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Biography

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Overview (1)

Date of Birth 10 February 1933Tacoma, Washington, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Don Lee Wilson was born in Tacoma, Washington on February 10, 1933. The family heritage is mixed -- his mother, Josie, was first generation Swedish, while his father was of Welsh and Irish extraction. Don's early interest in music started with the big band sound and country and western music. When he was about 12 years old, his mother showed him a few chords on the tipple (a 10-stringed instrument, tuned like a ukelele) which she knew how to play. When compared with a guitar, the tipple would be equivalent to a 12-string. Don always liked listening to the GIenn Miller Orchestra, but his idol was Tommy Dorsey because he enjoyed his mellow trombone sound. This inspired Don to take trombone lessons. Don even played when he went into the Army -- in the 169th Infantry, he played with the regimental band in Germany, where he was stationed for 19 months. During this time, he had an army buddy who had previously played guitar, from whom Don learned some more guitar chords. On his return home from the army, Don went to work as a car salesman and, after meeting Bob Bogle, to whom he sold a car, they found they had a mutual interest in playing guitar, even though they only knew a few chords between them. After advancing their knowledge of chords and basic guitar playing, they bought two new Fender guitars and began playing club dates at night, while continuing to work during the day. With the help of Don's mother, Don and Bob made a recording on their own record label, Blue Horizon, which was released locally in the Seattle/Tacoma area. They had heard a song called Walk, Don't Run played by Chet Atkins and, using their own arrangement, they came up with the basis for what was later identified as The Ventures' sound. The tune started to get air play, and was then picked up for nationwide release by Dolton Records. Shortly thereafter, Walk Don't Run became the #2 record in the country, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The Ventures were on their way to becoming the world's largest selling instrumental group of all time. Their popularity in Japan was such that, during the Beatles heydey in the 60s, The Ventures outsold them two-to-one.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Staci Wilson

Spouse (1)

Buni Bacon (1963 - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (4)

Father-in-law of cinematographer Enzo Giobbe.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 1500 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Father of Staci Layne Wilson.
Original member of the instrumental rock-and-roll group The Ventures.

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