Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just too good for words

One great thing about The Ventures' music was you didn't have to learn the words to their songs. That meant you could spend all your effort concentrating on their twangy guitar licks, which seemed daunting enough for a kid picking up an electric guitar for the first time.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, an honor that was long overdue but at least in time for founding member Bob Bogle, who had been ailing with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Bogle died this week at age 75.

The most popular instrumental band of all time strung together an amazing collection of guitar-driven hits in the Sixties, starting with the ground-breaking "Walk Don't Run'' in 1960. Bogle played lead on that one, which hit No. 2 on the Billboard chart (stopped only by "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini'') as well as on other early classics such as "Perfidia'' and "Blue Moon'' before the band shuffled players and he moved to bass.

The Ventures became known as "the band that launched 1,000 other bands,'' because once you heard that signature sound, with its whammy bar vibrato, you too wanted to play guitar like them. The list of guitarists and bands who were inspired and influenced by them includes their Hall of Fame presenter, John Fogerty, along with Jimmy Page, the Ramones, George Harrison, Steve Miller, Stanley Clarke, Keith Moon, Joe Walsh, Gene Simmons, and well, you get the idea.

In 1964 they became the first group to crack the Top 10 with two different versions of the same song when "Walk Don't Run '64'' reached No. 8. But the song everyone will remember is the theme from "Hawaii Five-O'', which was a perfect fit for a band that pioneered the surf guitar sound.

Here they are performing "Walk Don't Run.'' You should have heard what this sounded like on a Sears Roebuck Silvertone.


  1. I posted am RIP for Bogle and a video of their '64 Japan concert on my Facebook page Tuesday.

    Didn't get a single comment.

    I need new friends.

  2. I'll check it out. Hadn't seen the video, but I know they were HUGE in Japan.