Ask any true music fan what the best album of 1990 was and Dread Zeppelin‘s seminal debut Un-Led-Ed will surely make the list. Unfortunately, the world is not run by true music fans but casual music fans, which probably explains why you’ve never heard of Dread Zeppelin.

The band started as a joke – Led Zeppelin songs played in a reggae style. With the addition of charismatic frontman Tortelvis (an Elvis impersonator), you suddenly had three separate and distinct musical touchstones to mine. And Dread Zeppelin combined those elements to aplomb. The group didn’t just play Zep songs with a rasta beat, they combined elements from several songs to create a interesting and unique blend of pop culture references.

Un-Led-Ed mostly pulled material from the first two Led Zeppelin albums, along with the Led Zeppelin 4 track “Blackdog” (including references to “Hound Dog”). The key track from the album was “Heartbreaker (at the End of Lonely Street)” that combined Zeppelin’s second album hit with Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel”. The song showcased Dread Zeppelin’s musical chops, as the layered instruments combined for a full sound with wild solos and satisfying percussion.

The cover of Un-Led-Ed had to be changed due to request from the Elvis Presley estate. But Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant was a vocal advocate of the group, often seen wearing Dread Zeppelin tshirts. Later, INXS sought out Dread Zeppelin as the opening act for their tour.

Despite the power and urgency of Dread Zeppelin’s masterpiece recording of Un-Led-Ed, the group was seen as a novelty act. On their third album Tortelvis left the group and they went into a disco direction, to the ire of many fans. Since then, with Tortelvis back in the fold, the group has carved out an identity as a touring band with the occasional album release.