Raunchy (instrumental)

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Raunchy Bill Justis.png
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
Songwriter(s) Bill Justis, Sidney Manker
Producer(s) Sam Phillips
Bill Justis singles chronology
"Raunchy" / "The Midnite Man"
"Bop Train" / "String of Pearls - Cha Hot Cha"
"Raunchy"/"The Midnite Man"
"Bop Train"/"String of Pearls - Cha Hot Cha"
Audio 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 in Liverpool, 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]

Justis' version charted in the UK in 1958 at #11 beating off competition there too from Ken Mackintosh whose version charted at #23 [10]

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.

The Jimmy Bowen Orchestra and Chorus released a version of the song as the B-side to their 1967 single "It's Such a Pretty World Today".[11]

"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.[12]

Chart positions[edit]

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. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/singles-chart/19580207/7501/
  11. ^ "The Jimmy Bowen Orchestra and Chorus, "It's Such a Pretty World Today" Single Release". Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  12. ^ Kenneth Womack (30 June 2014). Beatles Encyclopedia, The: Everything Fab Four: Everything Fab Four. ABC-CLIO. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-313-39172-9. 
  13. ^ a b c Bill Justis - Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2015.