The most successful American instrumental group during the rock era, the Ventures led the way in establishing the guitar-based sound dominating popular music from 1960 onwards. Their distinctive sound—pulsing drums and metallic, twanging guitars—spanned a wide range of material (e.g., calypso, blues, Latin, psychedelia, folk rock, Merseybeat), surviving many changes in public taste. Many genres—most notably, surf music, the British Invasion, power pop, and alternative rock—have been influenced by the band.

Based in Seattle, the Ventures’ first release, "Walk Don’t Run" (Dolton 25), reached number two on the pop charts in August 1960. They had fourteen hits in all during the 1960s, including the Top Ten recordings "Walk Don’t Run ‘64" (Dolton 96; 1964) and "Hawaii Five-O" (Liberty 56068; 1969). In 1965, the band issued one of the most popular instructional records ever, Play Guitar with the Ventures (Dolton 16501). The Ventures—which included founding members Bob Bogle (guitar, bass) and Don Wilson (guitar)—continued to tour extensively through the 1990s, long after the hits stopped coming. [Romanowski and George-Warren. 1995]

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