Although Bill Justis worked mainly behind the scenes as a producer, musical director and A&R man for labels like Sun and Mercury, he had one superb moment of chart glory under his own name.
In 1957, Justis composed Raunchy and recorded it for Sam Phillips's Sun label. Featuring Justis's alto sax and the guitar of Sid Manker, it was Sun's all-time biggest selling instrumental, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the magazine's R&B chart.
While at Sun, Justis also was the arranger for sessions with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich.
After his time at Sun, he moved on to several other labels, including Mercury, where he recorded half a dozen albums under his own name for the company's Smash subsidiary. Almost all of them contained covers of the big instrumental hits of the period, beginning with Bill Justis Plays 12 Big Instrumental Hits, released in 1962. You can listen to and download Justis's take on pianist Bent Fabric's Alley Cat from the link below.
Justis, who also scored the Burt Reynolds movies Smokey and the Bandit and Hooper, died in Nashville in 1982.
If watching a spinning 45 is your thing, here's Bill Justis's Alley Cat from YouTube.