LONDON – Hilton Valentine, the founding guitarist of English rock and roll band The Animals, who is credited with one of the ideas most famous inaugural riffs of the 1960s have died.He was 77 years old

ABKCO Music’s label confirmed Valentine died Friday, saying that his wife, Germaine Valentine, reported his death, the cause of death was not stated

“Valentine was a pioneering guitarist who influenced the rock and roll sound for decades,” reads a statement from the label

Valentine took up the guitar at the age of 13 in his hometown North Shields in the north east of England and afterwards got involved in the skiffle madness – a kind of fusion of American folk, country, jazz and blues – that swept the U. His skiffle band The Heppers evolved into The Wildcats, a rock and roll band that became popular in the north of England, partly because of Valentine’s habit of rolling on the floor while playing the guitar

After Valentine learned his craft, he founded The Animals in 1963 with singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price and drummer John Steel

The band’s most famous hit came in 1964 when their rocking version of the folk song “The House of the Rising Sun” topped the charts in both UK and the US.

The song, whose opening riff has since become a rite of passage for budding guitarists around the world, had such a resonance in the U.S. that many people were surprised to hear that the band hailed from the industrial heartland of England

Burdon paid tribute to Valentine on Instagram, writing, “Rising Sun’s opening work will never sound like it did before! You didn’t just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken at the sudden news of Hilton’s death ”

Valentine stayed with the band for four years and is heard on other classics of the band as well, including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, “We Have To Leave This Place” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” ”

Valentine subsequently released solo works and temporarily returned to the band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994

For the past few years, Valentine has lived in the US Connecticut state returns to skiffle music with the formation of his band Skiffledog

Hilton Valentine

World News – FI – Hilton Valentine, founding guitarist of Animals behind the reef “House of the Rising Sun”, dies at the age of 77