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Profile: The Ventures


The Ventures

The Ventures

source: iwasateenagechartfreak.com

Formed :

1959 (Tacoma, WA)


Instrumental rock, Surf, Rock and roll

Principal Members:

Bob Bogle (b. Robert Lenard Bogle, January 16, 1934, Wagoner, OK): bass guitar, lead guitar
Don Wilson (b. February 10, 1933, Tacoma, WA): rhythm guitar
Nokie Edwards (b. Nole Floyd Edwards, May 9, 1935, Nahoma, OK): lead guitar, bass guitar
Mel Taylor (b. September 24, 1933, New York, NY (Brooklyn); d. August 11, 1996, Tarzana, CA): drums

Contributions to music:

  • The world's most popular instrumental rock group of all time
  • One of the crucial elements in the development of and popularizing of surf music
  • Have covered thousands of songs from all areas of the modern musical landscape
  • Important in popularizing the guitars/bass/drums combo as the standard for rock music
  • Helped popularize the lead guitar as a crucial component of rock and roll
  • A major influence on surf, hard rock, punk, and metal guitarists

Early years:

Seattle guitarists Bob Dogle and Don Wilson originally got together, ironically enough, to cut a vocal record, an ultra-rare 45 called "Cookies and Coke" that went nowhere in 1959. The next year, however, they recorded a version of Chet Atkins' album track "Walk Don't Run," done in the new surf-rock style, and pressed it on their own Blue Horizon label, started with money from Wilson's mother. It originally went nowhere, too, but they convinced DJ Pat O'Day, of local station KJR, to use "Walk" as a lead-in to news broadcasts. Before long, local Dolton Records -- which had turned down their vocal 45 -- picked it up.


The record was an instant national smash, and the Ventures began cranking out album after album of similar instrumentals, all built around popular fads and tunes of the day -- surfing, twisting, country, whatever. At their peak they recorded five or sis albums a year, and they all sold well: 1963 saw the group with five albums in the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously. In 1962, Howie Johnson left the group due to injuries suffered from a car accident and was replaced by session man Mel Taylor, who'd played on Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash" and other big hits of the day. This solidified their '60s lineup.

Later years:

In 1969, the group scored another huge single with their version of the "Hawaii Five-O" theme, which also got its initial notice when a radio station began using it as background music in commercials for the popular CBS detective show. But by the early Seventies, their style of music had begun to wane in popularity (albeit only in their homeland). Although recognized as masters by guitar aficionados, most of their touring today centers around Europe and Japan, where they remain a wildly popular draw, with Bob and Don still leading the group after almost fifty years.

Other facts:

  • Other members have included: Skip Moore, drums (1960); Howie Johnson, drums (1960-1962); Gerry McGee, guitar (1968-1972, 1985-present); John Durrill, keyboards (1969-1973); Leon Taylor, drums (1996-present)
  • "Walk Don't Run" is the only song to hit the US Top 40 in two different versions by the same band
  • "The 2000 Lb. Bee" was the first recording to use a "fuzz box" on guitar, and was played at John Belushi's funeral
  • The group has sold over 40 million records in Japan, and sold twice as many records as the Beatles there in the Sixties
  • Made four "instructional" albums, each with a different member's instrument deleted


  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (2006)
  • Pacific Northwest Hall of Fame (1999)
  • Guitar Player Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award (1993)

Recorded work:

Top 10 hits:
  • "Walk -- Don't Run" (1960)
  • "Walk-Don't Run '64 (1964)
  • "Hawaii Five-0" (1969)
Top 10 albums:
  • The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull (1963)
  • The Ventures' Christmas Album (1965)
Other notable recordings: "No Trespassing," "Perfidia," "Ram-Bunk-Shush," "Lullaby Of The Leaves," "Yellow Jacket," "Driving Guitars (Ventures Twist)," "Roadrunner," "Twisted," "Spudnik," "Night Drive," "2000 Pound Bee, Pts. 1 & 2," "The Savage," "Moon Child," "Journey To The Stars," "Fugitive," "Pedal Pusher," "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue," "Diamond Head," "Action Plus," "Dick Tracy," "Flights Of Fantasy," "Underground Fire"
Covered by: The Shadows, Everclear
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