Raunchy (instrumental)

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US single
Single by Bill Justis
from the album Cloud 9
B-side "The Midnite Man"
Released September 23, 1957 (1957-09-23)
Format 7" single
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:20
Label Phillips International
Writer(s) Bill Justis, Sidney Manker
Producer(s) Sam Phillips
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Bill Justis singles chronology
"Raunchy" / "The Midnite Man"
"Bop Train" / "String of Pearls - Cha Hot Cha"
Music sample

"Raunchy" is an instrumental by the American rock and roll artist Bill Justis, co-written by Sidney Manker and produced by Sam Phillips.[1] From the album Cloud 9, the song was released as a single in September 23, 1957 from the record label Phillips International Records, a sub-label of Sun Records.[2]


The song is one of firsts to use the twangy lead guitar effect, which was later developed by others and became a staple for the next few years.[3]

In 1958 a then fourteen-year-old George Harrison performed the song to John Lennon and Paul McCartney on the top deck of a bus, and was so note-perfect Lennon decided to let him into his band, the Quarrymen, which later became the Beatles, despite earlier reservations about Harrison's age.[4][5]

Other versions[edit]

In 1962, Justis recorded another rendition of the song, in stereo and with considerably different guitar, for his album Bill Justis Plays 12 More Big Instrumental Hits.[6] He recorded it once more in 1969, for his album Raunchy & Other Great Instrumentals.

Competing with Justis' release in 1957 were renditions of the song, by Billy Vaughn and Ernie Freeman.[7][8] Freeman's version was his biggest solo success, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957, #1 on the R&B singles chart and #11 on the Country singles chart in 1958.[9]

Soon after the hit, guitarist Duane Eddy and producer Lee Hazlewood took it upon themselves to develop that style to an ultimate degree. Far from a light lead guitar sound, they greatly enhanced the reverberation in their recordings. Eddy started with the big hit "Rebel Rouser" in 1958; he later made a recording of "Raunchy" for the RCA Records album Twangin' the Golden Hits in 1965.

"Raunchy" has been recorded by many groups, including the Ventures, Bill Black, Tom and Jerry (guitarists), Al Caiola, Ace Cannon, Billy Strange, Bill Smith Combo aka Tommy & the Tom Toms (Chess #1780), Santo & Johnny and the Incredible Bongo Band.[citation needed]

Years later, while working on the Beatles Anthology project in 1994, the three surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, played this song during a jam session.[10]

Chart positions[edit]

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See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bruce Pollock (18 March 2014). Rock Song Index: The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era. Routledge. p. 293. ISBN 978-1-135-46296-3. 
  2. ^ Colin Escott; Martin Hawkins (1975). Catalyst: The Sun Records Story. Aquarius Books. p. 101. 
  3. ^ Steven Otfinoski (1997). The Golden Age of Rock Instrumentals. Billboard Books. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8230-7639-0. 
  4. ^ Chris Ingham (2 November 2009). The Rough Guide to the Beatles. Rough Guides Limited. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-84836-752-4. 
  5. ^ Philip Norman (17 May 2011). Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation. Simon and Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-7432-5378-9. 
  6. ^ Bill Justis Plays 12 More Big Instrumental Hits (Telstar/Lonely Bull) at AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  7. ^ B. Lee Cooper; Wayne S. Haney (1999). Rock Music in American Popular Culture III: More Rock 'n' Roll Resources. Psychology Press. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-7890-0489-5. 
  8. ^ Galen Gart (1989). First Pressings: 1957. Big Nickel Publications. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-936433-07-3. 
  9. ^ a b c d Ernie Freeman - Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Kenneth Womack (30 June 2014). Beatles Encyclopedia, The: Everything Fab Four: Everything Fab Four. ABC-CLIO. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-313-39172-9. 
  11. ^ a b c Bill Justis - Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2015.