Hilton Valentine has died aged 77
Guitarist Hilton Valentine, whose memorable opening riff on The Animals classic House of the Rising
Sun propelled the song to No. 1 in the US, died Friday at age 77. No cause of death was given, according to a
statement from his former record company, Abkco
A tribute on record label Abkco’s Twitter read: “We, along with all of the music world, mourn the loss today of
Hilton Valentine a founding member of The Animals.
“Valentine was a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come.”
They added in a statement: “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.”
Valentine was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England. He began on the guitar at age 13,
but was orphaned at age 16.
He was part of the skiffle group The Heppers, which became The Wildcats, a band known for Valentine’s wild
style – he was known to roll on the ground while playing his guitar.
That notoriety led him to the attention of Chas Chandler, Alan Price, and Eric Burdon who recruited him to join a
new group they were forming in 1963. With the final addition of John Steel, they would become The Animals.
Valentine left the group in 1966, but rejoined for several reunions.
Valentine released a solo album in 1969 titled All in Your Head for Capitol Records. He reunited with The
Animals three times and recorded Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted with the band in 1977, and again joined
them in 1983.
but was orphaned at age 16. He was part of the skiffle group The Heppers, which became The Wildcats, a band
known for Valentine’s wild style – he was known to roll on the ground while playing his guitar.