Nokie Edwards, the lead guitarist of The Ventures who helped define surf rock and earned the group a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 82 on Monday, 12 March 2018.
Manager Fiona Taylor said that Edwards, fell and injured his hip on Christmas, died after suffering an infection following hip surgery in December.
Nokie Edwards, 'The Ventures' Rock Band's Lead Guitarist, Dead at Age 82
Regarding the death of the legendary musician, a statement on the band's website reads,
We have been advised this morning that Nokie Edwards passed away today after several months battling an infection after hip surgery this past December. The Ventures family feels this loss very deeply: Nokie has been part of the Ventures’ history for almost 6 decades and helped to shape the early Ventures’ sound and the success of their career.
He was an innovator and one of the greats on guitar, so much so that he influenced many young players over the course of 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 of the first of 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.
Nokie Edwards played bass on the popular 1960 surf-rock rendition of Walk, Don’t Run before he switched to guitar. Walk, Don’t Run reached No. 2 on the charts, selling 2 million copies. The band, which was formed in Washington state in 1958, also performed the theme to the television series Hawaii Five-O.
The Ventures are mainly popular in Japan and the band said in the statement that Edwards-penned song Ginza Lights was one of their first hits in the country.
According to their website, the band last toured in 2016, scheduling nearly three dozen performances in Japan.