Bill Justis

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William Everett Justis, Jr (born October 14, 1926 in Birmingham; died July 15, 1982 in Nashville, Tennessee) was a musician, songwriter and record producer, best known for his hit instrumental single "Raunchy", and for the music he composed for the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit.

Justis was born in Birmingham but grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He studied at Christian Brothers School and Tulane University. While living in New Orleans, he performed in jazz bands as a trumpeter and saxophonist. After returning home to Memphis, he was hired by Sam Phillips at Sun Records to record and arrange tracks. His 1957 single "Raunchy" reached #2 on Billboard's U. S. chart and #1 in Australia on the way to selling more than 1 million copies. His only other charting single was "College Man", which reached #42 in the U. S.

Justis moved to Nashville in 1961 and worked as a pop and country record producer at Monument and Mercury Records. He performed on saxophone on the 1964 Elvis Presley vehicle Kissin' Cousins and managed the singing group "Ronny & the Daytonas". He produced a string of popular instrumental albums on the Smash label during the 1960s and suggested the name "Gitarzan" used by Ray Stevens in one of his top hit songs.

Justis composed music for Smokey and the Bandit as well as Hooper, also starring Burt Reynolds, which opened in 1978.

Justis died of cancer in 1982 and is buried at Memphis' Memorial Park Cemetery.

References

  • "Bill Justis" (November 19, 2012) Wikipedia - accessed February 19, 2013