Nokie Edwards, influential lead guitarist of the Ventures, dies at 82

By Terence McArdle | Washington Post

Nokie Edwards, a founding member of the Ventures who helped create rollicking, infectious and influential hits in the 1960s for the guitar-driven band, including the surf-rock standard “Walk, Don’t Run,” died March 12 at a hospital in Yuma, Arizona. He was 82.

Guitarist Deke Dickerson confirmed the death and said that Edwards had recently been hospitalized for complications from hip surgery.

The Ventures’ first album, “Walk, Don’t Run” (1960), with Bob Bogle on lead guitar and Edwards on bass, sold more than 2 million copies, reached No. 2 on the pop charts and served as a touchstone for many aspiring guitarists. By 1962, Bogle and Edwards, the more skilled guitarist, had traded places. Edwards would remain the group’s lead guitarist until his departure in 1968.

Although arguably the most successful instrumental band in rock-and-roll history, the Ventures had a less-than-electrifying performing style. Their lone stage gimmick consisted of moving their guitars and basses in tandem, an action that seems quaint in retrospect. However, their influence on rock music — particularly Edwards’ nimble, melodic guitar work — was incalculable.

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The combo entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and inspired guitarists Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the second of whom gave the induction speech.

“I believe in simplicity,” Edwards once told the San Antonio Express-News. “If you have a melodic line, people will like it. If you can hum it, you can have a hit.”

That simplicity led to a remarkable run of charting singles that included a more aggressive 1964 surf remake of “Walk, Don’t Run.” While their twangy, reverb-drenched guitars and rumbling drums helped …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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