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Lost Venture – RIP Bob Bogle

Lost Venture - RIP Bob Bogle

Fans of Los Straightjackets and other instrumental rockers should stop for a moment today and pay homage to a wonderful musician they’ve probably never heard of–Bob Bogle. Bogle, whose lead-guitar work with ’60s surf-rock pioneers The Ventures influenced countless bands to come, has died at the age of 75. Details from his obit read as follows:

Bogle died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Vancouver, WA, according to his longtime bandmate, Don Wilson.
Wilson and Bogle founded the group in 1958 after both learned to play guitar while they worked as construction workers in their native Tacoma, WA. “We had a lot of time on our hands after work, so we’d get together and play,” Wilson told CNN. “A year and a half later, we had a number two hit called ‘Walk Don’t Run.'” The group originally discovered the song on a Chet Atkins record and applied their own rapidly developing formula to the song, featuring a stripped-down, high-energy approach that became typical for the band in the years to come.

Hits followed in rapid succession after the band’s initial breakthrough with “Walk Don’t Run,” including “Perfidia,” “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” and “Walk Don’t Run ’64,” all of which found their way onto the Top 40. After enduring a commercial slump in the mid-’60s, the group rebounded with the theme for the hit TV show “Hawaii Five-O” in 1968, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard singles chart.

Aside from success as a singles band, the group pumped out a seemingly endless series of hit LPs, with 38 of the band’s studio sets entering The Billboard 200 chart, albums that spanned a wide variety of genres, from Christmas songs to country and western. In 1972, the group scored its final entry on The Billboard 200 with its version of the music from the movie “Shaft.”

According to The Ventures’ bio, the group sold more than 110 million albums worldwide, ranking the band as the best-selling instrumental group of all time. The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

These guys kept cranking it out, and one of the favorite items in my music collection is actually a cassette cut-out of a double Ventures “Best of” that is simply amazing–talk about twang guitar nirvana! I had the privilege of seeing them once at the Lonestar in NYC in the mid-80s, and I remember it fondly as an incredibly rockin’ good time. The Ventures may not have had any vocals, but their twin guitars sang like angels for decade after decade. That the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally recognized their contribution to the music world last year was a long time coming, and a nice thing to happen before Bogle’s passing. Rest in Peace, Bob.

–Matthew

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