Hilton Valentine, Founding Member Of The Animals, Dies At 77

Photo Credit: Germaine Valentine

January is not yet over, but the entertainment world is mourning the loss of yet another of its own today.

Hilton Valentine, a founding member of the famed rock band The Animals, has died. According to a press release distributed Friday night, Valentine died Friday. His death was revealed by his wife, Germaine Valentine, according to the document.

Valentine was part of the original lineup of The Animals, which also featured among its members, Chas Chandler, Alan Price, Eric Burdon, and John Steel. He was a member of the band when it released hits, such as ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ ‘Baby Let Me Take You Home,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,’ ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place,’ ‘It’s My Life,’ and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’

As a member of The Animals, Valentine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. The band was honored with a spot on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame in May 2001.

Burdon spoke warmly of Valentine during a recent interview with Guitar International.

“It really was Hilton who made the early Animals a rock band because I don’t think the element of rock was in the band until we found him,” he said. “In those days, Hilton wasn’t just playing rock ‘n’ roll, he looked rock ‘n’ roll. Here was a guy with the greased mop of hair combed back, cheap leather jacket, winkle picker shoes, black jeans and a smile on his face playing through an echoplex, which was a secret weapon back then.”

Valentine would reunite with his band mates in The Animals over the years. He also released a solo album, All in Your Head, in 1969 for Capitol Records. The reunions with his band mates resulted in the release of at least one album, Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, in 1977.

The news release distributed adds that in recent years, Valentine had formed his own band, Skiffledog, and toured with the band in the U.S. and U.K. The band released two albums, It’s Folk ‘n’ Skiffle, Mate! and Skiffledog on Coburg ST. Additionally lent a helping hand to other bands, such as The Woggles, and The Headless Horsemen.

Valentine released a holiday album titled Merry Skifflemas! in 2011. Big Boy Pete assisted with that recording.

The noted press release quotes ABKCO, which had its own role in Valentine’s life and career, as mourning his passing in a prepared statement.

“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 statement reads.

Hilton Valentine was 77 years old.

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