1960 The Ventures – Perfidia
Alberto Domínguez, a Mexican singer/songwriter, wrote a song about love and betrayal that he called Perfidia in 1939. The song had Spanish lyrics, so while it may have been popular in Mexico, it could not get much airplay in the US.
Desi Arnez sang the song in Spanish in the 1941 film Father Takes a Wife. Instrumental versions of the song charted in the US in 1941 by an impressive list of artists, including Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy Dorsey. The most successful version came from Xavier Cugat; that record peaked at #3 on the Billboard singles chart.
Milton Leeds wrote English lyrics to the song that were used in a recording by the Four Aces in 1952. Their single peaked at #7.
In 1958, Bob Bogle went to a local car dealership in Seattle in search of a used car. There, he met Don Wilson, whose father owned the dealership. The two shared an interest in music, so they bought two guitars for $10 each from a local pawnshop. They called themselves The Versatones, and began playing at parties and small clubs in the area. They were forced to change their name when they discovered another group already had that name, and Don’s mother suggested they call themselves The Ventures. They recorded their first single with drummer George T. Babbitt, Jr. The a-side was The Real McCoy (which included voiceovers that sounded like Walter Brennan) and the b-side was Cookies And Coke, which included vocals! Sales were negligable.
Nokie Edwards joined the group after they heard him playing bass at a local nightclub, and George left the group because he wasn’t old enough to play in bars.
Bob had a copy of the Chet Atkins album Hi-Fi in Focus that included his version of the 1954 Jimmy Smith instrumental Walk, Don’t Run. The trio recruited drummer Skip Moore to play drums on a recording with them and recorded their version of Chet’s arrangement. Skip turned down the chance to join the group or accept royalties for the recording and took a $25 payment as a session musician instead. The single was released in 1959 and peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 1960. Howie Johnson then joined the group as their drummer for the next few years.
The group’s second single was a cover of Perfidia that turned out to be very similar to Walk, Don’t Run. The single reached #15 on the Hot 100 in late 1960.
The group’s only other top ten hits were the remake Walk Don’t Run ’64 and the theme song for the television show Hawaii Five-O in 1969. Fortunately, their instrumental albums sold extremely well through the sixties.
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