The Ventures featured Don Wilson and Bob Bogle on guitars, Nokie Edwards on bass and Howie Johnson on the drums. Don and Bob were mates who met in 1958. They bought a couple of guitars for$10 each and started playing. They recruited Nokie Edwards on bass, and Skip Moor on drums.
They pressed their own recording of “Walk Don’t Run” themselves and posted it off to some radio stations in Seattle. Dolton Records picked it up and it got to No. 2 in the U.S. Charts.
Skip Moor left to work in his family’s business, and eventually Howie Johnson settled behind the drum kit..
More hits followed, “Perfidia”, an old 1939 Latin tune which got to No. 15 in the U.S. and 5 in the U.K., a remake of “ Walk don’t Run” came out in 1964, and “Hawaii Five-O” in 1969.
From there, the Ventures stuck to Albums, compiling a massive 50 plus by the end of 1973.
Always very popular in Japan where they were made members of the Conservatory of Music.
In 1961,it was suggested that Bogle's lead guitar abilities were being stretched, and that they were in essence wasting Edwards' ,a talented guitarist, talents by keeping him on bass. Bogle agreed, and rapidly learned the bass parts to all their tunes, allowing Edwards to take lead guitar full-time, although he had played lead previously on several tracks on their first studio sessions/albums. This move would prove vital in modernizing the band's sound, ensuring success in an ever-changing market well into the late 1960s.
In 1957, Johnson had been injured in an auto crash, which caused irreversible spinal damage. This forced him to play with a neck brace at first but was able to play without it shortly after joining the group. Johnson played on the first four LPs and recorded on about half of the tracks on the fifth LP (Twist with the Ventures/Dance!) and about half of their sixth LP (Twist With The Ventures Vol. 2/Beach Party). He did not like spending so much time away from his new family (his second marriage) by having to commute from Seattle to Los Angeles to record, and because of this, he left the band. Johnson continued to play locally in the Washington area with local groups until his death on May 5, 1988, at age 54.
The Ventures have had an enduring impact on the development of music worldwide. The Ventures were among the first to employ and popularize fuzz and tremolo guitar effects, different from the majority of bands at the time, and twelve-string guitars in rock music. Their instrumental virtuosity, innovation, and unique sound influenced many musicians and bands, earning the group the name "The Band that Launched a Thousand Bands". Their recording of "Walk, Don't Run" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its lasting impact, and in 2008 the group was justly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Ventures On Vinyl
The Ventures "Walk Don't Run Volume 2"was released by Dolton in in August 1964, the bands 16th album. It featured the re recorded version of "Walk Don't Run" which became a top 10 ten hit for them for the second time. The cover featured the band with Don Wilsons wife, Nancy Bacon. Released in August 1964 it was another hit LP reaching No. 17 on Billboard, and 18 on Cashbox. Again 12 tracks including the new "Walk Don't Run" and The Ventures arrangement of Brahms "Hungarian Dance " called "Rap City"
The "Walk Don't Run "Album. This was the first album released by the band on the Liberty subsidiary label Dolton. Recorded at Joe Boles home studio, and released in December 1960, it was a big seller and got to No. 11 in the U.S. The band were on tour when the album was compiled, so workers from Liberty Records stockroom posed on the cover, with model Barbara Grimes. Tracks included "Raunchy", "Caravan" "Walk Don't Run", "Sleepwalk" and 8 other tracks.
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The Saturday Night Beach-Nut Show, August 27 1960.
Live in Japan, 1966. What a drum solo!