Don Wilson, Guitarist for The Ventures, Passed Away at 88

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Don Wilson of the instrumental band The Ventures has passed away at 88.

The co-founder and rhythm guitarist for the band died peacefully in Tacoma, Washington early in the morning on Saturday (January 22). He died of natural causes, his son, Tim Wilson, confirmed.

To many, The Ventures is known as “the band that launched a thousand bands” due to the popularity of their musicianship and the joy the group exuded.

The group formed in Tacoma, which is about an hour south of Seattle, in 1958. In total, the group recorded 37 albums between 1960 and 1972, including the theme song to the television show Hawaii Five-O.

One of The Ventures’ biggest hits includes “Walk, Don’t Run,” which you can see below. The song is considered a surf rock standard.

The Ventures sold over 100 million records. The group is thought to be the best-selling instrumental rock group of all time. The Ventures was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Wilson was the lone consistent member of the band throughout its tenure.

According to King 5 News, Don’s son Tim said of his father’s passing: “Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over the world with his band, The Ventures. He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed.”

In the 1960s and early 1970s, 38 of the band’s albums charted in the US, ranking them as the 6th best album chart performer during the 1960s, and the band had 14 singles in the Billboard Hot 100.

The Ventures’ recording of “Walk, Don’t Run” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Check out some more of The Ventures’ music below. And see if you can tell what other groups may have taken some pointers from the instrumental Pacific Northwest-born group.

Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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