RIP Don Wilson, The Ventures

Sad news: rhythm guitarist Don Wilson of The Ventures passed away this morning at 88. Don co-founded the group in Seattle in 1958 with his friend, the late Bob Bogle. They were two construction guys who bought $15 guitars at a pawnshop, taught themselves to play and evolved into a four-man band.

My friend Pat O’Day loved The Ventures and he helped make “Walk – Don’t Run” a huge wordwide hit in August 1960. Pat used parts of their music for production breaks on his KJR afternoon show to get listeners interested in their unique sound.

“Walk – Don’t Run” was a definitive hit from one of Seattle’s earliest garage bands. To this day we can all recall their version of “Hawaii 5-0”, the theme from the TV series.

The rest was rock history, resulting in an astounding 250 albums — that’s right, 250 albums — with sales of over 100 million copies. The Ventures were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.