The ‘In Through the Out Door’ Song Led Zeppelin Picked as a Single for the US

While Led Zeppelin remains one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, the band never had a No. 1 single in America. That shouldn’t surprise many fans of the Zep (or music fans in general). Scoring a No. 1 hit was never at the top of the group’s wishlist.

For starters, the band didn’t think about tailoring songs to fit within the late-’60s single format (i.e., three-to-four-minute tracks). And from early on the band took the approach that it was better to sell long-playing albums (LPs) and concert tickets than 7-inch records.

That’s why the band never released a single in the U.K. during its 12-year run (1968-80). However, the Zep did release the occasional single in the U.S.. The list began with “Good Times Bad Times,” released when Zep just started taking flight (March ’69).

Eleven years later, following the release of In Through the Out Door (1979), Led Zeppelin delivered its final single as a group for U.S. audiences. It was a track with a surprisingly South American flavor that served as a showcase for the great John Bonham.

Led Zeppelin released a single for ‘Fool in the Rain’ from ‘In Through the Out Door’ in the US

Led Zepellin in 1980
Led Zeppelin in 1980 | Brian Rasic/Getty Images

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As Zeppelin albums go, In Through the Out Door is the lightest of the bunch. After the heavy opener “In the Evening,” things get interesting with “South Bound Saurez” and “All My Love” (not to mention “Hot Dog“) later on the record.

Overall, it’s the Zep’s weakest LP, but there’s still plenty for fans of the band to enjoy. Take “Fool in the Rain,” the third track that features an extended samba break performed on multiple percussion instruments by Bonham.

The lyrics are sunny, Robert Plant’s voice is clear and bright, and the Zep rhythm section works its magic through the verses. Jimmy Page doesn’t take the track off, either. The guitar great trotted out a new effect (called “an Octivider”) especially for his solo on “Fool in the Rain.”

While it doesn’t exactly scream Led Zeppelin, the band thought it should be the one if a single was to be released. And it did fairly well on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 21 in early ’80.

Zeppelin dropped ‘Hot Dog’ on the B-side of the ‘Fool in the Rain’ single

Robert Plant singing on stage in 1980
Led Zeppelin – Robert Plant – 1980 | Brian Rasic/Getty Images

If you were a Zep fan scratching your head over the romp that was “Fool in the Rain,” the band’s direction didn’t get any clearer with the B-side, “Hot Dog.” That country-western track stands as one of the most unusual (read: maligned) in the Zep catalogue.

It’s always fascinating to wonder where Zeppelin would have gone from there. Page has spoken about coming back with a hard-hitting album to kick off the ’80s. (Bonham was all for the idea.) But Bonham’s death ended the run of the band in Sept. ’80.

In Through the Out Door had Zeppelin trying out synthesizer material (the work of John Paul Jones) and even experimenting with pure pop (“All My Love”). Compared to, say, the Rolling Stones’ experiments with disco (“Miss You”), the final Zep LP holds up just fine.