Hilton had been part of the group since 1962 along with frontman Eric Burdon
Hilton Valentine, guitarist and founding member of rock band The Animals has died at the age of 77.
His death was confirmed by the band’s label ABKCO Music & Records on Friday. The cause of death wasn’t revealed. The company made their announcement in Twitter and gave a short tribute to accompany it.
Celebrating his life
Valentine was born in Northumberland, England, and discovered his love for music at a very young age, and played the guitar for the first time when he was 13, as shared by ABKCO in the tribute.
Fast forward to 1963 and Valentine has joined The Animals as the founding guitarist along with front man Eric Burton, Bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price and drummer John Steel.
The band delivered hits like “Don’t Bring Me Down,” and “The House of the Rising Sun,” which are songs that kicked off with Valentine’s legendary guitar intro. Valentine left the band in 1966 but had returned to join them in reunions held in 1975 and 1983, according to Rolling Stone.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of The Animals in 1944 for their valuable contribution to rock and roll music.
Valentine had been working as a solo artist over the past years while staying in Connecticut. His albums include “All in Your Head,” “It’s Folk ‘n’ Skiffle,” “Mate!” and “Skiffledog on Coburg ST.” He also joined garage bands like The Woggles and The Headless Horsemen on stage.
Our deepest sympathies go out to @HiltonValentine's family and friends on his passing this morning, at the age of 77.
A founding member and original guitarist of The Animals, Valentine was a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come. pic.twitter.com/gSUyVN0WWS
— ABKCO Music & Records (@ABKCO) January 29, 2021
His former band mate and friend Eric Burton honoured him with a tribute on social media, and wrote that he was heartbroken to hear the news. He added that the opening opus of Rising Sun is never going to sound the same.
Valentine is survived by his wife Germaine.
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