Ventures Guitarist Nokie Edwards Dead at 82
Nokie Edwards, a guitarist with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Ventures, has died at the age of 82, the band confirmed.
“We have been advised this morning that Nokie Edwards passed away today after several months battling an infection after hip surgery this past December,” a statement on the band's website read. “The Ventures family feels this loss very deeply: Nokie has been part of the Ventures’ history for almost six decades and helped to shape the early Ventures’ sound and the success of their career. He was an innovator and one of the greats on guitar, so much so that he influenced many young players over the course of his career."
Edwards became a founding member of the band in 1958 and left 10 years later to go solo, before returning in 1972 and remaining for 12 more years. He regularly made guest appearances with his former bandmates since then.
The instrumental surf-rock icons released more than 200 albums and launched more than two dozen singles, two of which reached the Top 10: 1960's "Walk - Don’t Run” (No. 2) and “Hawaii Five-O” in 1969 (No. 4).
The Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 by John Fogerty, who hailed the “audacity” of their pioneering sound and said it had “empowered guitarists everywhere.” Their influence led to their reputation as "the band that launched a thousand bands” and their particular popularity in Japan made them a favorite live act there for years.
“Born in Lahoma, Oklahoma with Cherokee roots, [Edwards] found his way to Washington State where he met Bob Bogle and Don Wilson and began playing and recording with the Ventures, initially on bass (because Bob was playing lead) but eventually taking over as lead guitarist for the group," the group wrote in its Facebook tribute. "Nokie’s many accomplishments include composing and his song, ‘Ginza Lights (Futari No Ginza)’ was one of the first of the Ventures’ Japanese hits – and is still a standard in Japan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nokie’s wife, Judy, and all family members, friends and fans. His music will live on.”