New York, NY. (Top40 Charts/ Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame) - "People kept telling us we were in, but I had to see it to believe it," says The Ventures' co-founding member Don Wilson about his band's induction this year into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "I don't think excited is the word. Pleased is more like it."
The legendary instrumental band, which formed in the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington, 49 years ago with the release of the hit single, "Walk Don't Run," will enter those hallowed halls on March 10 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, where they will be joined by Leonard Cohen, The Dave Clark Five, Madonna and John Mellencamp at the 23rd Annual Induction Dinner.
"After 22 years of being overlooked, the excitement kind of fades, but it's still the ultimate reward," says the outspoken Wilson. "You can't get a higher honor."
Joining fellow Seattle native Jimi Hendrix as the Pacific Northwest's only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, The Ventures' honor may be long overdue, but it comes just in time for the band to mark its 50th anniversary next year.
After releasing the single, "Walk Don't Run," on their own label, Blue Horizon, started by Don's own mother, Wilson, along with co-founding bassist Bob Bogle, guitarist Nokie Edwards and drummer Howie Johnson (and very soon after, Mel Taylor), saw the song hit No 2 on the pop chart in the summer of 1960, prevented from going No 1 by a combination of Chubby Checker's "The Twist," Elvis Presley's "Now or Never," Brian Hyland's "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" and Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely."
That was just the beginning of a run that would land the band a string of Gold albums and singles, 200 plus albums released in over 100 countries and almost 100 million albums sold, including a mind-boggling 50 million in Japan alone, where they remain superstars to this day.
Credited with creating the foundation for the surf-rock genre, the group's string of hit singles included "Perfidia," "Walk Don't Run 64" and "Hawaii 5-0," as well as the only instructional album, Play Guitar with the Ventures, to ever hit the Billboard chart. Along with the hit singles, The Ventures had monster LP-hits with "Pipeline," "Wipeout" and the "Lonely Bull."
The band has also been an admitted influence on such music superstars as fellow Hall of Famers George Harrison, John Fogerty, Stephen Stills, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page, Elton John and Aerosmith.
The group, which now includes Don Wilson, lead guitarists Nokie Edwards, Gerry McGee and drummer Leon Taylor, son of the original Venture Mel Taylor, who died in 1996, continues to tour, having just returned from a trip to Japan. This summer, a book about the group's history, in part compiled by Don's mother, will be published.
Mel Taylor's widow, Fiona Taylor, who is also The Ventures' manager, said "Mel would have loved this! He would have been incredibly proud - it's a validation of the group's place in rock 'n' roll history."
"I keep telling people I don't like the word 'posthumously," laughs Wilson. "So I'm kind of glad we are being inducted now."