A founding member of 60s ‘British Invasion’ group, The Animals, Hilton was best known for composing one of the most famous rock intros of all time from the band’s breakthrough hit, House of the Rising Sun, in 1964.
He was greatly admired by other rock and roll luminaries such as Bob Dylan for his distinctive playing on a string of hit records, including We Gotta Get out of This Place and Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.
Hilton and his bandmates Eric Burdon, Chas Chandler, Alan Price, and John Steel were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame in 2001.
In 2011, he returned to his musical roots and paid tribute to the street where he grew up with the album Skiffledog on Coburg Street.
His last recording in 2019 was River Tyne, a sombre folk song that celebrated the river close to his boyhood home.
Hilton passed away in January 2021, aged 77.
As a permanent tribute, North Tyneside Council will unveil a blue plaque at his childhood home at 42 Coburg Street, North Shields, where he lived between 1944 and 1960.
A special event on Tuesday, November 16, will feature live music from his three bands – The Heppers, The Wildcats, and The Animals – courtesy of the TyneIdols bus, and there will be talks from those who knew him best including his wife, Germaine, making a special visit from their home in Connecticut.
Cllr Pat Oliver, Deputy Chair, will give a welcome address at the unveiling.
She said: “Hilton Valentine was a pioneering guitarist whose unique playing style influenced the sound of rock and roll over many decades and had a profound impact on fans and musicians alike.
“Although he enjoyed worldwide fame, he was a proud North Shields lad who frequently drew on his North Tyneside heritage as a source of inspiration in his music. As a council we thought it was important to recognise and pay tribute to his phenomenal talent and to mark the place where his musical journey began.
“I hope the plaque will bring joy to his family, friends, and fans in North Tyneside.”