Sunday Old School: Whitesnake
With tens of millions of albums sold, David Coverdale’s turbulent relationship with Tawny Kitaen, and the hair that all other hair would be judged by…we give you Whitesnake. As David Coverdale’s hair grew so did album sales. Is this a coincidence? Coverdale would say (presumably) that his hair and album sales are not related and this is a misconception. The facts are that during his eighties reign (when his hair was at an all-time Aqua Net high) album sales were through the roof. Later, he teamed up with Jimmy Page to form Coverdale/Page, shorter hair, fewer sales. Coincidence?
The band was founded in 1978 by David Coverdale. Starting as The White Snake Band they (thankfully) evolved into Whitesnake and recorded the EP titled ‘Snakebite.’ In 1979 the band recorded ‘Lovehunter’ which featured album art of a naked girl straddling a snake. The follow-up ‘Ready An’ Willing’ featured their first U.S. hit “Fool For Your Loving” which the band originally wrote for B.B. King. The next two albums ‘Come an’ Get It’ and ‘Saints & Sinners’ charted in the UK, but failed to find success in the U.S. One of the singles from 1982’s ‘Saints’ album was “Here I Go Again”; as you already know – this wasn’t the last of this song. In 1984 a remixed ‘Slide It In’ album was released in the U.S. and contained the singles “Slow An’ Easy” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger” as well as the album title track.
It was 1985 when Whitesnake started writing their self-titled album, playing more to the polished eighties sound. After several line-up changes the band was made up of Coverdale (vocals), John Sykes (guitar), Neil Murray (bass), Adrian Vandenberg (guitar), and Aynsley Dunbar (drums). After a few delays ‘Whitesnake’ was finally released in 1987. The biggest hits were “Still of the Night”, “Is This Love” and the re-recorded “Here I Go Again.” Both received heavy radio and MTV play.
As one of the focal points of Whitesnake videos, Coverdale mastered the art of snapping with the drum beat and using the microphone as if he was a white ninja. The other influence would be Tawny Kitaen. Appearing in the videos “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again”, Kitaen gave hope to groupies and models everywhere. Most famously, she appeared on the hood of a car (preferably spread eagle in a white sun dress) in a Whitesnake video and become famous. The argument can be made that it went too far when she started mouthing the lyrics in the videos, becoming bigger than both the band and Coverdale’s hair.
In 1989, the band released ‘Slip of the Tongue’ and continued to see commercial success, selling three million copies and hitting number 10 on both the US and UK album charts. Three singles were released from the album, including a reworked version of “Fool for Your Loving.” After the release (recruited prior to the completed album) Steve Vai became an official member of the band and went on tour with Whitesnake. The tour included the 1990 Monster of Rock festival where they headlined for the second time.
After the tour, Coverdale put the band, citing that he wanted to take a break from the music business. Apparently it was more Whitesnake he wanted to put on hold, immediately teaming up with Jimmy Page to form Coverdale/Page.
In 1994 a new Whitesnake line up assembled for a greatest hits album and then in 1997 the band released ‘Restless Heart.’ The band again reformed in 2002 for their 25th anniversary and remained touring and releasing both greatest hits and live albums. In 2011, the band released their latest album, ‘Forevermore’ and continues to tour across the UK, U.S., and other parts of Europe.
Fans of Whitesnake were unique in that they were religious with their dedication to the band, but not other metal acts of the eighties. In my High School these fans were known as Whitesnake kids. They listened to Whitesnake and Led Zeppelin wore denim jackets with Whitesnake patches perfectly placed on the back, and favored a Trans Am as a mode of transportation. Ironically these were the first to find Nirvana when they broke and jump ship into the grunge scene, ditching their denim for flannel. Is there a connection? Probably, but who am I to say what it is. I believe it is something in your genes that makes (or made) you a Whitesnake fan.
With the band back together and new album, Whitesnake and Coverdale are back on the road. David’s hair is medium in size with album sales medium in success. Coincidence?
Still of the Night
Is This Love
Here I Go Again
The Deeper The Love
Fool For Your Loving
Love Will Set Your Free
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