Janes met Jack Clement who brought him to Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Janes became the house guitarist at Sun in 1956, a position he would hold for seven years. His guitar can be heard on the majority of tracks cut by Jerry Lee Lewis, including Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On and High School Confidential, along with other Sun artists like Charlie Rich and Sonny Burgess. While still at Sun, Janes founded his own label, Rita Records, where he had a hit with Harold Dorman's original version of his song Mountain of Love. Janes also opened Sonic Studios where he specialized in recording artists for small, independent labels. In 1977 he became the producer and engineer at The Sounds of Memphis Recording Studio. In 1982, he returned to Sun with Sam Phillips. While most of his work was now behind the scenes, he did pull out the guitar on occasion for sessions, including one for Mudhoney's 1998 album Tomorrow Hit Today.
Janes was recently elected to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and was scheduled to receive a Brass Note on Beale Street.
Janes is survived by his wife of 54 years, Betty, two sons, a daughter, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
The hits Roland Janes played on numbered in the dozens; the records he produced totaled in the hundreds; the sessions he engineered ran into the thousands. But there is no real way to tally, measure or quantify the tremendous impact Roland Janes had on Memphis music, or the lives of those he touched in his 80 years.
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