Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog’ Riff Is in This Unrelated ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Song
“Weird Al” Yankovic never performed a parody of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” However, a riff from the track appears in one of Yankovic’s songs. Here’s why Yankovic was able to include a famous Led Zeppelin guitar riff in a song that has essentially nothing to do with the band.
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic rewrote one of R. Kelly’s song to include part of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Cat’
This anecdote about Led Zeppelin involves both Yankovic and R. Kelly. Yankovic released a parody of Kelly’s epic song cycle “Trapped in the Closet” called “Trapped in the Drive-Thru.” While “Trapped in the Closet” is a melodramatic tale of adultery, disease, and more, “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” is a melodramatic tale of a couple going to get dinner from a drive-thru. Yankovic’s song parodies Kelly’s by applying the same amount of melodrama to a pretty mundane situation.
“I knew I couldn’t make my R. Kelly parody any more ridiculous or convoluted than the original, but I believed that I could make it more stupid,” Yankovic told Rolling Stone. “Because that’s where I really shine. So I tried to keep all the overblown drama intact–only now it’s an 11-minute song about a couple getting burgers at the drive-thru, which was the most banal thing I could think of at the time.”
At one point in “Trapped in the Drive-Thru,” the husband turns on the radio. It plays a riff from “Black Dog.” In the music video for the song, the couple is upset by the blast of aggressive rock music and quickly turn off the radio. According to Mental Floss, Yankovic received permission to use one of Led Zeppelin’s songs. “It’s actually quite a coup that I was able to get Led Zeppelin to let me and my band do that little bit of ‘Black Dog’ in ‘Trapped in the Drive-Thru,’” Yankovic said. “They’re famous for not letting people do anything with their music.”
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic wasn’t always allowed to use Led Zeppelin songs
Oddly enough, Led Zeppelin has been less accommodating to Yankovic in other circumstances. In addition to his parodies, Yankovic often makes polka melodies of popular songs. Jimmy Page refused to allow Yankovic to use Led Zeppelin songs in his polka melodies.
How the world reacted to ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘Trapped in the Drive-Thru’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Cat’
“Trapped in the Drive Thru” uses a riff from one of the most famous Led Zeppelin songs. This raises an interesting question: Was “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” a hit? The track did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
On the other hand, “Black Dog” was a hit, reaching No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s parent album, Led Zeppelin IV, was popular as well, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, While Yankovic used part of “Black Dog” for “Trapped in the Drive-Thru,” it didn’t equal the success of the aforementioned Led Zeppelin song.