Music

Bill Justis

Born 14 October 1926. Died 15 July 1982.

Biography

William Everett "Bill" Justis Jr. (October 14, 1926 – July 15, 1982) was an American pioneer rock and roll musician, composer, and musical arranger, best known for his 1957 Grammy Hall of Fame song, "Raunchy."

Justis was born in Birmingham, Alabama but grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and studied music at Christian Brothers College (high school department) and Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. A trumpet and saxophone player, while in university he performed with local jazz and dance bands. He returned home to Memphis in 1954 and was eventually taken on by Sam Phillips at Sun Records where he recorded music for himself as well as arranged the music for Sun artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich. Released in November 1957, his song "Raunchy" was the first rock and roll instrumental hit, and its popularity was such that it reached #2 on the American Billboard chart by 3 different artists (Ernie Freeman for Imperial, and Billy Vaughn on Dot). It reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Justis had one other significant hit record, "College Man", that went to U.S. #42.

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