BOGLE, ROBERT LENARD (1934—2009).
A rock-and-roll guitarist and co-founder of The Ventures, Robert Lenard “Bob” Bogle was born on January 16, 1934, to Adolphus and Elvia Hutton Bogle near Wagoner, Oklahoma. The 1930s Depression-era travails led Bogle’s father to sell his farm equipment and animals and move to California. Bob Bogle, his brothers, and his father became migratory farm workers but in the mid-1940s relocated to Portland, Oregon.
Bogle learned to play guitar in his teenage years but in 1952 became a construction worker and journeyman brick mason. He kept learning guitar chords and started figuring out lead guitar lines, and in 1959 he met another worker, Don Wilson, who was also interested in guitars. They formed a band as The Versatones and played local dances. Their partnership led to the formation of the now-famous guitar-based group The Ventures in 1959. The early came to include Bogle on bass guitar, Wilson and Nokie Edwards (also an Oklahoman) on rhythm guitar, and Skip Moore on drums. In that same year they recorded a Chet Atkins cover, “Walk, Don’t Run,” which was kept out of the number one spot on the rock and roll chart by Bryan Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never.” However, “Walk, Don’t Run” forever defined the classic Ventures sound and led to their important innovations in guitar sound and technique.
The Ventures had admirable success on the singles charts in the 1960s with fourteen Top 100 singles. But their thematic LP collections drove their notoriety and numbered five gold albums. They rank sixth among all 1960s artists on the album charts. Bob Bogle is credited with recording more than 3,000 songs with The Ventures and co-wrote many of their more than one thousand original songs. He played with The Ventures on various albums through 2007. Suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he died in Vancouver, Washington, on June 14, 2009, but not before learning that The Ventures would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hugh W. Foley, Jr., Oklahoma Music Guide II (Stillwater, Okla: New Forums Press, 2013).
Dennis McLellan, “Bob Bogle was Ventures co-founder, guitarist,” Los Angeles Times, 19 June 2009.
The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Hugh Foley, Jr., “Bogle, Robert Lenard,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=BO036.
© Oklahoma Historical Society.