TACOMA, Wash. — Don Wilson, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the influential instrumental group The Ventures, has died at 88, his son Tim Wilson confirmed to KING 5.
Wilson passed peacefully in Tacoma with his family by his side around 5 a.m. Saturday, Tim Wilson said. He died of natural causes.
Known as "the band that launched a thousand bands," The Ventures formed in Tacoma in 1958. The band recorded 37 albums between 1960 and 1972, including the theme to Hawaii Five-O. They were also known for Walk, Don't Run, which one writer dubbed a "surf rock standard."
With over 100 million records sold, The Ventures are the best-selling instrumental band of all time. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Wilson was the sole constant member of the Ventures throughout. He continued to record with the group and also produced a documentary film along with his family, "The Ventures: Stars on Guitars."
“Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over the world with his band, The Ventures,” said Tim Wilson. “He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed.”
Memorial service information has not yet been announced.