Don Wilson Dies: Cofounder Of The Ventures Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame Surf Group Was 88

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Don Wilson, whose twangy guitar sounds helped create a distinct genre of music with his band, The Ventures, has died at age 88. He died of natural causes on Saturday in Tacoma, Washington, according to his son.

Wilson was the last surviving founder and guitarist of The Ventures.

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“Don was an inspiration and mentor. He was a unique talent that inspired countless musicians like us,” read a statement posted to the band’s social media pages. “We lost a good friend, fellow musician, world class performer, and beloved bandmate. Don Wilson has left the stage. We will miss him always.”

Tim Wilson, Don’t son, told Washington station KING-TV that “Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over world with his band, The Ventures,” Tim Wilson said in a statement to the outlets. “He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed.”

In the late 1950s, Wilson and fellow Seattle guitarist Bob Bogle founded The Ventures as an instrumental group. They were soon joined by by bassist/guitarist Nokkie Edwards. Bogle died in 2009 at age 75. Edwards died in 2018 at age 82.

They quickly developed a following for their twangy surf sound. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame called them “The most successful instrumental combo in rock and roll history” upon their 2008 induction.

Among the group’s best-known hits in the 1960s were “Walk, Don’t Run” (which rose to No. 2 nationally on the Billboard Hot 1000 charts) and “Hawaii Five-O (a Top 5 hit in 1969).

Overall, The Ventures charted 37 albums from 1960 to 1972.

Wilson remained active with the band until his retirement in 2015, but still served as a producer for the 2020 documentary, The Ventures: Stars on Guitars.

Information on survivors and memorial plans was not immediately available.

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