The Story Behind Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’ Begins in Texas
This classic rock staple has roots in the Texas Prison System.
A staple on all classic rock stations, this song was voted "silliest" song of 1977. Turns out that the NAACP was not a fan of "Black Betty". Because of this, the two biggest markets in the country refused to play it. The hate ended up taking money out of the pocket of a black man.
Even though the band rewrote a couple of verses, the credit for the song remained with Blues Legend LeadBelly. It's his estate that gets the checks each month.
Funny thing was, there's an old recording from a Texas prison that was recorded 6 years before LeadBelly.
Doesn't really matter who stole it last, the Ram Jam version is still one of the best songs to have a long road trip.