Ram Jam is an American hard rock band from New York. Active in the 1970s, and very ephemeral, it is however famous for its version of Black Betty, returned to the top 20 in 1977 and pulled more than a million copies.
Formed in 1976 in New York, the band is first composed of William Bill Bartlett (guitar and backing vocals), Howey Arthur Blauvelt (bass), Pete Charles (drums) and Myke Scavone (vocals). Jimmy Santoro will be grafted as a second guitar from 1977.
Totally unknown, the group will be propelled to the top of the rankings as soon as it is formed thanks to the reprise of the traditional folk song Black Betty, whose first recorded recording is sung by James "Iron Head" Baker and Moses "Clear Rock" Platt, a prisoner from the central prison of Sugar Land, Texas in 1933> and who will be popularized by Huddie Leadbelly in 1939>. Ram Jam makes it a worldwide hit. He reached the eighteenth place in the top ten in Australia in the summer of 1977 and, in the fall, he reached seventh and twenty-fifth place respectively in the United Kingdom and Germany, where still the fourth in the Netherlands.
Bill Bartlett had already tried making a Black Betty hit with his previous band, Starstruck, but it's with Ram Jam and the "good producers" that he'll get there. A remix of Ben Liebrand's Black Betty will reach the 13> place of the UK Singles Chart in 1990>. The commercial operation will be repeated with the edition of a compilation in 1990 that will relaunch the title (which remix Ben Liebrand reaches the thirteenth place in the UK ranking that year), but the attempt to refound the group in 1994 will fail.