Animals Guitarist Hilton Valentine Dies At 77

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Hilton Valentine, the founding guitarist in the Animals, died Friday in Connecticut at the age of 77.

A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

In a statement, the band’s label ABKCO Music described Valentine as “a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come.”

Animals singer Eric Burdon wrote on Instagram: “The opening opus of Rising Sun will never sound the same!... You didn’t just play it, you lived it! Heartbroken by the sudden news of Hilton’s passing. We had great times together, Geordie lad. From the North Shields to the entire world...Rock In Peace.”

Burdon and Valentine founded the Animals in 1963 with Chas Chandler, Alan Price and John Steel.

In addition to “The House of the Rising Sun” – their 1964 version of a traditional folk song – the Animals had success with “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “It’s My Life” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

Valentine came and went from the band, which had many different line-ups over the years. He was among the Animals inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Valentine is survived by his wife Germaine.

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