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In Memoriam|

The Animals Eric Burdon

The Animals, from left, Hilton Valentine, Chas Chandler, John Steel, front row, Alan Price, and Eric Burdon in April 1983 (AP file photo)

LONDON (AP) — Hilton Valentine, the founding guitarist of the English rock and roll band The Animals who is credited with coming up with one of the most famous opening riffs of the 1960s, has died. He was 77.

The band’s label ABKCO Music confirmed that Valentine died on Friday, saying it was told of his death by his wife, Germaine Valentine. The cause of death was not given.

“Valentine was a pioneering guitar player influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come,” the label said in a statement.

Valentine took up the guitar at 13 in his hometown of North Shields in northeast England, subsequently getting involved in the skiffle craze — a kind of fusion of American folk, country, jazz and blues — that was sweeping the U.K. His skiffle band The Heppers evolved into The Wildcats, a rock and roll band that became popular across the north of England, partly because of Valentine’s habit of rolling on the ground while playing his guitar.

Having learned his craft, Valentine formed The Animals in 1963 alongside singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price and drummer John Steel.

The band’s most famous hit came in 1964, when their rock-infused take of the folk song “The House of the Rising Sun” topped the charts in both the U.K. and the U.S.

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

Burdon paid tribute to Valentine on Instagram, writing: “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.”

Valentine remained with the band for four years and is also heard on other classics by the band including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.”

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

In recent years, Valentine has been living in the U.S. state of Connecticut, returning to skiffle music with the formation of his band Skiffledog.

https://www.aol.com/hilton-valentine-founding-animals-guitarist-100955817-125752993.html

Photo: In this April 7, 1983 file photo, British pop group The Animals, from left, Hilton Valentine, Chas Chandler, John Steel, front row, Alan Price, and Eric Burdon, pose for photographers after announcing plans for a world tour, in London, England. Hilton Valentine, the founding guitarist of English rock and roll band The Animals who is credited with coming up with one of the most famous opening riffs of the 1960s, has died. He was 77. The band’s label ABKCO Music confirmed that Valentine died on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 saying it was informed of the death by his wife Germaine Valentine. (AP Photo, File)

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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…
February 2021

2: Libuše Domanínská, 96, Czech operatic soprano; Alicia Tomás, 80, Spanish singer, bullfighter and actress (The Exquisite Cadaver).

1: Temur Tsiklauri, 75, Georgian pop singer and actor, COVID-19.

January 2021
31: Wambali Mkandawire, 68, Malawian jazz singer, COVID-19; Ladislav Štaidl, 75, Czech composer and musician, Medal of Merit recipient, complications from COVID-19.

30: Double K, 43, American rapper (People Under the Stairs); Alberto Neuman, 87, Argentine classical pianist; Sophie, 34, Scottish singer-songwriter (“Bipp”, “Lemonade”) and record producer, accidental fall; Michel Trempont, 92, Belgian opera singer; Alla Yoshpe, 83, Russian pop singer, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation (2002).

29: Ahmed Achour, 75, Tunisian composer and conductor; Grady Gaines, 86, American blues saxophonist; Flory Jagoda, 97, Bosnian-born American musician and songwriter; Jeremy Lubbock, 89, English pianist and Grammy-winning arranger; Hilton Valentine, 77, English Hall of Fame guitarist (The Animals) (see above article).

28: César Isella, 82, Argentine singer-songwriter (Los Fronterizos), coronary disease; Sibongile Khumalo, 63, South African singer; Singing Sandra, 64, Trinidadian calypso singer.

27: Efraín Ruales, 36, Ecuadorian actor, musician and TV presenter, shot; Trung Kiên, 81, Vietnamese classical singer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2021

 

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