Rhythm guitarist Don Wilson, founding member of The Ventures, dead at 88

TACOMA, Wash. — Don Wilson, a founding member of surf rock supergroup The Ventures, died of natural causes at his home in Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday morning, his family confirmed to People magazine. He was 88.

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“Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over world with his band, The Ventures,” his son Tim said in a prepared statement. “He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed.”

Wilson founded the iconic quartet in 1958 with his friend Bob Bogle, and their first wide-release single, “Walk, Don’t Run” catapulted them to international fame two years later, Rolling Stone reported.

“We never set out to be a surf band,” Wilson told People in 2020. “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. Kind of a happy accident, I guess you could say. We play all kinds of music, though, including our ‘Venturizing’ of everything from classical to disco.”

According to the entertainment news magazine, The Ventures had 14 singles chart on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over 100 million records throughout their career and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

The instrumental group is also known for their tracks “Hawaii 5-0,” “Wipeout,” and “Perfidia,” as well as for writing songs featured in movies such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Zoolander,” “Kangaroo Jack” and “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” Rolling Stone reported.

Wilson is survived by his four children and his ex-wife, People reported.