The Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine has passed away. The rock musician died on Friday (Jan. 29) at the age of 77-years-old. Officials didn’t reveal a cause of death.
Valentine rose to fame in the 1960s as a co-founder of The Animals. ABKCO Music & Records confirmed the artists passing on Twitter. They paid tribute to Valentine and his career.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to @HiltonValentine’s family and friends on his passing this morning, at the age of 77,” the record company wrote. “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.”
Hilton Valentine Was a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
Born in Northumberland, England, Valentine discovered a passion for music early in life. For instance, he started learning how to play the guitar when he was only 13. It wasn’t long before he started putting those talents to good use. In 1963, Valentine met with singer Eric Burton, bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price, and drummer John Steel. They form The Animals.
During the 1960s, the band produced hits like “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “The House of the Rising Sun.” Valentine’s skills on guitar were crucial to their success. But in 1966, Valentine left the band. He later would reunite with the group for reunions in 1975 and 1983. He also performed as a solo artist during this time in Connecticut. Valentine produced several albums and performed with bands The Woggles and The Headless Horsemen.
In 1994, Valentine and his band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Instagram, lead singer Eric Burton also paid tribute to Valentine and their time together.
“The opening opus of Rising Sun will never sound the same! You didn’t just play it, you lived it! We had great times together, Geordie lad. From the North Shields to the entire world…Rock In Peace,” he wrote in the post.
Valentine is survived by his wife Germaine.