance to perform some songs from IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR live before Bonham died. They did 4 shows in 1979 that featured Hot Dog and In The Evening (2 shows were at the Knebworth festival in Aug and two warm-up shows before that that were in July). Then they did a brief tour of Europe in the summer of 1980 that also featured All My Love. A U.S. tour was on the books to start in the fall of '80, but of course Bonham's death in Sept caused its cancellation. (FYI, the Led Zep dvd contains partial footage of their Knebworth shows and includes "In The Evening")
Chad from Reading, PaThe released version of this is pale compaired to the version from the Clearwater Castle rehersals. That was pretty much what a live performance of it would of sounded like (minus the pause in the middle to go over some things). It had so much power and energy. Too bad Bonzo died after the first day of rehersals for the 1980 North America tour. I would of loved to hear this live.
Chad from Reading, PaThe released version of this is pale compaired to the version from the Clearwater Castle rehersals. That was pretty much what a live performance of it would of sounded like (minus the pause in the middle to go over some things). It had so much power and energy. Too bad Bonzo died after the first day of rehersal's for the 1980 North America tour. I would of loved to hear this live.
Shawn from Buffalo, Nygreat song, I love how they make his voice echo, Great how in the middle how it goes back to normal guitar and gets nice and slow.
Nick from Solvang, Catrippy song... love it though
David from Orlando, FlThis is one of those Zeppelin songs that refuses to get out of my head. When I first listened to it after buying "In Through the Out Door"--which I think is an awesome CD, byw--I was thinking this sounded too much like old videogame music, yet I couldn't stop replaying it, so I must admit, I love it. And Plant's lyrics are not that hard to understand once you become familiar with them.
Ryan from Havasu, AzThe only songs I like on this album are In the Evening, Fool in the Rain, and All of my love. Can't really stand anything else. It was like, too much pop conformity for Zeppelin.
David Corino from Hawley, PaI would rather here ALS tho in my opion.
David Corino from Hawley, PaI think they also rehersed this song for the tour. They were suppost to put it in their setlist in replace of Achillies Last Satnd. It would be one hell of a live version.....
David Corino from Hawley, PaIn through the Out Door is such a kick ass album. Just think of an island paradice, warm sun, clear skies and the ocean, and this album playing all the time. Trueley Underrated album.
David Corino from Hawley, PaI know that In the Evening, Hot Dog, and maybe All of my Love were played live. And they were well into their tour when Bonzo died.
Collin from Texas, TxSo a few of them escaped, :).
Nick from Solvang, CaCollin your wrong. They played In the evening live!
Collin from Texas, TxI don't think any of the In Through the Out Door songs have live versions. They were going to tour after this album was released, but then Bonham died before the tour started. They broke up then, probably because they didn't think they could replace Bonham.
It's a long song! I'm 13 and like all the classics, y'know, the good stuff. No rap. I found In Through the Out Door in my dad's collection of tapes. This song played and played and played and I didn't think it would ever be over. It's a good song.
Plasticman from Detroit, Miemail email@example.com if yall want to hear the studio outake live versions of this. I have 2 or 3 of them. Its unbelievable
Michael from Houston, TxOne hell of an underrated Zep epic.
Chad from Reading, PaThere were rumours that this song would replace Achilles Last Stand in the 1980 US Tour that never happened. It would be cool to hear this live, but ALS is much better.
Travis from New York City, NyUnfortunately, I don't there is many live versions of anything from In Through the Out Door. I might be mistaken, but I think there might not be any live versions available. But there is a few songs from that album I would love to hear live.
Regina from Beaumont, TxEven though much electronic equipment was used for this song, it is still one of my favorites. My neck bobs and bounces so much during "Carouselambra" I'm suprised I haven't broken it yet.
Adrian from Wilmington, DeI think it would be interesting to own a version of this played live by the band.
Kelly from Los Angeles, Cadoes anyone have any idea who the 'particular person' could be? at any rate, this is one of their best songs.
It has long been speculated that the Soundgarden song "Black Hole Sun" came from the name of a sculpture in Seattle, but according to their frontman Chris Cornell the title came from a phrase he misheard on the news. The band's name did come from a sculpture.