Formation and rise to fameWilson and Bogle first met in 1958, when Bogle was looking to buy a car from a used car dealership owned by Wilson's father. Finding a common interest in guitars, the two decided to play together, while Wilson joined Bogle performing masonry work. Initially calling themselves The Versatones, the duo played small clubs, beer bars, and private parties throughout the Pacific Northwest. While Wilson played rhythm guitar, Bogle played lead. In 1959, they recorded and released two vocal tunes, "The Real McCoy" and "Cookies and Coke", but the single was met with indifference.After watching him play at a nightclub, they recruited Nokie Edwards as bass player. Bogle owned a Chet Atkins LP, Hi Fi in Focus, on which he heard the song "Walk Don't Run". Since they could not play the jazz embellishments Atkins had used, the group decided to develop a simplified, yet energized, arrangement. Soon enough, the group was in a recording studio playing the new song, with Bogle on lead, Wilson on rhythm, Edwards on bass, and Skip Moore on drums. They pressed a number of 45s, which they distributed to several record companies. Having been turned down by all the labels they approached, Wilson's mother, Josie, decided to start her own record company, Blue Horizon, to promote the record.Famed Seattle DJ Pat O'Day had received one of these early copies, and decided to use the song as a lead-in to the hourly news. Soon, he was flooded with requests from listeners intrigued by the new song. Bob Reisdorf, who owned Dolton Records, heard the song on the radio, and decided to sign the Ventures to a contract to act as their national distributor. Within months, the single climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 by September 1960, and "Walk Don't Run" had become a nationwide hit.Needing a permanent drummer for the group, they hired Howie Johnson, and, in the midst of a fast-paced touring schedule, they recorded an album to capitalize on the success of the single. The lineup of Bogle, Wilson, Edwards and Johnson remained intact until 1962. The group found early success with a string of singles, but would quickly become leaders in the album market. The Ventures were one of the pioneers of the early concept album idea, where, starting with 1961's The Colorful Ventures, each song on their albums was chosen to fit a specific theme. Some of the Ventures' most popular albums at the time were a series of records of dance music.In 1962, Edwards (a very talented guitarist in his own right) suggested that Bogle's lead guitar abilities were being stretched, and that they were in essence wasting Edwards' talents by keeping him on bass. Bogle agreed, and rapidly learned the bass parts to all their songs, allowing Edwards to take lead guitar. This move would prove vital in modernizing the band's sound, ensuring success in an ever-changing market well into the late 1960s.The classic lineup The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull (January 1963)In 1962, Johnson was injured in an auto crash, which caused irreversible spinal damage. On doctor's orders, he quit the band. Bogle and Wilson already knew Mel Taylor, house drummer at The Palomino in North Hollywood (the venue where they would play numerous shows during their resurgence in the 1980s). Taylor had performed as drummer on the Bobby "Boris" Pickett hit "Monster Mash", The Hollywood Argyles' "Alley Oop" and "The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. Taylor was known for a very aggressive, hard-hitting style of drumming. They invited him to some recording sessions, which led to him becoming a permanent member of the Ventures.Resurgence and decline in the US Hawaii Five-O (1969)The combination of Edwards on lead guitar, Taylor on drums, Bogle on bass and Wilson on rhythm guitar created what many fans[who?] feel was The Ventures at their very best. This lineup remained unchanged until Edwards left the band in 1968, to be replaced by Gerry McGee. Edwards came back in 1973 and remained with them until 1984, although he has toured and gigged with them dozens of times in the subsequent years. Edwards' replacement in 1984 was, once again, Gerry McGee. Drummer Mel Taylor remained with The Ventures until cancer took his life in 1996. His spot has since been filled by his son, Leon Taylor. (Original drummer Howie Johnson had died in 1988).Later yearsTheir commercial fortunes in the US declined sharply in the early 1970s due to changing musical trends. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, a resurgence of interest in surf music led to some in the punk/new wave audience rediscovering the band. The Go-Go's wrote "Surfin' And Spyin'" and dedicated it to The Ventures. The Ventures recorded their own version and continue to occasionally perform the song. Their career was given another rejuvenating shot in the arm by Quentin Tarantino's use of The Lively Ones' version of Nokie Edwards' "Surf Rider" and several other classic surf songs in the soundtrack of the hit movie Pulp Fiction. The Ventures became one of the most popular groups worldwide thanks in large part to their instrumental approach—there were no language barriers to overcome. The Ventures are still the most popular American rock group in Japan, the world's second largest record market. One oft-quoted statistic is that the Ventures outsold The Beatles 2-to-1 in Japan. They produced dozens of albums exclusively for the Japanese and European markets, and have regularly toured Japan from the 1960s through to the present. According to a January 1966 Billboard Magazine article, The Ventures had five of 1965's top 10 singles in Japan. A recent Japanese pop music poll listed "Ginza Lights" as the most popular song of all time; it was composed and recorded for their 1966 LP Go With The Ventures.The Ventures todayOn March 10, 2008, The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with John Fogerty as their presenter. In attendance were original members Don Wilson and Nokie Edwards, late 1960s member John Durrill, current guitarist Bob Spalding, and current drummer Leon Taylor who, along with Mel Taylor's widow, Fiona, accepted on behalf of The Ventures late drummer. Bob Bogle and Gerry McGee were unable to attend the ceremony. Fiona Taylor gave special mention to her husband's predecessor drummers Skip Moore and Howie Johnson. The Ventures performed their biggest hits, "Walk Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-0", augmented on the latter by Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame musical director Paul Shaffer and his band. Bob Bogle died June 14, 2009 after a long battle with a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he was 75.