Don Wilson, co-founder and guitarist for the instrumental rock band The Ventures, dies at the age of 88

  • Wilson's family confirmed that he passed away peacefully in his sleep
  • The musician was found dead on Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington
  • He co-founded The Ventures with his friend Bob Bogle in 1958 
  • They were best known for their 'surf music' sound on the 1960s 
  • Their first hit song was 1960's Walk, Don't Run which went to number two
  • They also came out with the hit song Manchurian Beat in 1980
  • The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008
  • The Ventures are the best selling instrumental rock band of all time 
  • The group sold over 100 million records to date

😡🤯🤬

😡🤯🤬

Don Wilson, the guitarist for the influential instrumental rock band the Ventures, died on Saturday at the age of 88.

The musician's family confirmed to PEOPLE that he died peacefully and of natural causes on Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington with his four children by his side.

'Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over world with his band, The Ventures,' Don's son Tim Wilson said in a statement. 'He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed.'

They are most famous for their electric guitar-led rendition of Johnny Smith's Walk, Don't Run, which is included among Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

And they created the theme music to the television show Hawaii Five-O. 

Legend: Don Wilson, the guitarist for the influential instrumental rock band the Ventures, died on Saturday at the age of 88; Pictured at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 10, 2008 in NY

The band gained a reputation for being the masters of the 'surf music' sound in the 1960s at the time movies like Gidget were hot even though they originated from Washington state, which is far from surf hot spots Hawaii and California.

Wilson co-founded The Ventures with his friend Bob Bogle in Tacoma in 1958. 

The original lineup of the band consisted of Wilson playing the rhythm guitar, Bogle playing bass, Nokie Edwards on lead guitar, and Mel Taylor on the drums.

The quartet recorded 37 albums between 1960 and 1972 and is the best selling instrumental rock band of all time with over 100 million records sold.    

Peaceful: The musician's family confirmed to PEOPLE that he died peacefully and of natural causes on Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington with his four children by his side; Pictured in 2008

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

On their site, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame called The Ventures a 'quintessential instrumental rock and roll band.

'Few bands are as prolific as the Ventures—they released thirty-seven albums in twelve years, many of them thematic. They rocked America in the sixties and went on to lasting international fame and influence,' the description stated.

Influential band: Wilson co-founded The Ventures with his friend Bob Bogle in Tacoma in 1958; Wilson and Bogle pictured in 1961

Musical icons: The quartet recorded 37 albums between 1960 and 1972 and is the best selling instrumental rock band of all time with over 100 million records sold; From left Bogle, Nokie Edwards, Wilson and Howie Johnson pictured in 1960

In the Hall of Fame Essay, John Teagle praised the band for their extensive body of work and influence on music.

'Beginning with 1960's Walk Don't Run, the Ventures created a body of work that remains untouchable by any other instrumental group in the history of rock & roll,' he wrote.

He went on to say, 'The band's influence has extended from nascent surf music to the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelia, heavy metal, new wave, and beyond.'

Wilson was the last remaining member of the band's original formation.

They are the best-selling instrumental rock group in history, according to their website. 

Electric hits: They are most famous for their electric guitar-led rendition of Johnny Smith's Walk, Don't Run, which is included among Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time; From left Johnson, Wilson, Edwards and Bogle

Wilson grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

His interest in music started at a young age when he picked up a guitar to play along with his favorites, the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Tommy Dorsey.

But he did not pursue music as a professional right away as he went into the US Army after graduating from high school.

He started playing with Bob Bogle and legend has it that they picked up guitars at pawn shops for $10 each.

Wilson was also helped out by his mother Josie Wilson, as she encouraged her son to make music his calling.

Rock and roll legends: The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 after being named the 'quintessential instrumental rock and roll band'; John Durrill, Don Wilson, Nokie Edwards, Leon Taylor and Bob Spalding (with Fiona Taylor, right) pose in the press room during the Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 10, 2008

They wanted to use the name the Versatones for their band but the name was taken, it was claimed in a book about the group. So they opted for the name the Ventures which was nod to their 'new venture' as musicians.

Soon after they started working with guitarist Nokie Edwards who added the 'surf' sound. Then Mel Taylor was put on drums and Gerry McGee on guitar.

Their first big hit was 1960s' Walk, Don't Run, which went all the way to the second spot on music charts.  

In 1966 Leon Taylor joined the band as a drummer and stayed with the band until his retirement in 2015.   

Their albums include Another Smash!!! (1961), The Ventures Play Telstar and the Lonely Bull (1963), The Ventures in Space (1964), Walk, Don't Run, Vol. 2 (1964), Wild Things! (1966), Hawaii Five-O (1969) and the 10th Anniversary Album (1970).

Their fame dwindled in the 1980s but their music gained a cult following in the 1990s.

Last original member: Wilson was the last remaining member of the band's original formation; Pictured attending the reception for A Celebration Of The Ventures at the GRAMMY Museum on Jan 9, 2020 in Los Angeles, California

 

 

Advertisement

Don Wilson, co-founder and guitarist for instrumental rock band The Ventures, dies at the age of 88

  View all

😡🤯🤬 The comments below have not been moderated.

  View all

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.