Petition to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Cover Letter to the Formal Petition
Submitted on November 1, 2006
The Ventures Hall of Fame Induction Committee
c/o P.O. Box 56
St. Thomas, VI 00804-0056
November 1, 2006
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
1290 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10104
Dear Foundation Members:
I am again writing to formally submit for consideration a petition to induct The Ventures into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Attachment 1). "The Ventures Hall of Fame Induction Committee"
is a grass roots group formed by rock and roll music lovers who have come together, primarily through the
Internet, to try to make right the terrible injustice that has been inflicted on what is the most influential, most
versatile, and most long-lived instrumental band in the history of rock and roll. The fact that our campaign
and this petition are even necessary is in itself a grave injustice to these fine musicians. Of course, we were all extremely
disappointed to see the list of nominees for 2007 and realize that The Ventures have been ignored again.
Hopefully they will be given serious consideration for induction in 2008. In the rest of this cover letter, we highlight
the reasons why The Ventures deserve to be inducted.
Why Induct The Ventures Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Hundreds, if not thousands, of rock and roll musicians have come and gone since the 1950s. Some have
forever left their mark on this type of music, others sparkled brightly and then disappeared only to be known
as "one hit wonders," and still others never made it to mass market popularity but continued to play to
appreciative audiences in their local communities. Only a very small percentage of these musicians are
deserving of recognition in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, whose stated purpose is to:
Recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact over the evolution, development
and perpetuation of rock and roll, by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.
Taking that statement of purpose into consideration, why should The Ventures be among the
honored artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Quite simply, because The Ventures
are the epitome of what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is intended to represent:
- They have been important musical influences who have provided inspiration to literally
thousands of youths to learn to play guitar or drums and to want to become rock and roll "superstars" and
- They have achieved a universal appeal that has impacted and spread the popularity of
American rock and roll music to the world and continues to attract new listeners almost 50 years after their beginnings in 1959.
In other words, as stated in the Hall of Fame's own statement of purpose,
The Ventures "have had a significant impact over the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll"
and, therefore, are deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame.
The Ventures have had an extremely important influence on the development of American rock and
roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's own museum and web site list "Walk, Don't Run" by The
Ventures as one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll." Yet, the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame has so far not inducted the The Ventures, the band that produced "Walk, Don't Run."
Meanwhile, recognition of the important influence of The
Ventures has come from many other sources. For example:
- Despite not having achieved the honor of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the
musical influence and achievements of The Ventures have been formally recognized by other
- In 1971, The Ventures became the first non-Japanese ever elected to the Japanese
Conservatory of Music in recognition of their position among the top 10 composers in Japan.
- In 1990, The Ventures were inducted into the Washington State Music Hall of
Fame in recognition of their status in the music world and as native Washingtonians.
- In 1996, The Ventures were inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk in
recognition of their influence on the development and continued popularity of surf rock.
- In 1996, The Ventures were invited to participate in the Smithsonian Institution's
celebration of the development of the electric guitar.
- Also in 1996, The Ventures were honored by Fender Guitars with a limited
edition line of signature guitars in recognition of their role in the success of that guitar manufacturer.
- In 2001, The Ventures were invited by the Experience Music Project to
participate in its grand opening celebration in recognition of their important influence on the development
of rock and roll.
- in 2004, The Ventures were among 156 individuals and
organizations honored by the Government of Japan for having contributed to the development of Japanes culture
(in the case of The Ventures, Japanese "pop" music) and to the maintenance of the friendly relationship betwee
the United States and Japan.
- In 2006, the Grammy Hall of Fame added "Walk Don't Run" by The Ventures to their list of the
most influential songs in the history of music! This honor was bestowed upon The Ventures by vote of
music producers, composers, and artists.
- "The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll" (1995 edition) stated that:
The Ventures are one of the first, best, most lasting and influential of instrumental guitar-based
rock combos (rivaled only by Britain's Shadows). Their trademark sound -- driving mechanical drums,
metallic guitars twanging out simple, catchy pop tunes -- has filtered down through the years to gain
prominence in the sounds of bands like Blondie, the B-52's, and the Go-Go's. Often classified as a surf-rock
band, The Ventures actually predated surf music and lasted well beyond its early-Sixties boom.
Some 35 years after their forming they still play to appreciative audiences.
- In a related entry on "surf rock," the Encyclopedia went on to say that:
Instrumental surf music featured throbbing tribal tom-tom tattoos and trebly, twanging guitar riffs:
The Ventures' "Walk, Don't Run," the Duals' "Stick Shift," Dick Dale and the Del-tones'
"Miserlou." Thanks in large part to the prolific Ventures, instrumental surf rock has proven one
of rock's most influential sub-genres.
- In the 65-page booklet included in Rhino Records' Cowabunga surf music CD boxed set,
John Blair, one of the foremost surf music experts, had the following to say about The
The Ventures are the best-selling and most enduring rock instrumental band in pop music
history. "Walk, Don't Run," their biggest hit record to date, reached #2 on the Billboard Top 100
chart in 1960. Formed in Tacoma, Washington, in 1959, the band continues to perform and record today.
They have been hugely popular in Japan, where they have won numerous music awards and gold records.
By 1970 they had recorded 38 albums! [That number is now over 100, excluding compilations and reissues.]
Of all the instrumental bands that preceded and influenced surf music, The Ventures were arguably
the most important and influential.
- Music Hound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (1999 edition) stated, in part that:
The Ventures have released more than 250 albums during their undisputed, three decades-plus
reign as kings of instrumental rock, influencing scores of musicians around the world to pick up electric
guitars and strum along to the newest TV theme or dance craze. Without question, the most popular and
influential band of its kind in history, with over 90 million records sold (40 million in Japan alone), The
Ventures are nothing less than the inventors and chief practitioners of a style of rock 'n' roll that is
almost too cool for words. . . . Throughout the '60s, The Ventures' dance, surf, pops, stage, and TV
theme albums sold millions of copies worldwide: In London, for example, a young drummer named Keith
Moon learned to play along with an eerie pedal-steel-on-Mars collection entitled "The Ventures in Space,"
while a trip by the band to the Orient in 1965, coinciding with the first mass-marketing there of electric
guitars, propelled The Ventures to a near Beatle-like status that remains intact to this day. But
perhaps the most influential of all was the group's "Play Guitar with the Ventures" series of
instructional LPs, upon which an entire generation of would-be axe-wielders cut its teeth using, if they were
lucky, brand new Ventures-model Mosrite guitars. When these musicians themselves began coming of age
during the early '80s, they provided The Ventures with an entirely fresh fan base of new wavers
and surf punkers, and the band continues to inspire and entertain legions of listeners of every age, race, creed,
and musical stripe the world over -- while continuing to outsell the Beatles two-to-one throughout the Orient.
But while their guitars may hang proudly in the Smithsonian Institution, The Ventures have yet to
be duly honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- A large number of musicians -- many of them considered to be rock and roll "superstars" -- have stated
in magazine and taped interviews that they either learned to play by listening to or were influenced by
The Ventures. A few of the more prominent include: Jeff Baxter, Lindsey Buckingham, Jimmy
Paige, Rick Derringer, John Fogerty, Stephen Stills, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, George Harrison, to name
just a few. A more comprehensive list is included in the formal petition (Attachment 1). I also encourage
you to read the comments made by some of these rock and roll "superstars" and "guitar heroes" about the
influence of The Ventures on their musical careers (Attachment 2). For example, in a
Billboard magazine article, guitar great Joe Walsh, of The James Gang and The Eagles,
acknowledged the influence of The Ventures. He was asked what he considered to be the 12 best
all-time guitar solos. Joe Walsh responded:
I don't really know if it's a solo or not, but I'd have to say that "Walk, Don't Run" by The
Ventures changed an awful lot of guitar players' lives. It was one of the foundational instrumentals.
It made instrumentals okay to do, and it led the way for things like the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," the Tornadoes'
"Telstar," and the Rockin' Teens' "Wild Weekend." It had been done before with Duane Eddy, but with
The Ventures, America discovered the vibrato bar. I didn't even play guitar at the time, but I loved
"Walk, Don't Run." I was 13 when that came out in '60, and my mom was making me practice a stupid metal
clarinet for orchestra. I borrowed a guitar just to learn how to play that lead part. A lot of people ended up
playing guitar because of that song. We used to look at their second album cover, and nobody could believe
that there was a Fender Jazzmaster and a Fender Strat and a perfect precision. Later on The
Ventures went to Mosrites, but that band and that particular song really paved the way for a whole new
approach to instrumentals, and "lead guitar" became so much more important in the song.
- Countless thousands, if not millions, of young men and women throughout the world have been
influenced by the music of The Ventures to pick up the guitar and learn to play. In fact, by virtue
of their music and their ground-breaking series of five Play Guitar with The Ventures albums
(Dolton BST-16501, BST-16502, BST-16503, BST-16504, and Liberty LST-16507), The Ventures
are often cited as "the group that launched a thousand bands." This affectionate title recognizes the fact that
countless numbers of grass-roots bands had their beginnings in the love that their members had for The
Ventures and their music. Read the personal notes included by many of the individuals who added their
names to the formal petition and you'll see concrete examples of the remarkable influence that The
Ventures have had over the years (Attachment 3). Rock and roll superstars and superstar wanna-be's
-- The Ventures influenced them all!
The Ventures have been, and continue to be, ambassadors for rock and roll music throughout the
world. For example:
- Their discography includes recordings issued on every continent except Antarctica, including such
countries as the United States, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany,
Holland, India, Iran, Italy, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. I sincerely doubt that any other recording
artists -- rock and roll or otherwise -- can make a similar claim!
- The universal appeal of The Ventures and their music isn't just a thing of the past. A quick
look at the tabulation of the enclosed petition signatures (Attachment 6) shows that they are still known and
loved by rock and roll fans on every continent (again with the exception of Antarctica). Fans in all 50 United
States, in 3 of the five United States overseas territories, and in 56 other countries in six continents have found the Internet web site that our committee has set
up and made their voices heard in support of the induction of The Ventures into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame. Read the personal notes that many of these fans added (Attachment 3) and you'll
quickly see the great esteem with which they hold The Ventures and their music. More than
anything else, the personal thoughts of these fans, all brought together -- despite national, cultural, religious,
and age differences -- by their love for The Ventures' music, testify to the fact that The
Ventures have been ambassadors taking American rock and roll to all corners of our globe and keeping
The current list of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is heavily balanced in favor of
vocal artists, who have traditionally gained the most public attention and acclaim. (In fact, I can identify only
two instrumental artists among the current inductees -- Booker T and the MGs and Duane Eddy.) However,
behind every rock and roll singer is a back-up band, and behind many of those bands is the musical influence
of The Ventures. They may not have created any of the sub-genres of rock and roll, but they took
virtually every sub-genre, transformed them into their basic instrumental elements, and then took that
instrumental music around the world and made American rock and roll the world's rock and roll. If that
doesn't deserve recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then I don't know what does!
Please consider what I've written here, from the heart, and place The Ventures on the next ballot
for inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And when that ballot comes up for a vote,
remember the musical influence, artistic and commercial success, musical versatility, and universal appeal
of The Ventures by voting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr.
P.O. Box 56
St. Thomas, VI 00804-0056
| To Cast Your Vote for The Ventures
| Attachment 1 > |
To See Petitions Already Submitted, Select From the Following Options:
| September 1997
| March 1998
| May 1998
| May 1999
| June 2000
| July 2001
| March 2004
| November 2006 |