Best known to most listeners for the aptly titled instrumental smash "Raunchy," Bill Justis was also a longtime linchpin of the Nashville recording community, working as a producer, musical director, and A&R man for labels including Sun and Mercury. Born October 14, 1927, in Birmingham, Alabama, he grew up in Memphis, studying music and English at Tulane University while playing trumpet in local jazz and dance bands. In 1957, the legendary Sam Phillips hired Justis to serve as the musical director for his Sun Records label. At 30, Justis was a good decade older than most of Sun's artists and had little interest in rock & roll until he learned just how lucrative the music had become. With guitarist Sid Manker, Justis composed a wild, primitive instrumental they dubbed "Backwoods"; Phillips renamed the tune "Raunchy," releasing it as a single in November 1957. Although Justis' honking tenor sax assumed center stage, what made "Raunchy" so unique was Manker's guitar; he forged the song's distinctive riff not from the traditional middle strings but from the bass strings, creating a cavernous, resonant sound further buffered by studio echo. The single proved Sun's best-selling instrumental release ever, staying in the pop Top 40 for 14 weeks.