TACOMA, WA (CelebrityAccess) – Don Wilson, the last surviving founder and guitarist of surf-rock group, The Ventures passed away at 88. He died peacefully of natural causes at his home in Tacoma, his family released in a statement.
The Ventures helped create the sun and sand sound of today with a sound that influenced The Beach Boys, among others. Nearly 2,700 miles from Hawaii, the “home” of surf, Wilson and construction co-worker, Bob Bogle founded the band in Washington State in 1958. Initially called The Versatones (before they discovered the name was taken), they decided on The Ventures as they were venturing into a new direction. In an interview with People, Wilson says, “Honestly, I love playing surf music — it’s very fun and it makes you feel good. But we never really considered ourselves a surf band. It was just all these things coming together — the surf culture, the electric guitar, Americana — when we were coming up in the early 1960s.” The duo of Bogle and Wilson were soon joined by guitarists Nokie Edwards and Gerry McGee with Mel Taylor on drums.
During the course of their career, they found a niche with instrumental music. Their most famous being the theme song to the TV show, “Hawaii-Five-O”. Together, the Ventures have sold more than 100 million records and are the best-selling instrumental rock group in history. They charted 38 albums in the 60’s and 70’s with 14 singles entering the Billboard Hot 100 and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Wilson served as a producer on the 2020 documentary, “The Ventures: Stars on Guitars.”
Wilson’s son Tim released a statement to the media following the announcement of his passing.
“Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over world with his band, The Ventures. “He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed.”
He is survived by his four children, Jill, Tim, Cyd and Staci and ex-wife, Nancy Bacon. Memorial Service information was not available at press time.