Nokie Edwards, Guitarist on ‘Hawaii Five-O’ Theme, Dies at 82

Edwards was one of the leading surf rock guitar players

Nokie Edwards

Surf rocker and The Ventures guitarist Nokie Edwards died Monday. He was 82.

Edwards was best known for his work as the bassist on the iconic “Hawaii Five-O” theme song and his decades in the music industry earn him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“Nokie Edwards passed away today after several months battling an infection after hip surgery this past December,” the Ventures said in a statement on their official website. “The Ventures family feels this loss very deeply: Nokie has been part of the Ventures’ history for almost six 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.”

Edwards was born in Lahoma, Oklahoma and had Cherokee heritage. He then moved to Washington and joined forces with Bob Bogle and Don Wilson to play with The Ventures.

The Ventures’ biggest hit was “Walk Don’t Run” in 1960. They went on to release their instrumental album “Hawaii Five-O” in 1968, which featured the theme song for the cult CBS cop series starring Jack Lord.

Edwards also composed the song “Ginza Lights (Futari No Ginza),” which was the band’s first hit 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,” the band’s statement concluded.