Hilton Valentine, guitarist for British rock and roll band The Animals, has died. He was 77 years old

Valentine died Friday, Ms. Germaine Valentine told his record label ABKCO Music that his death was confirmed. A cause has not been released

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

Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of @HiltonValentine, who passed away this morning at the age of 77. As a founding member and original guitarist of The Animals, Valentine was a trailblazing guitarist who influenced the rock and roll sound for decades ImageTwittercom / gSUyVN0WWS

Valentine started playing guitar at age 13.Skiffle, a genre that fused American folk, country, jazz and blues and became popular in the British Isles, was an early influence Valentine formed his skiffle band The Heppers The band evolved to The Wildcats, a popular group across northern England

Valentine founded The Animals in 1963. The lineup consisted of singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price and drummer John Steel

The band’s biggest hit in 1964 was “The House of the Rising Sun,” which topped the US charts and the UK The guitar riff is one of the most notable and a rite of passage for guitarists learning the instrument

“The opening work of Rising Sun will never sound the same,” Burdon said on social media. “You didn’t just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken at the sudden news of Hilton’s death”

Valentine performed with the band for four years and was part of other hits including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, “We Have To Get Out Of This Place” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” ”

Valentine recently lived in Connecticut and performed in the skiffle band Skifledog

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Hilton Valentine

World news – FI – Hilton Valentine, guitarist for The Animals, dead at the age of 77

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