Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

20 January 2008

100,000,000 albums

While pop diva Madonna's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2008 struck many 'rock 'n' roll' fans as curious (though no stranger than the 2006 induction of jazz great Miles Davis), inclusion of the best selling instrumental rock group of all time, The Ventures, is a good albeit long overdue fit. With worldwide album sales in the neighborhood of 100 million, The Ventures have served as a major influence on generations of rock 'n' roll guitarists over the more than 40-year lifespan of the group.

Formed as a duo in 1958 by lead guitarist Bob Bogle & rhythm guitar player Don Wilson, the pair added bass player Nokie Edwards (who would later trade roles with Bob Bogle & then be replaced by guitarist Gerry McGee when Edwards left the group in 1968) & drummer Skip Moore (soon replaced by Howie Johnson then long-time drummer Mel Taylor, today the drum chair is filled by Mel Taylor's son, Leon Taylor) to record the 1960 hit "Walk Don't Run," which reached #2 on Billboard's Top 100. By 1963, The Ventures had five albums on Billboard's Top 100 - at the same time.

It would be difficult to overstate the influence of The Ventures on the development of the electric guitar's role in rock 'n' roll with respect to the instrument itself due to the group's association with Mosrite guitars & their later Ventures Fender models; their early use of guitar effects, such as Nokie Edwards use of a fuzz pedal on 1962's "2000 Pound Bee"; & playing style - one of their '60s instructional albums also made it to Billboard's Top 100 album chart.


"The Ventures are the biggest selling instrumental rock group of all time: they created albums rather than just collections of songs & were able to adapt their 'surf guitar' sound to a wide range of styles. The solid body Fender guitar sound of the Ventures' Bob Bogle & Don Wilson worked with surf, country, spy, or psychedelic music. Who but the Ventures could pull this off? Few have even tried. Busloads of rock guitarists profess the Ventures' influence (like the Who's Pete Townsend). With well over 100 million albums sold, they are the definitive (& first) 'big in Japan' act. Though their following is slightly more modest everywhere else, the Ventures will be cool forever." ...Nick Dedina


The Ventures are one of the first, best, most lasting & influential of instrumental guitar based combos.

The Ventures, originally the Versatones, were formed by Bob Bogle in 1959, in Seattle, Washington.

Bob was born in Oklahoma but grew up in Portland Oregon. Bogle had started playing guitar by his teens. In his mid-teens Bogle moved to Seattle to work where he supported himself by bringing wet cement to bricklayers. There he met Don Wilson, who had learned trombone & piano as a child, & bass & guitar while in the Army. By mid-1959 they had begun playing in local clubs. They soon added Nokie Edwards, who they had met while doing a local TV show in Tacoma. Eventually they completed the group with Howie Johnson on the drums.

Their first demo "Walk Don't Run" was sent to various record companies. Receiving no response, Wilson's mother released it on her own Blue Horizon label. "Walk Don't Run"was picked up for distribution by Dolton Records (distributed by Liberty), the group re-named, & became an instant regional hit in 1960. In August 1960 "Walk Don't Run" became a #2 hit. The Ventures followed it with a rock version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", then "Perfidia", "Lullaby of the Leaves", "Diamond Head", & "2,000 Pound Bee", all which were hits through the early & mid-Sixties.

In the wake of the success of "Walk Don't Run", Wilson and Bogel left their jobs in the building
industry to pursue music full time. The group issued a cover of "Perfidia", a Latin song that had been made popular by Alberto Dominguez in 1939. "Perfidia" reached #15.

In 1961 Johnson was replaced by Mel Taylor after he was hurt in an automobile accident & left the group. Hits kept coming with versions of "The Lonely Bull" & "I Walk the Line" in 1963 & a top ten surf remake of "Walk Don't Run" in 1964. In 1965 they released what was one of the first instructional records, Play Guitar with the Ventures.

In 1967 Edwards was replaced by Gerry McGee, who left in 1970 to record with Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, after which Edwards returned. By that time keyboardist Johnny Durrill had expanded the Ventures to a quintet & the group had delved into fuzz-tone a& wah-wah guitar modification as well blues, calypso, & Latin material.

Throughout the 60's & 70's there were several personnel changes. Nokie Edwards left & was replaced by Gerry McGee. Edwards later returned to the Ventures & left again. Keyboard player John Durrill joined the group in the late 60's. Mel Taylor left at one point & formed his own group, Mel Taylor & the Dynamics, but later returned to the group. Some of the artists who worked as guests or session players with the Ventures in the 60's included Leon Russell, Harvey Mandel, & David Gates.

In 1969 the Ventures had a hit with a version of the theme from the TV show Hawaii Five-O. In 1981, with Bogle, Wilson, Edwards, & Taylor, they released a regional West Coast single "Surfin' & Spyin'" & embarked on a successful tour of the U.S. & Japan. Bogle, Wilson, & McGee are still active in the group. Mel Taylor passed away in August, 1996. His son Leon is now the Ventures drummer.


I seem to be one of vast millions. I have my share of Ventures albums. The era I prefer is the 60s Ventures. I've picked several tracks from three different Ventures albums from the 60s that show some of the range of their material..."Surfing", In Space, & Swamp Rock.


"Surfing" - The Ventures, Dolton Records BST-8022, 1963.
All three tracks I selected are from side two. I bypassed the obvious "Pipeline" for a Ventures surf theme song, a heavy (ha-ha), & one of my all time favorites (you can practically hear the surf & the gulls...oh, wait, you can actually hear them).

Barefoot Venture

The Heavies

The Lonely Sea


In Space - The Ventures, Dolton Records BST - 8027, 1964.
Now the Ventures have moved from the Pacific waves to the Galactic flow. They've updated the surf with a bit of psychedelics. Far out, man. "Penetration" is probably the crossover tune, kinda surfpsych. "Fear" is the Main Title Theme from the TV show "One Step Beyond". "Exploration in Terror" was by written by Bob Bogle, Don Wilson & Nokie Edwards.


Explorations in Terror


Swamp Rock - The Ventures, Liberty Records LST - 8062, 1969.
A Sound Idea...New? No...Been doin' it...sayin' it...just now hearin' it?...Time passin'...little else to do...listen...crickets...mouthharphummin'...ax 'n' hammer...beatin'...strummin'...what they sayin'?...Delta doin's...raised...braised...'n' bayou blistered...generations new? No. Tell me 'bout it.

Swamp Rock (the only original courtesy Bob & Don)
Niki Hoeky
Catfish Mud Dance



  1. wow, well done.
    love the ventures
    & love your site.
    thanks for all the stuff.

  2. Good brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

  3. Hi
    Very nice and intrestingss story.