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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bob Bogle born 16 January 1934

Bob Bogle (16 June 1934 – June 14, 2009) was bass guitarist and lead guitarist with the Ventures. He was born Robert Lenard Bogle at his family's home near Wagoner, Oklahoma.

The Ventures' origins lie in a Tacoma, Washington group called the Versatones. Around 1959, construction workers and hobby guitarists Bob Bogle and Don Wilson formed the group, gigging around Washington state and Idaho with various rhythm sections as backup. They recorded a demo tape, but after it was rejected by the Liberty Records subsidiary Dolton, the duo founded their own label, Blue Horizon. They released one vocal single ("Cookies and
Coke"), then recruited bassist Nokie Edwards and drummer Skip Moore and decided to instead become an instrumental group.
(Right - Early photo of Don Wilson & Bob Bogle)
The Ventures went into the studio in 1959 with an idea for a new single they had first heard on Chet Atkins' Hi Fi in Focus LP. Released on Blue Horizon in 1960, the single "Walk-Don't Run" became a big local hit after being aired as a news lead-in on a Seattle radio station (thanks to a friend with connections). In an ironic twist, Dolton Records came calling and licensed the single for national distribution; by summer 1960, it had risen to number two in the charts, behind only "It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley.


After Howie Johnson replaced Moore on drums, the Ventures began recording their debut album, unsurprisingly titled after their hit single.

Two singles, "Perfidia" and "Ram-Bunk-Shush," hit the Top 40 during 1960-61, but the Ventures soon began capitalizing on what became a trademark: releasing LPs which featured songs very loosely arranged around a theme implied in the title. The group's fourth LP, The Colorful Ventures, included
"Yellow Jacket," "Red Top," "Orange Fire" and no less than three tracks featuring the word "blue" in the title. The Ventures put their indelible stamp on each style of '60s music they covered, and they covered many -- twist, country, pop, spy music, psychedelic, swamp, garage, TV themes. (In the '70s, the band moved on to funk, disco, reggae, soft rock and Latin music.) The Ventures' lineup changed slightly during 1962. Howie Johnson left the band, to be replaced by session man Mel Taylor; also, Nokie Edwards took over lead guitar with Bob Bogle switching to bass.

One of the few LPs not arranged around a theme became their best-selling; 1963's The Ventures Play Telstar, The Lonely Bull featured a cover of the number one instrumental hit by the British studio band the Tornadoes and produced by Joe Meek. Though their cover of "Telstar" didn't even chart, the album hit the Top Ten and became the group's first of three gold records. A re-write of their signature song --
entitled "Walk-Don't Run '64" -- reached number eight that year. By the mid-'60s however, the Ventures appeared to be losing their touch. Considering the volatility of popular music during the time, it was quite forgivable that the group would lose their heads-up knowledge of current trends in the music industry to forecast which songs should be covered. The television theme "Hawaii Five-O" hit number four in 1969, but the Ventures slipped off the American charts for good in 1972. Instead, the band began looking abroad for attention and -- in Japan especially -- they found it with gusto.

After leaving Dolton/Liberty and founding their own Tridex Records label, the Ventures began recording albums specifically for the Japanese market. The group eventually
sold over 40 million records in that country alone, becoming one of the biggest American influences on Japanese pop music ever.

Nokie Edwards left the Ventures in 1968 to pursue his interest in horse racing for a time, and was replaced by Gerry McGee; though he returned by 1972, Mel Taylor left the group that year for a solo career, to be replaced by Joe Barile. (Taylor returned also, in 1979.) By the early '80s, the Ventures' core quartet of Wilson, Bogle, Edwards and Taylor could boast of playing together for over 20 years. Though Edwards left the band for good in 1984 (replaced again by Gerry McGee) and Mel Taylor died mid-way through a Japanese tour in 1996 (replaced by his son Leon), Bob Bogle retired from touring in December 2004 and was replaced by Bob Spalding. In 2008, Bogle and other members of The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Performer category. Bogle died at age 75 on June 14,
2009 from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Vancouver, Washington.

Today’s lineup comprises Don Wilson, Bob Spalding (who first appeared live with the group in 1981), Gerry McGee, and Leon Taylor (who replaced his late father Mel in 1996). Nokie Edwards still joins them on selected dates. (info maily AMG)

The top photo is kindly allowed by permision of owner Susan Beals. See comments. Plenty of good videos of the Ventures but here's the one I've chosen from 19, August 1998.

 Bob Lead-Walk Don't Run-Rawhide-Shanghide-TorquayThe Work Song-Mr Moto-Comin Home Baby-Besame Mucho -Rap City-Green Hornet'66-Perfidia-Blue Moon and Gerry Lead on Manchurian Beat.


boppinbob said...

Here are the comments from my original Multiply post.

Susan Beals said... Just want to mention that the photo at the top of the article is mine. The original can be seen at:

7 June 2010 00:16
ROBERT SEVIER said... Have sent Susan a PM . Hopefully she will allow her photo of Bob to be kept on this article. I do try to give credit to sources but photo owners are hard to acknowledge as usually they are not named.

7 June 2010 07:48
Susan Beals said...Hi Bob,
Thanks for the message. I don't mind you using my photo at all! Just like to have my name on my "work". This picture was taken in Issaquah, Washington. The Ventures and other guests, including Alan White of Yes were all performing together at Issaquah's annual Salmon Fest. Nothing better than Ventures music played LIVE!

7 June 2010 10:35
ROBERT SEVIER said...Thanks for the extra info, Susan.
7 June 2010 11:27

boppinbob said...

For The Ventures Rarities go here: