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The Ventures

Not the first but definitely the most popular rock instrumental combo, the Ventures scored several hit singles during the 1960s -- most notably "Walk-Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-O" -- but made their name in the growing album market, covering hits of the day and organizing thematically linked LPs. Almost 40 Ventures' albums charted, and 17 hit the Top 40. And though the group's popularity in America virtually disappeared by the 1970s, their enormous contribution to pop culture was far from over; the Ventures soon became one of the most popular world-wide groups, with dozens of albums recorded especially for the Japanese and European markets. They toured continually throughout the 1970s and '80s -- influencing Japanese pop music of the time more than they had American music during the '60s.

The Ventures' origins lie in a Tacoma, Washington group called the Impacts. Around 1959, construction workers and hobby guitarists Bob Bogle and Don Wilson formed the group, gigging around Washington state and Idaho with various rhythm sections as backup. They recorded a demo tape, but after it was rejected by the Liberty Records subsidiary Dolton, the duo founded their own label, Blue Horizon. They released one vocal single ("Cookies and Coke"), then recruited bassist Nokie Edwards and drummer Skip Moore and decided to instead become an instrumental group.

The Ventures went into the studio in 1959 with an idea for a new single they had first heard on Chet Atkins' Hi Fi in Focus LP. Released on Blue Horizon in 1960, the single "Walk-Don't Run" became a big local hit after being aired as a news lead-in on a Seattle radio station (thanks to a friend with connections). In an ironic twist, Dolton Records came calling and licensed the single for national distribution; by summer 1960, it had risen to number two in the charts, behind only "It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley. After Howie Johnson replaced Moore on drums, the Ventures began recording their debut album, unsurprisingly titled after their hit single.

Two singles, "Perfidia" and "Ram-Bunk-Shush," hit the Top 40 during 1960-61, but the Ventures soon began capitalizing on what became a trademark: releasing LPs which featured songs very loosely arranged around a theme implied in the title. The group's fourth LP, The Colorful Ventures, included "Yellow Jacket," "Red Top," "Orange Fire" and no less than three tracks featuring the word "blue" in the title. The Ventures put their indelible stamp on each style of '60s music they covered, and they covered many -- twist, country, pop, spy music, psychedelic, swamp, garage, TV themes. (In the '70s, the band moved on to funk, disco, reggae, soft rock and Latin music.) The Ventures' lineup changed slightly during 1962. Howie Johnson left the band, to be replaced by session man Mel Taylor; also, Nokie Edwards took over lead guitar with Bob Bogle switching to bass.

One of the few LPs not arranged around a theme became their best-selling; 1963's The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull featured a cover of the number one instrumental hit by the British studio band the Tornadoes and produced by Joe Meek. Though their cover of "Telstar" didn't even chart, the album hit the Top Ten and became the group's first of three gold records. A re-write of their signature song -- entitled "Walk-Don't Run '64" -- reached number eight that year. By the mid-'60s however, the Ventures appeared to be losing their touch. Considering the volatility of popular music during the time, it was quite forgivable that the group would lose their heads-up knowledge of current trends in the music industry to forecast which songs should be covered. The television theme "Hawaii Five-O" hit number four in 1969, but the Ventures slipped off the American charts for good in 1972. Instead, the band began looking abroad for attention and -- in Japan especially -- they found it with gusto. After leaving Dolton/Liberty and founding their own Tridex Records label, the Ventures began recording albums specifically for the Japanese market. The group eventually sold over 40 million records in that country alone, becoming one of the biggest American influences on Japanese pop music ever.

Nokie Edwards left the Ventures in 1968 to pursue his interest in horse racing for a time, and was replaced by Gerry McGee; though he returned by 1972, Mel Taylor left the group that year for a solo career, to be replaced by Joe Barile. (Taylor returned also, in 1979.) By the early '80s, the Ventures' core quartet of Wilson, Bogle, Edwards and Taylor could boast of playing together for over 20 years. Though Edwards left the band for good in 1984 (replaced again by Gerry McGee) and Mel Taylor died mid-way through a Japanese tour in 1996 (replaced by his son Leon), the Ventures continued to pack venues around the world. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Play The Greatest Surfin' Hits Of All-Time

1. Walk-Don't Run '64

2. Penetration

3. Mr. Moto

4. Out Of Limits

7. Let's Go

8. Diamond Head

9. Pipeline

10. Slaughter On 10th Avenue

12. Hawaii Five-O

13. Surf Rider

14. Ninth Wave

15. The Cruel Sea

17. Perfida

18. Wipe Out

x

Track List: Walk Don't Run: The Best Of The Ventures

1. Walk Don't Run

2. No Trespassing

3. Perfidia

4. Ram-Bunk-Shush

5. Lullaby Of The Leaves

6. Yellow Jacket

7. Driving Guitars (Ventures Twist)

8. Road Runner

11. Night Drive

14. Moon Child

15. Journey To The Stars

16. Fugitive

17. Walk-Don't Run '64

18. Pedal Pusher

19. Slaughter On Tenth Avenue

20. Diamond Head

21. Action Plus

22. Dick Tracy

23. Flights Of Fantasy

24. Underground Fire

25. Hawaii Five-O

x

Track List: Wild Things!

1. Wild Thing

2. Fuzzy And Wild

3. Sweet Pea

4. Wild And Wooly

5. Wild Child

6. Summer In The City

7. The Pied Piper

8. Wild Trip

9. Hanky Panky

10. Wildcat

11. How Now Wild Cow

12. The Work Song

x

Track List: Walk Don't Run Vol. 2

1. The House Of The Rising Sun

2. Diamond Head

3. Night Train

4. Peach Fuzz

5. Rap City

6. Blue Star

7. Walk Don't Run '64

8. Night Walk

9. One Mint Julep

10. Pedal Pusher

11. The Creeper

12. Stranger On The Shore

x

Track List: In Space

1. Out Of Limits

2. He Never Came Back

3. Moon Child

4. Fear

5. Exploration In Terror

6. War Of The Satellites

7. The Bat

8. Penetration

9. Love Goddess Of Venus

10. Solar Race

11. The Fourth Dimension

12. The Twilight Zone

x

Track List: Surfing

1. Pipeline

2. Diamonds

3. Windy And Warm

4. Ten Over

5. Surf Rider

6. Changing Tides

7. The Ninth Wave

8. Party In Laguna

9. Barefoot Venture

10. The Heavies

11. Cruncher

12. The Lonely Sea

x

Track List: The Venture Play Telstar / The Lonely Bull

1. Telstar

2. The Lonely Bull

3. Mexico

4. Calcutta

5. Apache

6. Never On Sunday

7. Tequila

8. Green Onions

9. Percolator

10. Red River Rock

11. Let There Be Drums

12. Last Night

x

Track List: Flights Of Fantasy

1. Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)

2. Innermotion Faze

3. The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde

4. Walking The Carpet

5. Flights Of Fantasy

6. Soul Coaxing (Ame Caline)

7. Green Light

8. Cry Like A Baby

9. Fly Away

10. Love Shower

11. Summertime Blues

12. Scarborough Fair/Canticle

Comments

Report as inappropriate
rodgerdodson
Saw'em Live at none other than America's No.1 Rockin' Roadhouse, the Palomino in No. Hollywood. Book 'em me Danno!
Report as inappropriate
Pipeline by The Ventures, venerable classic.
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as an old guitar player i thought the ventures were one of the top groups along with duayne eddy
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Saw them in concert as a live at Disney land. What memories
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Memory lane for sure. As a teen I thought the Ventures were really hot!!
Now I can see if Pandora hollers at me. Guess when you are on a station streamlined off another station, commenting is a no-no. LOL
Report as inappropriate
nowitsmine9
Book 'em Dano !
Report as inappropriate
oren132
The best...Perio d .
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dale8559
Stratocaster drenched in reverb
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Great song. Do strippers dance to this?
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I love the tv show it is amazing. #SWAG
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sallyhollwer d a 7 1
I also enjoyed washing dishes and dancing, ironing, I was young,and even enjoyed some 30''sand40's forward for cleaning and doing my own creative dancing. I have few regrets, l pick and choose carefully what I choose to listen to, and I appreciate that! !
Report as inappropriate
Great HAIR in the picture above. Remember the Duck Tails I had one too. I don't have any hair now and it was not shaved either. Don't remember King Curtis.
Report as inappropriate
Me too I also miss the sixties too. That would mean my wife was still alive, miss her very much now.
Report as inappropriate
Back when music was really music! Memory lane for sure..
Report as inappropriate
Damn I miss the sixties!
Report as inappropriate
LEFT'S AND AND RIGHTS. MEMORIES! GUY'S! SIMPLE WET,FUN CHICKS,
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ALWAYS GREAT !!!
Report as inappropriate
landavazo1
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of ur life. Tomorrow will be the best day of ur life. Now you've started reading their don't stop. This is so scary post this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
Report as inappropriate
@stingraydad d y I was just thinking the same thing...I do love me some Pulp Fiction
Report as inappropriate
I learned to play guitar after hearing the Ventures!
Report as inappropriate
Can't listen to this and not think about Pulp Fiction
Report as inappropriate
I luve tis sog
Report as inappropriate
sterrettbarb
Love it
Report as inappropriate
squeax01
never get tired of the Ventures--th e y are the best
Report as inappropriate
Oh my!!!!!excus e myself....A
Blocker} Not A Backer
Report as inappropriate
davidziffcoo k i n g
where's Hawaii 5-0?
Report as inappropriate
These guys are so solid. Some of the best in the genre. Just bad baby!
Report as inappropriate
sum1uwant2no 2 0 0 1
surf's up dude!
Report as inappropriate
I love the sound of the Ventures and Santo and Johnny. There was an instrumental piece called Wipe Out back in the 60's, I would like to know played it.
Report as inappropriate
Love Kent/Auburn ,WA, Wilson was there, at a small tavern for free
Report as inappropriate
Kimom
Report as inappropriate
Ko lol
Report as inappropriate
Whao make me move
Report as inappropriate
Surfs up!
Report as inappropriate
Lol gman!
Report as inappropriate
There is nothing better than 6-8' barrels and great surf music to make my day !!! keep it up ! Mahlo
Report as inappropriate
I don't like this stuff, it assaults my ears
Report as inappropriate
I love this stuff. So chill
Report as inappropriate
Played this one the piano still do!
Report as inappropriate
Don't forget The Ventures play The Country Classics. Great Album.
Report as inappropriate
1. Close your eyes2. Say your name 3 times Make a wish4. Say your crushes name 2×5. Post to 4 songs and your crush will ask you out
Report as inappropriate
Please add Tony Orlando & Dawn,Ben E King ,The Drifters, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink, The Ventures,
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My e-mail is jeanechin@ya h o o . c o m
Report as inappropriate
Much as I have always loved the Ventures, I have to concede that the original version by The Chantays is a little better.
Report as inappropriate
OH MY!!!!!!! EXCUSE MYSELF..... A BLOCKER} NOT A BACKER.....
Report as inappropriate
True originals w dick dale too..kick bak n ur beach chair smoke a fatty n enjoy aloha brah
Report as inappropriate
Grew up listening to these guys. The reason I took up the guitar. I have this album and it is great. Not the originals, the guys got together in and re-recorded these in the 80s and 90s and they were on.
Report as inappropriate
THERE IS NO BETTER INSTRUMENTAL GROUP, PERIOD!!!
Report as inappropriate
buffalorfc
The best! The Elvis of instrumental Surf guitar!
Report as inappropriate
Timeless timeless timeless
Show more

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