The music world has lost a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as The Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine (pictured top row center) died Friday (Jan. 29) at the age of 77. The news was announced in a statement from the Abkco record company, who did not provide a cause of death.

“We at Abkco have been privileged to serve as stewards of The Animals catalog and his passing is felt in a truly profound way by the entire Abkco family,” the record company statement said.

Valentine started his career with the skiffle band The Wildcats and his playing garnered the interest of Chas Chandler, Alan Price and Eric Burdon, who recruited him to join their new group The Animals in 1963. His addition plus the addition of drummer John Steel rounded out the original lineup.

He would remain with the group through 1966, at which point a new lineup would solider forward under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals.
Valentine's playing can notably be heard on the group's 1964 breakout single "House of the Rising Sun." Other hits during Valentine's tenure included "I'm Crying," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "We Gotta Get Outta This Place."

The Animals, "House of the Rising Sun"

The Animals, "We Gotta Get Outta This Place"

Valentine was part of multiple reunions with the group, before exiting for good in 2001. He also released solo records including recording under the band name Skiffledog in his latter years. But he'll be best remembered for his work as a member of The Animals. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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