Nole Floyd “Nokie” Edwards (May 9, 1935 – March 12, 2018)
Just in case you thought that this blog was always going to be about the slow stuff, we decided to prove once again that geezers like all kinds of music. (Well, almost all kinds.) In this instance, we’re going to focus on some music that triggers memories of Frankie and Annette dancing on a California beach. Not that I’ve actually danced on a beach myself, or been present when the two of them…er, did it on the movie set, but I do remember seeing a couple of those movies.
This beach-bunny era music is from some guys who have demonstrated a degree of longevity that would put young whipper-snappers like the Rolling Stones to shame. It’s a group that was formed in 1959 and is still performing today. (Although with some variations in personnel through the years.) The group’s name? The Ventures.
It all started when guitarists Bob Bogle and Don Wilson, two Tacoma construction workers who were also part-time musicians, got together with buddies Mel Taylor and Nokie Edwards and made a record of an overlooked Chet Atkins tune. Lightning struck and it became their first and biggest hit – “Walk, Don’t Run”.
Since then, they’ve churned out dozens of albums and several more hits, including “Hawaii Five-O”, in some cases imprinting their style on other genres of music and giving it their own unmistakable sound. They’ve continued to tour whenever possible, although interestingly enough they’ve become more popular in other parts of the world than they now are in the US. In fact, much of their music in later years has been specifically aimed toward those markets, especially Asia. In Japan alone, they’ve sold over 40 million records and have also had a big influence on pop music in that country.