1. HAWAII FIVE-O by Mort Stevens
This highly recognized theme song for the popular TV series Hawaii Five-O, aired from 1968 through 1980 and ungraded in 2010, was a natural addition to the musical repertoire of the most popular guitar instrumental groups of all time, The Ventures. Reaching no. 4 on the Billboard Top 100 pop chart in 1969 and gold certification in 1972 (selling 500,000 copies), The Ventures would eventually be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 for their unique and continued influence in the pop music culture.
2. PIPELINE by Brian Carman and Bob Spickard
Originally recorded by The Chantays in 1963, Pipeline shortly became the quintessential theme song of the surfing movement during the 60s and the theme song for the classic surfing movie, “Endless Summer”. As with many of the surfing genre songs, Pipeline was rerecorded (covered) by such groups as The Ventures, Agent Orange, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, and many more.
3. SURFING and SPYING by Charlotte Caffey
From a very unlikely source, Surfing and Spying was released by the The Go-Go’s as the B-Side to their hit single, Our Lips Are Sealed in 1981. Written initially as a tribute song for The Ventures, Surfing and Spying brought new appreciation for this genre of music and the group that helped establish surfing guitar music as a unique musical art form. Opening for The Go-Go’s in 1981, The Ventures eventually released their own version of this eclectic instrumental in early 80’s.
4. WIPEOUT by The Surfaris (Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, and Ron Wilson)
Featured in over twenty films and numerous videogame releases, Wipeout is easily recognized by the driving drum solo introduction originally played by The Surfaris’ drummer, Ron Wilson and was released by The Surfaris in 1963. Wipeout would also be covered by The Ventures.
5. SLEEPWALK by Santo Farina, John Farina, and Ann Farina
Affectionately referred to as an Italian-American duo from Brooklyn, NY, Santo and Johnny (Santo and Johnny Farina) released this classic instrumental ballad in 1959. What made Sleepwalk so unique was the use of the pedal steel guitar by Santo. The pedal steel guitar, normally associated with country music, became the signature sound that rocked this song to the top of the Billboard charts. In recent years, the haunting melody of Sleepwalk has been rerecorded by legendary guitarists, Chet Atkins and Leo Kottke, The Ventures, Brian Setzer, Hank Marvin (of The Shadows) and Ben Marvin, and Jon Satriani (2002).
6. PERFIDIA by Alberto Dominguez
Unlike many of the songs in this genre, the origin of Perfidia has is roots directly associated with the big band era of World War II, initially being recorded and performed by the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra and also by vocalist Julie London. In a complete change of style, Perfidia would eventually be recorded by two of the prominent surfing guitar bands of the 60’s, The Ventures and The Shadows.
7. WALK DON’T RUN by Johnny Smith
Johnny Smith by all accounts was one of the exemplary jazz guitarists of all time. Originally recorded by him in 1955 as a swing tune and later by Chet Atkins, Walk Don’t Run would inevitably be upgraded to the pop venue by The Ventures. Changing the tempo and style of composition, the recording by The Ventures would reach no. 2 on the Billboard Top 100 for a week in 1960. Walk Don’t Run remains one of the classic songs that is learned by many up and coming guitarists.
8. TELSTAR by Joe Meeks
While the Russians had launched their Sputnik satellite, the US was attempting to regain footing in the race for space by launching an orbiting communications satellite in 1962, Telstar. Capitalizing on this media event, the British instrumental group, The Tonados, released the initial recording of Telstar and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. As with many of the instrumental songs of this era, Telstar would be covered by The Champs, The Shadows, The Spotnicks, and of course, The Ventures.
9. APACHE by Jerry Lordan
An outgrowth of the surfing guitar music genre came a style of instrumental guitar music referred to as raunchy guitar. This style of music added to the whammy bar and tremolo sounds of the surfing music with a unique sound effect devise, the Echoplex. The Echoplex was a mechanical tape loop that enabled the guitarist’s sound to be multiplied over and over. In Apache, this distinctive slap back sound is created when the pick is scratched over the strings and is heard throughout the composition. Apache was originally released by The Shadows and later by The Ventures. In 1983 pop guitarist Peter Frampton joined with The Ventures for yet another rendition of this song.
10. GHOST RIDERS in the SKY by Stan Jones
Written in 1948, Ghost Riders in the Sky has been recorded and rerecorded by numerous country and pop vocalists since that time. Artists such as Johnny Cash, Debbie Harry, Tom Jones, The Blues Brothers, and even Elvis Presley have covered this classic song. Taking their lead from the songs’ popularity in various markets. the instrumental groups: The Ramrods, The Shadows, and The Ventures brought their unique instrumental styles to this song. More recently, Ghost Riders in the Sky was featured in the movie of the same name and recorded by the Australian band, Spiderbait.
11. REBAL ROUSER by Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood
If Wipeout was the signature theme of the surfing guitarists, Rebel Rouser was the model for the twangy guitarists, and Duane Eddy was their poster child. Using the tube amplifier tremolo, a standard effect on the early tube amps, the whammy bar, and the Echoplex defined this distinctive style of music that helped bridge the gap between the country and pop music. This 1958 release was covered by The Ventures and appeared in the soundtrack of Forrest Gump.
12. THE JAMES BOND THEME by Monty Norman
This signature theme for the James Bond movies, is a simple, yet highly recognizable guitar melody that can he heard in various forms in all the James Bond movies since its initial release in the first Bond film in 1962, Dr. No. Covered by The Ventures, Count Basie, John Barry, Al Caiola, and many others. The James Bond Theme is also included in Activision’s interactive Guitar Hero World Tour content.
13. TEQUILA by Chuck Rio
Who could forget the scene in the 1985 classic Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, when Pee Wee Herman (played by Paul Rubens) put on a pair white platform shoes, put a quarter in the jukebox, and jumped on the bar in this very non-friendly biker bar—dancing to the strains of Tequila played by The Champs. This great pop song was covered throughout the years by The Ventures, saxophonists Boots Randolph and David Sanborn, and numerous jazz guitarists such as Wes Montgomery and Larry Carlton.
14. BLUE VELVET by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris
Blue Velvet, associated primarily with the vocal release in 1963 by Bobby Vinton, is a timeless song of youth and first love. First recorded by Tony Bennett and later by guitarist Trini Lopez and many others, Blue Velvet was one of those songs we would slow dance to, especially during a ladies’ choice. The beautiful melodic line and classic harmonic structure (I-vi-ii-V7-I) is so representative of the music of the 60s that we elected to include our arrangement in this album. So turn down the lights, start the mirror-ball spinning, hold your partner a little too close, close your eyes, and recall those memories of this simpler time.
15. IKO IKO by The Dixie Cups
Although originally entitled Jock-A-Mo when it was written in 1953 by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, this classic New Orleans style party song would eventually be reinvented and released under the title Iko Iko by The Dixie Cups in 1965. The claim to ownership of this song would continue for almost forty years. In the end, James “Sugar Boy” Crawford a retained a small percentage of the rights and the lion’s share of the rights were given to The Dixie Cups in 2002. One of the great bands who would later record this song was The Grateful Dead. In their rendition, Jerry Gacia introduces one of his signature licks that can be heard throughout our rendition. Iko Iko would be recorded by Cyndi Lauper, The Belle Stars’, Buckwheat Zydeco, and was used in the soundtrack of the movie Mission Impossible 2 in 2000.
16. GREEN ONIONS by Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Lewis Steinberg, and Al Jackson, Jr.
The early 60s, when Green Onions was released by Booker T. and the M.G.s (Memphis Group), was a turbulent time in American history. It was a time of unchecked prejudices and racism, especially in the South—Memphis, TN was ground zero. Unknown at the time, in only a few years Memphis would erupt into national shame with the assignation of Martin Luther King, Jr. In a bold move, Hammond B3 organist—Booker T. Jones, would form one of the first interracial musical groups to be accepted in the music industry. A classic 12-bar minor blues, the basic riff of the song was originally played with the organ. As the song grew in popularity, the parts were adapted by The Ventures, Roy Buchanan, Mike Bloomfield & Al Cooper, and the lush big band of Henry Mancini.