The Ventures guitar band co-founder Don Wilson dies at 88: NPR

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The Ventures were a 1960s surf-rock band. The band’s hits included “Walk, Don’t Run” and the theme song to “Hawaii Five-O”. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.



STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Guitarist Don Wilson has died aged 88. He co-founded the 1960s surf-rock band known as The Ventures.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

At 24, Wilson met Bob Bogle in Tacoma, Washington. They started playing guitar together while working as day masons. Hopefully they hit it big with this song, their debut single, “Walk Don’t Run”.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF “WALK DON’T RUN” FROM THE VENTURES)

INSKEEP: What made the band even more famous was their version of this theme song from the show “Hawaii Five-O”.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE “HAWAII FIVE-O” FROM THE VENTURES)

MARTIN: Thirty-eight of the group’s albums entered the Billboard charts. There was even a time in 1963 when they had five albums on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously. And then in 2008, The Ventures were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

INSKEEP: Along the way, the Ventures were big in Japan. So huge that in 2010, the Emperor of Japan awarded the group that country’s second highest honor, the Order of the Rising Sun.

MARTIN: But what the fans really kept coming back to was Wilson’s rhythm guitar playing and the band’s innovative use of sound.

(SOUND EXCERPT FROM AN ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DON WILSON: It’s a dream come true, you know? When you start and so many other bands follow – you know, we’ve influenced so many different musicians, which is very rewarding, you know?

MARTIN: More than a dozen musicians came in and out of the four-man band, but it was Wilson who remained a constant until his death.

INSKEEP: To date, The Ventures, including Don Wilson, are the best-selling instrumental band of all time.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF “PERFIDIA” FROM THE VENTURES)

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