Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ventures’ Bob Bogle Passes Away

written by Robert Benson

The Ventures' lead guitarist, the innovative and influential Bob Bogle, passed away on June 14, 2009 in Vancouver, Washington at the age of 75. He had suffered from non-Hodgkin lymphoma for a number of years which made him too ill to perform with the band, but he fought off the illness long enough to see the band be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

A statement on the group’s website read:

“It is with profound sadness and grief that we must inform Ventures' fans all over the world that Bob Bogle passed away on Sunday, June 14. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob's family at this terrible time, especially his beloved wife, Yumi, who has been the light of his life for so many years. The Ventures' members are completely devastated, and share the pain of this loss with all our friends and fans. As more information becomes available, it will be posted here, and we hope to set up a section on this site for messages from those who wish to post them.”

“The music world has lost a true original and an innovator - may all our wonderful memories console us.”

The Ventures were formed in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle and their instrumental guitar work has had a profound effect on the development of rock and roll music. Their unique and distinctive sound helped popularize instrumental rock on Top-40 radio in the early sixties and were often referred to as “the band that launched a thousand bands.”

Over thirty major artists have identified The Ventures as an influence, including George Harrison who stated in a Guitar Player interview that The Beatles preferred the American guitar sound of The Ventures to British contemporaries. When asked to name the most influential rock guitar solos, Joe Walsh (James Gang and the Eagles) stated that he would have to include the entire song "Walk Don't Run" because it changed so many guitar players' lives. Stephen Stills once told Ventures guitarist Don Wilson that he learned to play guitar by listening to Ventures’ records. Eddie Van Halen told Rolling Stone that the Ventures’ “Pipeline” was among the first songs he learned how to play on the guitar. Jeff Baxter (Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers) and Gene Simmons (Kiss) were early members of the Ventures Fan Club. Others identifying the Ventures as an influence include Terry Kath (Chicago), Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys), Jeff Cook (Alabama), Ricky Wilson (The B-52's), Roger Fisher (Heart), Keith Moon (The Who), Alan White (Yes), and Roger Glover of Deep Purple fame.

The Ventures secured their first hit record in 1962 with a remake of a song written by Chet Atkins, a powerful instrumental cut called “Walk, Don’t Run,” which peaked at #2 in the US. This song had become one of the most influential songs in rock and roll history.

"That song started a whole new movement in Rock 'n' Roll. The sound of it became 'surf music' and the audacity of it empowered guitarists everywhere," said Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty, as he inducted the Ventures into the rock hall of fame last year. "Every guitar player on this planet knows what I'm talking about. It's enough to say, the Ventures are the most popular instrumental band of all time."

The Ventures released a number of instructional LPs called "Play Guitar with The Ventures" and "Play Electric Bass with The Ventures." A total of four albums were released in this series, the first of which reached the Billboard Top 100 Album Chart—an achievement previously unheard of for an instructional album. The Ventures were also the first act to place two different versions of the same song in the Top 10, those being "Walk Don't Run" (#2) and "Walk Don't Run '64" (#8).

The band pioneered the use of special effects on such songs as "2000 Pound Bee,” which was recorded in late 1962. Lead guitarist Nokie Edwards employed a fuzz distortion pedal and this unique effect predated the 1963 hit "Zipadee-Do-Dah" by Bob B. Soxx, which featured a 'fuzz' guitar instrumental break. Edwards was also among the first to use the twelve string guitar in rock. The Ventures’ ”In Space” album (1964) was a primer in the use of special guitar effects and made pioneering use of 'reverse-tracking,’ a technique that was utilized by The Beatles in the later 1960s. The Ventures were among the first rock acts able to sell albums based on a specific style and sound without the need of any hit singles from their albums. They are also credited by The All Music Guide To Rock with the early formulation of the concept album. Additionally, the Encyclopedia Britannica states that The Ventures "served as a prototype for guitar-based rock groups.” The group charted 38 albums between 1960 and 1972 en route to more than 110 million records sold worldwide.

“Boy, I tell you, he’s the brother I never had,” said Don Wilson. “And he is much more than any brother could be. He and I were partners for, like, 52 years. And to tell you the honest truth, we had never, ever had an argument in all that time — never.”

Even though Bogle eventually moved to the bass for the Ventures, it was his classic work as the band’s lead guitarist for which he is most remembered.

“If you listen to “Walk, Don’t Run” and “Perfidia,” the lead guitar is just totally unique,” Wilson said. “He used that vibrato bar — they call it a whammy bar — and he used it like nobody else. I can't think of a better contribution for instrumental music on his style than “Walk, Don't Run.” A lot of good would-be guitar players and garage bands would go out and buy guitars just to learn that song."

"He had a special sound that nobody could ever re-create. He was totally unique as a guitar player," Wilson told CNN Radio.

To really appreciate what Bob Bogle did for music history, all one has to do is listen to his innovative instrumental guitar mastery, his music were his words. It is truly a sad day in rock history and Bogle will be missed by millions.

Major hits by the Ventures:

•Walk Don't Run (1960/#2 Pop/#13 R&B)
•Perfidia (1960/#15 Pop)
•Walk Don't Run '64 (1964/#8 Pop)
•Hawaii Five-O (1969/#4 Pop)
•Superstar Revue (1975/#3 Disco/#12 Club Play)
•Temptation, Temptation/Sunrise Serenade (1976/#9 Club Play)
Major Albums by the Ventures (all chart positions are on the Pop chart):

•Walk Don't Run (1961/#11)
•Twist With the Ventures (1962/#24)
•The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull (1963/#8)
•Walk Don't Run Volume 2 (1964/#17)
•The Ventures a Go-Go (1965/#16)
•The Ventures Christmas Album (1965/#9)
•Hawaii Five-O (1969/#11)


Anonymous said...

i found a really cool site dedicated to vinyl...check it out

patrick said...

Wonderful retrospective article, well done.

Robert Benson said...

Cool site, Jamie, I will contact them and have more about the site very soon, looks interesting.

Thank you Patrick, I appreciate your comment, it makes my day to know that my writing is being read and appreciated.