Original Animals Guitarist, Hilton Valentine, Dies at 77


by Greg Brodsky

Best Classic Bands

January 29, 2021

Hilton Valentine, the original guitarist for the Animals, whose distinctive intro on the 1964 chart-topping single “The House of the Rising Sun” was a key part of the British Invasion, died today (January 29, 2021). His death at age 77 was announced by his wife, Germaine. Neither the cause of death nor the location was revealed.

Valentine was born Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine on May 21, 1943, in what was then Northumberland, England. As with many young men in 1950s Britain, the skiffle craze hit him hard and his mother bought him his first guitar in 1956 at the age of 13. He immediately taught himself from a book called Teach Yourself a Thousand Chords and at around the time he was orphaned at age 16, formed his own skiffle band called the Heppers, playing locally in halls and at outdoor venues.

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