Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine, who created one of the world’s most popular pop music venues in the 1960s, has died at the age of 77.
Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine was an English skiffle and rock and roll musician who was the original guitarist in The Animals. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and into Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame in 2001 with the other members of The Animals.
‘Pioneer Guitar Player’
The British band’s version of blues standard The House of The Rising Sun topped the UK and US charts in 1964.
Animal’s record label ABKCO Music has described Valentine as “pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come”.
The North Shields-born Valentine died on Friday, ABKCO tweeted.
Valentine founded the Animals in Newcastle in 1963 alongside singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, Alan Price and drummer John Steel.
The group also received six other top hits in the UK, including Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and We Gotta Get Out of This Place.
Valentine left The Animals working alone after the real team was split in 1966, but continued to participate in reunions and traveled with Burdon in 2007.
Based in Connecticut in recent years, he has also released music with his band Skiffledog.
Burdon paid tribute to Valentine on Instagram, writing: “The opening opus of Rising Sun will never sound the same! You didn’t just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken by the sudden news of Hilton’s passing.
“We had a great time together, Geordie boy. From North Shields to the whole world … Rock In Peace.”
The critic Colin Larkin summed up the dramatic impact of The House Of The Rising Sun in his Virgin Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, writing that the combination of Valentine’s “now legendary but simplistic guitar introduction”, Price’s organ playing and Burdon’s “bloodcurdling vocal” had helped give the band musical “immortality”.
ABKCO Music said: “We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Hilton Valentine.”