Hilton Valentine

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Hilton Valentine
Birth nameHilton Stewart Paterson Valentine
Born (1943-05-21) 21 May 1943 (age 76)
North Shields, Northumberland, England, UK
GenresRock, blues-rock, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1963–present
Associated actsThe Animals

Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine (born 21 May 1943[1]) is an English musician, who was the original guitarist in the Animals.


Early career[edit]

Valentine was born in North Shields, Northumberland, and was influenced by the 1950s skiffle craze. His mother bought him his first guitar in 1956 when he was 13,[2] he taught himself some chords from a book called "Teach Yourself a Thousand Chords". He continued to develop his musical talent at John Spence Community High School and formed his own skiffle group called the Heppers.[2] They played local gigs and a newspaper described them at the time as, "A young but promising skiffle group". The Heppers eventually evolved into a rock and roll band, the Wildcats in c. 1959. During this period Valentine played a Futurama III solid guitar,[3] this was the UK brandname of importer Selmer, his next guitar was a Burns Vibra-Artiste which he bought in 1960–61.[3] The Wildcats was a popular band in the Tyneside area getting a lot of bookings for dance halls, working men's clubs, church halls etc., and it was during this period that they decided to record a 10" acetate LP titled Sounds of the Wild Cats (sic).[2]

The Animals[edit]

In 1963, the Animals were starting to form and Chas Chandler heard about Hilton Valentine's wild guitar playing and asked him to join what was then the Alan Price Combo.[2] Eric Burdon was already a member and John Steel joined immediately following Valentine's arrival. Within a few months, this group changed their name to the Animals.

While the Animals are often remembered most for Burdon's vocals and Price's organ, Valentine is credited with the electric guitar arpeggio introduction to the Animals' 1964 signature song "The House of the Rising Sun", which inspired countless beginning guitarists.[4][5] It was played[6] on his Gretsch Tennessean[3] guitar which he bought in Newcastle in early 1962 while he was still with the Wildcats, and a Selmer amplifier. Later, in 1964, Rickenbacker gave him a 1964 Rose Morris guitar to use along with a 12-string model.[3]

Valentine went on to play and record with the Animals, until the first incarnation of the band dissolved in September 1966.[7]

Later career[edit]

Valentine subsequently moved to California and recorded a solo album entitled All In Your Head, which was not successful. The album was produced and arranged by later Animals member Vic Briggs. Valentine then returned to the UK, and over the years joined several Animals reunions.[1]

Along with Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler, Alan Price and John Steel, Valentine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Along with the other Animals, Hilton was inducted into Hollywood's Rock Walk of Fame in May 2001. He released a new album, It's Folk 'n' Skiffle, Mate! in 2004.

From that release until October 2009 he played throughout New England, New York and South Carolina, with his Skiffledog solo project. As well, from February 2007 to November 2008 Valentine toured with Eric Burdon. In early 2009 he released two basement demo recordings on his MySpace page.

In 2011 Hilton Valentine released a new album titled Skiffledog on Coburg Street and a Christmas album with Big Boy Pete Miller ex-Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers titled Merry Skifflemas!.

Valentine resides in England.

See also[edit]


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