Dread Zeppelin

  • Dread Zeppelin
  • Un-led-Ed (IRS) 1990 
  • 5,000,000* (IRS) 1991 

Proving that a joke doesn’t have to be funny to be successful as long as it exploits popular prejudices, this California novelty act — which had previously self-released a cassette album — hit the charts by covering Led Zeppelin songs in an Elvis Presley impersonator voice over reggae rhythms with dub production accents. (Who thinks up these things?) The sextet gets some smileage out of mixing icons (like joining “Heartbreaker” and “Heartbreak Hotel” together, and running “Black Dog” into “Hound Dog”), but the concept — an idea SCTV could have squeezed dry in a five-minute skit — is hardly adequate for an entire album, much less an ongoing career.

[Ira Robbins]