Don Wilson, a founding member of the surf rock band The Ventures, has died at age 88.
The guitarist's family confirmed the news to People, saying that he died peacefully from natural causes Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington.
"Our dad was an amazing rhythm guitar player who touched people all over the world with his band, The Ventures," his son Tim said in a statement. Wilson had his four children with him at the time of his death. "He will have his place in history forever and was much loved and appreciated. He will be missed."
Born Feb. 10, 1933, in Tacoma, Wilson and his friend, guitarist and bassist Bob Bogle, founded The Ventures in 1958. The band would go on to become a pioneer in the surf rock genre.
By 1960 they had gained notoriety with their first worldwide single "Walk, Don't Run," which was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Over the next few decades, the band's music would be embraced by surf cultures of Southern California and Hawaii and served as a source of inspiration for the likes of the Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Go-Gos — bands that all credited The Ventures for setting the foundation upon which they built their own music.
Even today their guitar-driven hits like "Pipeline," "Wipeout," and "Perfidia" often make it onto the playlists of many surfers and beach partiers around the globe.
During a 2020 interview with People, Wilson said The Ventures never set out to be a surf rock group.
"Honestly, I love playing surf music — it's very fun, and it makes you feel good," he said. "But we never really considered ourselves a surf band. It was just all these things coming together — the surf culture, the electric guitar, Americana — when we were coming up in the early 1960s. Kind of a happy accident, I guess you could say.
"We play all kinds of music, though, including our 'Venturizing' of everything from classical to disco."
In 2008, after having had several singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and having sold over 100 million records, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Additionally, their music featured in films like "Pulp Fiction," "Zoolander," "Kangaroo Jack," and "Dogtown and Z-Boys."
Wilson retired in 2015 but continued to records with the band's current lineup.
He is survived by his four children, Jill, Tim, Cyd, and Staci and his ex-wife Nancy Bacon.
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