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Animals’ Hilton Valentine dies age 77 after topping charts with 60s hit The House of the Rising Sun

Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine dies age 77: ‘Pioneering’ musician’s death is announced by record label after topping the charts with 60s hit The House of the Rising Sun

  • The guitarist’s death was confirmed by record label Abkco on Friday
  • In a moving tribute the label praised the ‘pioneering’ musician for ‘influencing the sound of rock and roll’
  • Hilton joined The Animals in the early 1960s when it was led by frontman Eric Burdon
  • His famous guitar riff in hit The House Of The Rising Sun has gone down in music history after it topped the charts in 1964

Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine has died at the age of 77.

The guitarist’s passing was confirmed by record label Abkco on Friday who penned a moving tribute to the ‘pioneering’ musician.

A tribute posted to Twitter read: ‘We, along with all of the music world, mourn the loss today of Hilton Valentine a founding member of The Animals.

Sad news: Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine has died at the age of 77. His passing was confirmed by record label Abkco on Friday

‘Valentine was a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come.

‘We at Abkco have been privileged to serve as stewards of The Animals catalogue and his passing is felt in a truly profound way by the entire Abkco family.’

Currently Hilton’s cause of death is not known.

Legendary Hilton joined The Animals in the early 1960s when it was led by frontman Eric Burdon, and went onto top the charts with The House Of The Rising Sun in 1964

Legendary Hilton joined The Animals in the early 1960s when it was led by frontman Eric Burdon, and went onto top the charts with The House Of The Rising Sun in 1964

Hilton joined The Animals in the early 1960s when it was led by frontman Eric Burdon.

His famous guitar riff in hit The House Of The Rising Sun has gone down in music history, and after topping the charts in 1964 the song has been described as one of the greatest of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Some of the band’s other hits included Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and We Gotta Get Out of This Place, which was adopted by many US soldiers as an anthem during the Vietnam War. 

Iconic: Other hits included We Gotta Get Out of This Place, which was adopted by many US soldiers as a Vietnam War anthem (Hilton is pictured with frontman Eric Burdon)

Iconic: Other hits included We Gotta Get Out of This Place, which was adopted by many US soldiers as a Vietnam War anthem (Hilton is pictured with frontman Eric Burdon)

In a 2006 interview Hilton spoke about his passion for playing the guitar from a young age.

He told Modern Guitars magazine: ‘What drew me to the guitar was seeing Lonnie Donegan doing Rock Island Line on television, on a show called The Six Five Special.

‘I wanted to play guitar after seeing that, and of course, after hearing Chuck Berry and seeing him do the duck walk.’

Still close: At the time the band was comprised of Hilton and frontman Eric Burdon, 79, alongside Alan Price on keyboards, John Steel on drums and Bryan Chandler on bass

Still close: At the time the band was comprised of Hilton and frontman Eric Burdon, 79, alongside Alan Price on keyboards, John Steel on drums and Bryan Chandler on bass

Hilton first threw himself into the music scene aged 16 as part of skiffle group, The Heppers, and after earning a reputation with his guitar skills, was recruited by The Animals.

At the time the band was comprised of Hilton and frontman Eric Burdon, 79, alongside Alan Price on keyboards, John Steel on drums and Bryan Chandler on bass.  

Despite leaving the band in 1966, Hilton remained close friends with members of the group, and released the solo record All In Your Head in 1969. 

Sensational: Despite leaving the band in 1966, Hilton remained close friends with members of the group, and released the solo record All In Your Head in 1969

Sensational: Despite leaving the band in 1966, Hilton remained close friends with members of the group, and released the solo record All In Your Head in 1969

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