Nokie Edwards — the lead guitarist legendary surf-rock band the Ventures — has died. The Hall Fame inductee passed away on Monday (March 12) following complications with surgery. He was 82.
Edwards’ death was announced on the Ventures’ ficial website, where it was confirmed the guitar player’s death came after several months battling an infection after getting hip surgery in December.
The message reads as follows:
The Ventures family feels this loss very deeply: Nokie has been part the Ventures’ history for almost 6 decades and helped to shape the early Ventures’ sound and the success their career. He was an innovator and one the greats on guitar, so much so that he influenced many young players over the course his career.
Born in Lahoma, Oklahoma, with Cherokee roots, he 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. Nokie’s many accomplishments include composing and his song, “Ginza Lights (Futari No Ginza)” was one the first 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.
With the Ventures, Edwards led a prolific career, recording hits for the group like the classic “Walk Don’t Run,” the theme to “Hawaii Five-O” and “Perfidia,” among many others.
Formed in 1958 in Tacoma, WA, the band are ten seen as one the most influential guitar bands the pre-Beatles era and the group still stand as the best-selling instrumental band all time. This is especially true in Japan, where they even outsold the Beatles in their heyday.
Besides playing with the Ventures, Edwards also led a solo career and he even once made a cameo in the cult HBO series Deadwood.
In 2008, the Ventures were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame.