Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were one of the most influential female rock and roll groups ever. After trying out at twenty three different studios, they finally made it big during the 1980s.
It’s surprising that such a popular group like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts would cover a song by an incredibly obscure music group like Ram Jam such as Too Bad On Your Birthday, especially since the song they covered wasn’t a single.
One speculation I have is that Ram Jam inspired Joan Jett not with the music they made but with the trials they went through. During Ram Jam’s short career they became controversial for making Black Betty. After their first album they wanted to move to a harder rocking direction, but their record label did not support them because they wanted Ram Jam to stick with the more friendly blues rock that they had on their first album. However, Ram Jam made their second album much heavier and better than their first album and went against what the record label told them to do, which resulted in Ram Jam being fired and disbanding the group.
To somebody like Joan Jett who has had to deal with a bad reputation and been put down by so many people, another rock and roll group that made music they believed in instead of what was popular was probably one of the things that inspired Joan Jett the most to just be herself. Fortunately, she had much better luck than her predecessors, Ram Jam.