Bob Bogle — co-founder of legendary Tacoma garage-rock band, the Ventures, and the architect behind the distinctive guitar sound of early hits "Walk, Don't Run" and "Perfidia" — has died.
Bob Bogle — co-founder of legendary Tacoma garage-rock band, the Ventures, and the architect behind the distinctive guitar sound of early hits “Walk, Don’t Run” and “Perfidia” — has died.
Mr. Bogle, a resident of Vancouver, Wash., was 75 when he died on Sunday. He suffered from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and had been too frail to play with the Ventures in his waning years. But he lived long enough to see his band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2008.
Mr. Bogle became ill over the weekend and was taken to a hospital where he died, according to Ventures co-founder Don Wilson, Mr. Bogle’s friend and musical collaborator for more than five decades.
“Even though you know it’s gonna happen, when it does, it’s like a bomb dropping on you,” said Wilson, who lives in Sammamish.
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“Boy, I tell you, he’s the brother I never had,” he said. “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.”
Friends, peers and admirers recalled the lack of ego that accompanied Mr. Bogle’s virtuosity.
“He was a very creative, talented person,” said Buck Ormsby of the Fabulous Wailers, the Tacoma band that paved the way for the Ventures with their 1959 hit “Tall Cool One.”
“He looked like he was so relaxed in everything he did,” Ormsby said. “… And he was a great guy, just one of the nicest guys you’ll ever want to meet.”
Seattle radio disc jockey Mark Christopher spearheaded a campaign to get the long-overlooked Ventures into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he was with Seattle oldies station KBSG-FM.
“It was just a privilege to meet him and just an honor to know that he did get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and saw that before his time,” Christopher said. “That was a biggie for me. I just wanted to make sure the guys, because they were getting older, at least got to see something like that before their time came.”
Wilson recalled selling cars in Seattle in the late ’50s, when Mr. Bogle walked into his dealership one day. Wilson was struggling to make commission. And when he learned that Mr. Bogle worked construction, Wilson asked if he could get him a job.
“That’s why we started working together,” Wilson said. “And then we found out that we each knew a few chords on the guitar, you know, and we had a lot of free time on our hands. But neither of us owned a guitar.”
The two men bought a pair of guitars and a chord book at a downtown Tacoma pawnshop in 1958, aspiring only to find easier work headlining local nightclubs. But fate had so much more in store for them.
The Ventures scored their first hit with a remake of a Chet Atkins song called “Walk, Don’t Run” in 1960. It would become one of the most influential songs in rock history, sparking a remarkable run that saw the Ventures chart with 38 albums between 1960 and 1972 en route to more than 100 million records sold.
“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.”
While Nokie Edwards eventually took over as lead guitarist for the ventures, Wilson recalled how Mr. Bogle laid the foundation for the Ventures’ innovative sound.
“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.
“Nobody had heard anything like it. That was why ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ was such a monster hit. I run across so many people, guitar players — famous ones — and they say the first song I learned was ‘Walk, Don’t Run’.”
Funeral arrangements are pending. Wilson expected services to be held on Thursday or Friday.