The Ventures were originally formed as the Versatones in 1958, but changed their name to the The Ventures in 1959. Don Wilson on rhythm guitar is the only surviving member of the group and has remained with the group, during their entire 56 year run.
What really sets the The Ventures apart is that they have sold 110 million albums, which is the most sold by any rock instrumental group. My favorite song recorded by The Ventures is their 30th anniversary recording of Wipeout on their Super Sessions with their drummer Mel Taylor and guest drummer Max Weinberg being featured. I can’t recall ever hearing any two drummers sounding better on one recording.
You may want to watch this video of Mel Taylor of The Ventures and guest drummer Max Weinberg having their own battle of the drums:
Wipeout is a must in any collection of songs by the Ventures, along with Pipeline, Tequila, Walk Don’t Run and many more of their best known hits. They have a unique sound that can be detected easily.
The Ventures have played a lot of covers of hits, by other groups but when they adapt the songs, to their own style they sound as good or better than the original recording.
George Harrison of the Beatles says he liked the instrumental sound of The Ventures more than the sound of any British groups.
The Ventures play Pipeline on this video from their 30th Anniversary Super Sessions DVD:
The Ventures have been very popular in Japan in recent years having sold 40 million albums over there.
It is a testament to their sound, that they have been popular for 56 years and one of the few groups from the 50’s, whose recordings have stretched over seven decades.
So next time you visit a thrift store with old records you might get lucky and found a vinyl or CD of The Ventures, that will bring back memories of the past.
There have been a lot of groups known as surf groups, but to me The Ventures stand out as the best of all the groups.