Petition to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Cover Letter to the Formal Petition
Submitted on March 15, 1998

The Ventures Hall of Fame Induction Committee
c/o P.O. Box 56
St. Thomas, VI 00804-0056

March 15, 1998

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
c/o Ms. Susan Evans
1290 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10104

Dear Foundation Members:

On September 15, 1997, I submitted to you, on behalf of The Ventures' fans around the world, a petition for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Attached to my cover letter were (1) a copy of the formal petition, including sheets containing the names of 586 individuals who supported the induction of The Ventures; (2) a list of The Ventures' international discography, which contained an amazing 699 entries; and (3) a list of The Ventures' 14 Billboard Top Hit Singles and 37 Billboard Top Hit Albums. Because I did not receive confirmation (via postal return receipt) that you received that package, I have taken the liberty of enclosing a photocopy of the original submission.

Further, it is my pleasure to submit a second petition package, this one containing 816 additional names of individuals who support the induction of The Ventures (Attachment 1). In my cover letter of September 15, 1997, I presented a rather detailed personal perspective of why I believe that The Ventures deserve to be a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In that letter, I presented four main justifications for the induction of The Ventures:

  • Musical Versatility. The musical history of The Ventures is a history of rock n' roll music and of popular music in general. They were, and continue to be, able to adapt their unique guitar sound to anything from classic 50s and 60s rock to surf rock, to "British Invasion" rock, to hard rock, to soul, to disco, to classical music, to the '40s big band sound, to country and folk music, to latin and reggae music, to Japanese pop. I sincerely doubt there is another musical group of any time period or of any country that has demonstrated, over and over again, this remarkable musical versatility. (Attachment 2 is a printout of a page from my personal Internet web site that outlines The Ventures' history in music.)

  • Universal Appeal. The Ventures have been, and continue to be, ambassadors of American rock n' roll music throughout the world. Their discography (which has grown to 731 entries since September 15, 1997) includes recordings issued on every continent except Antarctica, covering no less than 24 countries. Additionally, the fans who have submitted their names in support of the petition for The Ventures' induction live in 49 of the 50 United States and 28 countries representing every continent except Antarctica (Attachment 1). This demonstrates that The Ventures and their music are still known and loved throughout the world. Again, I doubt that another musical group of any time period or of any country can make a similar claim.

  • Artistic and Commercial Success. During their 38 years of existence (1960 to 1998), The Ventures have never stopped recording or playing concerts to appreciative audiences. (As I write this, The Ventures are in the middle of a U.S. East Coast concert tour that was scheduled in response to popular demand!) Joel Whitburn's authoritative reference books "Billboard Top Pop Singles 1955-1993" and "Billboard Top Pop Singles 1955-1996" rank The Ventures 4th among all-time instrumental artists on the Billboard Top Singles charts, 6th among all 1960s recording artists and 26th among all-time recording artists on the Billboard Top Singles charts. The Ventures' record sales over the past 38 years tops 100 million units worldwide, and still growing. Although they have not yet been honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Ventures have been inducted into the Japanese Conservatory of Music, the Washington State Music Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Rock Walk. They were also honored by the Smithsonian Institute and Fender Guitars for their pioneering role in the development and popularization of the electric guitar and, most recently, by an invitation from the United States Air Force Band to participate in the Band's "Guest Artist Concert" series in the Nation's capital on March 1, 1998.

  • Musical Influence. Many of the rock "super stars" who have followed them, including some who are already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, have publicly cited The Ventures as having been influential in their early musical careers (Attachment 3). Through their series of five "Play Guitar with The Ventures" instructional records, The Ventures have also been the catalyst that inspired many thousands of young men and women around the world to pick up the electric guitar or drums, leading to the formation of countless "garage bands," many of which continued on to become professional musicians in local, national, and international markets. To deny the influence of The Ventures is to deny the existence of the electric guitar and the guitar-based rock band.

But, rather than continue to give my personal views, I would like to quote some of the many hundreds of letters that fans of The Ventures' have submitted in support of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The first letter, from fellow Ventures Internet "web master" Paul Moraga, sets the tone for the ones that follow.

Paul Moraga, California: I maintain a Ventures web site on the Internet called Virtual Ventures. In the 8 months that my site has been in existence, I have received hundreds of e-mail messages from all over the world and from every continent from fans of this influential group. I receive e-mail from places that I didn't even know were exposed to rock and roll. Even today I am occasionally surprised when I receive an e-mail from some distant corner of the globe - often I need to consult a map to find out where a person is writing from (know off-hand where the Maldive Islands are?). Remarkably, the letters are similar - people talk of their fond memories of first hearing The Ventures' rockin' guitars. They talk of treasuring their worn-from-too-many-plays Ventures albums. They talk of being influenced by The Ventures to pick up a guitar on their own. This wide-spread appeal, across national, linguistic, ethnic and generational boundaries is what makes me consider The Ventures to be a truly great group. They have spread the American art of rock and roll in their unique way across the world and they deserve to be recognized for their work.

Vanessa Aponte, Puerto Rico: My dad introduced me to The Ventures when I was a little girl. I grew up with them! I can still remember how I used to jump all over the house with Mariner No.4! I think they deserve credit for all the magic and beautiful way they shaped their songs and inspired some of us who are way far away from the Venture's homeland (Caribbean) and still managed to enjoy and follow their footsteps.

Dennis L. Cody, Texas: I have been a steadfast Ventures fan since their very first hit single,"Walk Don't Run". The Ventures' unique instrumental style is performed by men who project genuine feeling into the music they play. These guys believe in what they do and have been touching the lives of countless fans for over 36 years.

Dr. John Paul Judson, Malaysia: The Ventures were the first (and perhaps the only) group who have made an eternal impression on me. In fact, till today, I have been interested primarily only in instrumental music and that is largely due to the Ventures melodies I had listened to when I was a kid. In spite of my mother being an LTCL pianist, I was urged into becoming a guitarist solely by the inspiration of the Ventures. While many artists of yesteryears have been long forgotten, the Ventures still live on in the hearts and minds of millions of fans like me. The very fact that almost all their albums are being re-released by CD companies stands testimony to the fact.

Doug W Smith, Canada: The Ventures music represents a history of rock and roll. The Ventures recorded instrumental versions of rock songs. Songs from the late 50's up to the mid 70's. Along with their own hits, listening to The Ventures instrumental versions of classic rock tells the tale of rock's development.

Tommy Seesselberg, New Jersey: I made a good living playing drums in rock and roll bands for over 25 year until a drunk driver took the power to play from me because of an accident that crippled me in 1992. But I've got to say that the Ventures were mine and many of my peers' inspiration to get in this line of work . Through the years I've had the luck of meeting many famous drummers , Ringo, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, etc. BUT when I got the chance to meet MEL TAYLOR ,I can't explain how I felt. It was like a baseball nut meeting BABE RUTH. MEL was the warmest nicest person I ever met.

Rich Routt, Ohio: When I first put my hands on a Ventures record it gave me chills! It's hard to imagine that a group has influenced me in such a way, and after all only being 19 years old I can say that's how much they influenced me. When I first heard "Walk Don't Run" I could not stop listening to it. It was the first song I learned to play. So as you can see The Ventures deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because this band has proven what hard work can do!

James Clifton Sparks, Texas: I am another longtime Ventures fan who first heard Walk, Don't Run when it hit the charts. I was ten. It struck some chord in my being that vibrates to this day. They turned me on to rock music. The Ventures were the first group I sought out at record shops. When I got my first guitar, I learned from Play Guitar with The Ventures. Over the years I collected many of their works, which I play more often than any other artists.

One of the things they did to move rock & pop instrumental music was to take a clean, uncluttered concept of essential musical structures, and weld their own melodies and their interpretations of the hits of the times into it with a purity of musicianship that has rarely been equaled. Just as "brevity is the soul of wit", their particular music genre has been successful because of the singular purity of style coupled with a brevity of tune length. This concept tells an aural story with perfect simplicity and elegant grace in each of their works that "made it" in the sense of punch and beauty, whether a particular melody caught fire on the charts, or stayed a smoldering "sleeper" favorite.

Another thing that sets the Ventures apart is that they haven't just "covered" the hits of others: they made them their own, so that many of their version have outshone the originals because of the uniqueness of the presentation. Of course, the commercially-oriented shrewdness and aggressiveness of their tunemanship has made them a business success rivaled only by a few, mostly pop vocalists, because they've never rested on their laurels, and also weren't afraid to venture out of the United States at a time when other musicians were flocking to America.

I only saw them live in public once, during a Fourth of July concert in Austin, Texas, in the late '80s. They got people out from under their shade trees and had us dancing by the dozens in front of the stage. They played several of their most famous songs, including Hawaii Five-O and Telstar, then asked the audience whether they wanted to hear surf music or country music. Surfers ruled, and they played a 2 hour set of incredible sounds without a missed note. The temperature was a hundred degrees. They could have played another 2 hours of their classic instrumentals without repeating a tune, and everybody knew it. They played a couple of amazing encores, and left us all roaring with genuine delight.

The VENTURES deserve an honored place in the Hall of Fame. After all, they inspired many who are already there. The VENTURES are All-American music pioneers, who also had the foresight to act as music ambassadors to Japan, Australia, and several other nations.

Norman Knowles, California: I have been the sax player for many groups over the years. The groups all included many artists that were influenced by the Ventures records. Some of the groups I worked with in the sixties and still do are The Revels, The Centurians, The Impacts, The Tornadoes, The Sentinals. Some members of these groups went on to record with The Turtles, Jefferson Starship, Three Dog Night, and many others.

Mark Rahman, Texas: In 1965, I was a young teenager in a faraway country named East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Those were the worst of times -- civil war, typhoons, political turmoil, war, those were every day things. Amongst all of these, the electrifying sounds of a musical group from a country called America -- a place I only dreamed of, brought happiness to me and all of my friends. Ever since I came to this country in 1979, collecting the Ventures records have been an obsession. I have gone to three of their concerts. I have an album autographed by them which I cherish dearly. I know I am not the only one who feels that way.

James M. Park, Minnesota: The Ventures totally captured my imagination (as well as my ears) as a young teenager. That was 35 years ago. To know that they are still playing, still recording, still motivating people to enjoy their disciplined, yet joyous approach to music is something I find inspiring. I've picked up my guitar again, and now my son wants to do the same. Soon I'll have a new partner to help me through "Walk Don't Run" and "Pipeline".

John A. Thomas, Florida: As a teenager in the mid-to-late sixties, I found the lyrics of many hits to be incomprehensible, or even worse, reprehensible. And yet, I was able to fully participate in the music of my generation through the recordings of The Ventures. Further, this was music I could share with my parents who, freed from the misconceptions associated with popular bands, were able to appreciate and understand our generation's music. Even more, my father was somewhat of an audiophile, and passed that understanding and appreciation on to me. We both enjoyed The Ventures very much on a technical level. Their arrangements were unmatched for brightness, clarity, and sheer stereo enjoyment. The inclusion of The Ventures in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is merely an overt acknowledgment of an already established fact: The Ventures are already Hall-of-Famers in every sense of the word.

Kevin Lee Roy Howard, California: The Ventures rock! The "Ventures in Space" album was an early breakthrough in the creative use of multi-track recording. I am both a musician and a sound engineer, and the Ventures have continued to be a huge influence on me and my work over the years.

Danny Darling, address not given: Yes, The Ventures are the Original American Band. They deserve a special place in the Rock Hall of Fame. I am a professional drummer and if it hadn't been for the late Mel Taylor, I don't think I would be playing today. Myself, I have toured with Leon Russell, Joe Ely, Jimmy dale Gilmore, Buddy Knox, Jay Boy Adams, Lari White, Rick Vito, and others. To this day I still play with the surf sound no matter what kind of music I play.

Wilson Pierre Lopes, Brasil: I was born in 1950 and knew the Ventures in the early 60s. I formed an instrumental group with my friends because of the Ventures and until now I'm still buying their CDs.

Bo Taavo, Sweden: Of course you got to join the Ventures in the Hall of Fame. The influence of this group to young people all over the world to play guitar music is enormous. My son (15 years old) has listened to my old Ventures records and his band is now learning to play "Ventures" instead of punk-rock.

Carl Gregory, Texas: I was inspired to play both guitar and drums by the Ventures. The guitar class I started in 1961 was built around playing Ventures tunes. They were not alone, of course, but really, their induction is overdue. Did they do covers? -- so what did Elvis write? Did they play "suburban surf music"? -- two words "Beach Boys". There are lots of genres in Rock and Roll, and in pop surf music, the Ventures are part of the foundation. And then they transcended the genre and laid the foundations for much of the Japanese music of the last twenty years, which along with Japanese animation is a cornerstone of the electronic culture. Elvis is not Hendrix, and the Beatles are not James Brown, but they are all part of the history of Rock and Roll. And none of them are the Ventures.

Hideki Soeda, Japan: The Ventures are the number one of the Rock & Roll Instrumental groups in the world. They have influenced many musicians not only in Japan but in the world. Since their first Japan tour in 1962 (at that time, Don Wilson and Bob Bogle only visited Japan, though), their popularity in Japan has been growing and they are still influential to many young people who start to listen to Rock & Roll music and musical instruments. To be frank, their popularity in Japan is much bigger than The Beatles.

William F. Hudson, Ph.D., Indiana: At a very early age I was exposed to all the greats - Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, The Ventures. Because of musicians of this caliber, I had the drive to pursue the guitar as my main instrument. I am 49 years young and one of the former Pharoah's ("Sam The Sham" and the). I grew up with the Ventures - one of my biggest thrills was meeting Nokie at a gig in Greenville, Mississippi. The Ventures helped make GUITAR the premier rock instrument - PERIOD.

Ruben T. Umali, Texas: I learned to play the guitar in 1962 following Bob Bogle of the Ventures' classic playing of Walk Don't Run, Bulldog and Rawhide. I have a 26-year old son who plays in a rock band. He likewise started basics of guitar playing by learning Ventures' tunes.

Tatsuya Fukushima, Oklahoma: I am appalled to learn that the Ventures, the greatest instrumental rock band of all times, have not been inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. They are truly the first Americans to communicate fluently with Japanese people, so fluently that they needed no lyrics to get their messages across. In Japan, the Ventures records sold twice as much in 1960s as the ones by the Beatles. Reason is simple: the Beatles needed English to communicate, the Ventures needed only music. I have been a Ventures fan since my birth. I don't remember the first time I listened to the Ventures, but I vividly recall that the Ventures then communicated with me, a pre-language toddler. "THIS IS GREAT!!" was exactly the feeling I got through the Ventures music. Native speakers of English may consider lyrics to be important for induction, but music communicates far more fluently than words. The Ventures, the greatest instrumental rock band, certainly deserve recognition with distinct honor.

Neilor Fermino Camargo, Brasil: I've been listening to "The Ventures" since 1963. In 1965 I was 15 years old, and with a group of friends used to play "The Ventures" music in parties. My home town is Uniao da Vitoria state of Parana-BRAZIL. We all love "The Ventures".

Yuki Takatori, Georgia: As a die-hard Ventures fan from Japan, I have no reservation to say that the advent of the Ventures in Japan made such a tremendous impact upon the teenagers of the '60s that it can be compared, in the Japanese pop world, to the arrival of Commodore Perry's Black Ship. The music of the Ventures became not only an object of admiration but a 'textbook' as well. Electric guitar bands sprang up across the country for the first time and young people looked with disdain upon the older generations who shied away from any musical instruments at all. It is impossible to talk about Japanese pop music without influence from the Ventures.

Von Ehman, West Virginia: In my mind, from a historical perspective: "The Ventures" were the first band to bring the electric guitar to center stage in popular music. Don Wilson, Bob Bogle and Nokie Edwards set the stage for what was to come. The Ventures were the first band to popularize the electric guitar on a mass level. This was before the Jimi Hendrix/English blues invasion. I don't know of any guitar player in the 60's who wasn't in some way affected and/or inspired by "The Ventures." Every semi-serious to serious guitar wanna be loved the Ventures. We'd all go the local music store and check out the Mosrite and Fender guitars, hoping some day we could get one and play like Nokie, Bob and Don. They provided us with that dream. Nokie Edwards was a technical as well as a creative genius. He was one of my very lead favorite players, if not one of the best guitarist I've ever heard.

Admittedly the Beatles were my favorite song writing band and Jimi Hendrix was my favorite guitarist, on a creative level. I admit, I prefer music with vocals, harmonies and a message. But, the Ventures literally taught me how to play the guitar. A lot of their earlier work was simple and the absence of vocals in their work made it easy for a young person to concentrate on learning how to play the guitar. I have several of their albums that I still listen to, to this day. One being the live one they did in the USA, England and Japan. It's on my top 10, of all time guitar masterpieces. A must listen for any serious player.

Unknown to many "The Ventures" were very accomplished musicians and could play anything: from classical to country to rock to Glenn Miller. They could do more than just play "Hawaii 5 0" and "Walk Don't Run," the songs that most of us are most familiar with. To this day I still consider them the best 4-piece, guitar based, instrumental band that I have ever heard. The kids playing today's "pop" and "alternative" could learn a few things from the Ventures. One being, how to play the guitar. The Ventures deserve being in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

I am a 45 [year old] native of Charleston, WV and have been playing guitar since I was 16 years old. I am and have been a professional musician and artist most of my adult life. Though I've never been blessed (or maybe damned) with having a real career I have written, arranged, produced and recorded five albums in the last three years, on my own label, Ehman Records.

Charles E. Scheiderich, New York: The Ventures certainly have shown that they are truly musicians of the times, having contributed to to all of the various types of music. They have also demonstrated that music is the universal language of the human race.

Richard Wilson, Canada: The Ventures have made a substantial contribution to the development and enjoyment of rock and roll music in a number of ways, as follows: (1) their continuity, which spans 4 decades, is a testament to the universal popularity of their unique style and music; (2) they have been a positive influence on guitarists and drummers, young and old, around the world; (3) they have been exemplary ambassadors of American rock/pop instumental music, and continue in this role today. Please recognize a legendary band that has made a genuine contribution in making rock and roll music accessible to musicians and fans around the world. They most certainly have earned it.

John W. Welsch, Arizona: In the 1960's, while still a teenager, I acquired an electric guitar and began teaching myself to play it. Since none of my friends, parents or siblings played guitar, it was a rough and rocky road to say the least! Then I found my first "Play Guitar With The Ventures" album, and I was off to the races. Walk, Don't Run, Pipeline, Surf Rider, Perfidia, Lullaby of the Leaves and countless others became part of my repertoire, and I quickly became part of a local "Garage Band" that lead me to countless hours of creative pleasure playing everything from "Surf" tunes to The Beatles. Now, at the age of 45, I continue to play rock guitar, and I'm proud to say, I have my three sons playing guitar with me. All three (ages 9, 11, and 15) listen to, play and LOVE The Ventures and their unique flavor of clean, pure instrumental rock and roll. In closing, I would like to reiterate my request to please honor this fine group of musicians that have continued to give not only our country, but the world, so much pleasure. Walk, Don't Run, to the Hall of Fame and enshrine my family's favorite band in remembrance of their huge contributions to the Rock and Roll community today!

Jim Meador, California: To leave the Ventures out of the music Hall of Fame is like Baseball's Hall of Fame leaving out Mickey Mangle. The Ventures influenced countless guitar players around the world as well as becoming a commercial success. Where many Hall [of Fame] inductees have vanished, the Ventures continue to perform, and "how they can perform!"

Samuel Lee Duck, New York: The Ventures are not only American Icons of Rock and Roll, but have brought our music and culture to Europe and Asia. They have promoted and spread not only their music but the music of many other artists to millions that might not have listened because instrumental music does not require that you understand English. This coupled with the fact of their talent and legions of fans should assure them a honored place with their peers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Roberto Lagos Jr, Uruguay: I'm from Uruguay, Sud America. We love the Ventures and they are the best band in the world, except for the Shadows. I'm 20 years old and I play in a rock band and we play like the greatest Ventures.

Christopher Wells Eaton Slitor, Maryland: The Ventures have a remarkable legacy of achievement in their creation of the instrumental "surf sound" in rock music. They were a major impetus for a revival of this sound in the 80's. I have known various local musicians in the Washington, DC area who cited the Ventures as a major creative influence. The Ventures are still active and still creating good music.

Peter Leon Guerrero, Washington: The first time I heard the Ventures, I was about 13yrs. old and it was such an inspiration for me and so many of my friends as well. I have taken my kids to a Ventures Concert in Seattle several yrs. ago and they loved it!!!! So for 2 generation The Ventures have been in my family. And if I can till the day I die... My Grandchildren will have the pleasure of listening to the Ventures.

Don Overton, California: As a personal note, I spent most of my teen life in far away places since my father was in the military. It didn't matter where I was (Phillippines, Okinawa, Japan, Guam, or Germany), I could always count on their music to be a part of the teen scene, whether it be the American community or the local. Many fond memories surface every time I listen to one of their songs.

Kelly Sites. Washington: I'm only 17 but I love the Ventures!

Stephen William Gill, California: The Ventures got me interested in music and off the streets. I learned to play guitar with their "Play Guitar with the Ventures" series and am in the process of teaching my son to play using their unique teaching method. I'm sure that if you conducted a survey, you would find that a large number of the musicians already inducted were influenced to varying degrees by The Ventures.

Buddy Taylor, Kansas: In my opinion The Ventures were and are the greatest instrumental group to come on the music scene ever! I've grown up listening to The Ventures and my children are now enjoying them. They come home on college vacation and hunt either my LPs, tapes, or CDs of The Ventures and put them on.

Abdullah Arshad, Malaysia: I have been listening to the Ventures since the 60s. I formed a band during that period with school mates. Other bands were playing the Shadows in their performances. We played the Ventures. I love their style. I was on the lead guitar. I remember playing Pipeline, Walk Don't Run, Lonely Bull and the rest. We did quite well. The Ventures are so different and so down to earth and so raw, no gimmicks such as the echo chamber to help them. Theirs is just plain guitar sound and they are so good. they should be in the Hall of Fame.

Glen Nunes, Massachusetts: The importance of the Ventures in the history of Rock and Roll is difficult to dismiss, not only in terms of number of hits or chart performance, which are impressive, or longevity and sustained creative output (again, impressive), but also in terms of their influence on guitarists worldwide. If the guitar is the instrument most commonly associated with Rock and Roll, then surely the Ventures are "the" guitar band.

Wes Cox, address not given: The Ventures made a profound impact on Rock and Roll, and their influence is extremely strong on many of today's musicians. Their success in the early 60's was phenomenal, and though sometimes ignored, they put a ripple and left a mark, a deep one, on the music of the second half of the 20th century.

Brett Richard Chloupek, Nebraska: I am only fourteen years old, but I have loved the Ventures for a long time. Please induct them into the R&R hall of fame, they deserve it. They are by far the best instrumental group of all time.

Loren Armstrong, Kentucky: I started my own Rock and Roll band while in High School in 1964. We went on to play for Senior Balls, Junior Proms, School and teen club functions, and even MAIN STREET dances under the stop light in various parts of Alaska for the next few years. While in college I worked for American Music Company of Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington. During and since that time I have taught many hundreds of kids how to play guitar. Most of them learned Rock and Roll by learning VENTURES SONGS. They WERE and STILL ARE the BEST ROCK AND ROLL GROUP OF ALL TIME!

Thomas R. Nitzsche, Ohio: I am 33 years old and have been listening to the Ventures for 33 years. My father was the one who introduced me to the Ventures music and since that time The Ventures have played a very influential role in my life. I have played drums since I was 4 years old and loved to play my drums to Venture songs. As my drumming progressed through the years, I learned to have a style all my own. I owe that to Mel Taylor. I love to listen to Mel Taylor play the drums. He was probably the #1 Influence for me to continue playing the drums. Even today I attribute a lot of my influence to the Ventures. When a group like the Ventures can influence and inspire people, that is a band that others need to sit up and take notice of. The Ventures still continue today to affect the lives of people all over the globe.

Chris Witcher, United Kingdom: I have the original single of "Walk Don't Run" given to me by a friend in 1960 after I had, with subsequent regret, purchased the UK cover version by the John Barry Seven. After that, I was 'hooked' and have since bought many of their records and CDs. There is no doubt that their contribution to the music scene over the last 38 years is second to very few. Their 'sound' is quite unmistakable, as played by the Lively Ones during the credits of "Pulp Fiction." Apart from perhaps The Beatles, Elvis and Frank Sinatra, I doubt if anyone has created such a distinctive sound.

Robert Weiss, Iowa: After all these years of preforming, the Ventures are still picking up more and more fans. I am 16 years old and have been listening to the Ventures for over 2 years. Listening to their songs and learning how to play them myself has increased my guitar playing ability greatly. The Ventures led the way for what rock bands are today with their great lead and rhythm section.

Franklin E. Bautista, Virginia: I am originally from Bolivia, South America. The first rock and roll band that I know was the Ventures. I enjoy so much, that during all these years I enjoyed their music. When I moved to the USA, I started collecting their records, after that the CDs. And finally after many years I was in a live concert here in Washington DC. This is the only rock group that still has same members and playing same music. Back in South America, we never have the opportunity to be in a live rock concert with an American Rock Group. After 15 years of becoming a fan of the Ventures, they came to play in Washington DC. That was an experience that I dream for years. This group is the best in the world, to make rock international. Any part of this world they know about the Ventures, they don't need to speak the language, they enjoy the music!! The Ventures still are my favorite rock group and the members still nice people that after the concert come out and talk with the fans.

James E. Carroll, Minnesota: The Ventures are an integral part of the soundtrack of the '60's in Southern California, which, in my considered opinion, was the Nexus of the rock and roll movement. To exclude them from a listing of historically and musicologically significant influences is to present an incomplete history of this social and cultural phenomenon, and would sorely detract from the credibility of the Hall [of Fame].

Larry Alan Hendrickson, Texas: I believe the Ventures should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because their popularity and influence have continued strong through four decades, far, far longer than many of the groups who are in the Hall. The Ventures have inspired more than two generations of guitarists. With the clear, clean sound they maintained through the sixties and seventies, they exposed the limitations of less talented musicians who rely on special effects to impress audiences.

Enrique A. Thiele Solivan, Puerto Rico: They have provided inspiration to many rock groups in Puerto Rico and, at least in my family, fans from two generations.

Hank Unck, Arizona: No other group has defined instrumental rock as definitively as The Ventures. Their influence was so strong on budding guitar players of the 60's that they almost singlehandedly blew the electric guitar industry wide open. I remember the first time I heard The Ventures. It was as if an electric shock went through my being. The electricity and excitement made me beg my parents for my first electric guitar, a Sears Silvertone. Now 34 years later (I'm 50) I'm still playing guitar, and although I'm heavily into Blues now, whenever I return to the comfort of my roots it's by playing Walk Don't Run, or any number of other Ventures covers and originals.

The Ventures may not always have been the most original group around, but they are in that rarefied league of those very few groups that had an enormous impact on the lives of people. Play a Ventures hit and you'll see smiles, toe tapping and head bobbing, and a trip back to great fun and innocence. The Ventures helped shape a whole generation of musicians and listeners.

Scott C. Tomlinson, Georgia: Without The Ventures' wonderful and unique style of instrumental rock and roll, I would never have learned to play the guitar (and electric bass) at all. I know that there were hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of guys and gals like me who learned their first licks from practicing to Ventures' records until we learned to get it right. The overwhelming majority of us didn't go on to become John Fogerty (not even close!), but we listened, we learned, and we enjoyed. For that reason alone, they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, but there's more. Take two minutes and listen - really listen - to "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue". That Ventures' song is as much the very essence of rock as the Stones' "Honky Tonk Women", or any other great and influential tune you can name. Any group that can do a song like that BELONGS in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, especially a group that's STILL DOING IT thirty five years after "Slaughter"! 'Nuff said!

Clifford Gene Meloy, Wyoming: How can a R&R Hall of Fame have any credibility if the Ventures are not in it? I am shocked to learn that they are not. Their records were great. Their record sales were impressive. Their influence on guitar players was staggering. You must realize that the Ventures were primarily an album group. Don't just look at the singles chart record. Look at the album sales record. Listen to The Ventures in Space album from '63 and see why psychedelic groups credit them as an influence. The Ventures focused on album projects more than singles long before the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds in '66) and the Beatles (Sgt. Pepper in '67) made it fashionable. From almost any perspective the Ventures are an early and important link in the development of r&r music.

Rich Goodwin, Arizona: The Ventures is the best guitar band of all time. I grew up listening to the Ventures and learned how to play the guitar by their albums. My son who is now 12 years old is also a big fan and is learning to play the guitar because of the Ventures.

These letters, and many hundreds more, from fans of The Ventures have several common threads:

  • They show that The Ventures brought, and continue to bring, sheer musical enjoyment to those who have taken the time to listen to their music.

  • They show that The Ventures had, and continue to have, universal appeal across geographic, ethnic, and generational boundaries.

  • They show that The Ventures were, and continue to be, an important influence in the decision of fans to take up music (and specifically the electric guitar and drums), either as a career or as a hobby.

  • And they show that The Ventures have a loyal fan base around the world who believe that they are clearly deserving of the recognition that induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would bring.

In closing, I would like to quote on last fan letter, which sums everything up quite nicely, and in only 16 words:

Lasse Juhani Iinainen, Finland: If The Ventures aren't eligible for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, then who is?

Therefore, on behalf of The Ventures' fans from across the United States, Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Australia and Guam, and even Africa, I respectfully urge you to do the right thing and induct The Ventures into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before the year 2000 -- their 40th Anniversary of making beautiful and timeless music!


Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr.
Committee Co-Chairman

P.O. Box 56
St. Thomas, VI 00804-0056



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Last Updated: January 1, 2003