The members of Ram Jam were Bill Barlett (former lead guitarist of the Lemon Pipers), Pete Charles (drummer), Myke Scavone (lead singer), and Howie Arthur Blauvett, who sang with Billy Joel in two earlier groups (the Hassles and El Primo). Ram Jam's only hit, "Black Betty," created quite a stir when Epic Records released it. The recording session was the brainstorm of Barlett and bubblegum producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz. Two civil rights groups, the N.A.A.C.P. and C.O.R.E., called for a boycott of the song, claiming it insulted black women. Despite the controversy, it still reached the number 18 spot on Billboard's pop chart in September 1977. The Cincinnati band Starstruck had released a more driving, riveting version of "Black Betty" on the Truckstar label before Ram Jam's version. Starstruck's version received little airplay or recognition; ironically, future Ram Jam member Barlett had been a member of Starstruck when they recorded "Black Betty."