Whitesnake are a band from Middlesbrough, England that have been defined as heavy metal, blues rock, glam metal, and hard rock. The band is fronted by former Deep Purple singer David Coverdale, and reached their peak nearly ten years after the band was formed in 1978. They are best known for their songs “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night,” “Is This Love,” “Slide It in,” “Slow An’ Easy,” and “Fool For Your Loving.” Their self titled 1987 album Whitesnake sold 8 million copies in the USA, and reached #2 on the Billboard 200.
Whitesnake released their first EP in 1978, Snakebite, along with their full length album Trouble the same year, which reached #50 on the U.K. charts. Coverdale’s bandmate from Deep Purple, keyboardist Jon Lord, joined the band for the album Trouble. In 1979, they released Lovehunter, another modestly successful album in the U.K. containing the single “Long Way From Home.” Their 1980 album Ready An’ Willing was their breakthrough in the USA, containing the single “Fool For Your Loving,” which was later re-recorded for their 1989 album Slip of the Tongue.
Come an’ Get It, their 1981 album, fared well in the U.S., but performed poorly in the U.S. The earliest incarnation of their hit song “Here I Go Again” can be found on their 1982 album Saints & Sinners.
In 1983, the band began to record their sixth studio album, Slide it In. It was eventually certified double platinum in the U.S., and contained the singles “Slow An’ Easy,” “Love Ain’t No Stranger,” and “Guilty of Love.” The title track also received radio airplay. The overall sound of Whitesnake had begun to change on this album from a blues rock band to a heavy metal sound. The album performed well in the U.S. thanks to MTV airplay of two of the videos from the album, which set the stage for their massively successful 1987 Whitesnake album.
Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes joined the band in 1984, and following the success of Slide it In, began to work on their next studio album throughout 1985-1987. The album was delayed in part due to a sinus infection Coverdale contracted. Famous Bon Jovi and later Metallica producer/engineer Bob Rock helped to fine tune the guitar sound of Sykes on this album. Also on board was John Kalodner, who helped bring the band’s image and sound to mainstream America by embracing glam metal.
During the recording process, Sykes suggested the band replace Coverdale on vocals due to his prolonged infection keeping him out of work, which led to Coverdale firing him from the band. Before the album’s release, Coverdale once again cleared the slate with the band personnel, finally settling on Adrian Vandenberg (guitar), Vivian Campbell formerly of Dio (guitar), Rudy Sarzo formerly of Quiet Riot/Ozzy Osbourne (bass), and Tommy Aldridge formerly of Ozzy Osbourne (drums). These members would be seen in the famous MTV videos “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night,” and “Is This Love.” The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200, and went on to sell over 8 million copies in the U.S. It reached #8 on the UK Albums Chart. The video “Here I Go Again” famously features model Tawny Kitaen dancing on the hood of Coverdale’s Jaguar XJ. The album’s success also helped boost the sales of Slide it In to double platinum. To some fans, the album is seen as a “sell out” for its major departure from their blues rock roots.
Once again, the band had major personnel changes for their next album, Slip of the Tongue (1989). Vivian Campbell left the band, and was replaced by Steve Vai. Adrian Vandenberg sustained a wrist injury which made it impossible for him to record for the album. It sold one million copies in the USA, and further explores the power ballads that made the band so successful on their previous album. It featured the singles “Fool For Your Loving,” “The Deeper the Love,” and “Now You’re Gone.” Following the tour supporting Slip of the Tongue, Coverdale disbanded Whitesnake to take a break from the music industry. Years later, he would start to record with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for the album Coverdale and Page.
In 1994, Whitesnake’s Greatest Hits was released, with tour to follow. It was certified platinum, and contained three tracks previously unavailable in the U.S.
In 1997, the band reformed to record the album Restless Heart. It was a return to their initial blues rock sound, and was initially intended to be a Coverdale solo album. Pressure from Geffen made Coverdale release it as a Whitesnake album. At the end of 1997, Coverdale disbanded Whitesnake once again to take a break from the music industry.
After the popularity of grunge and post-grunge had begun to wane in the early 2000’s, Coverdale began to reform Whitesnake for the 25th anniversary of the band’s formation. They headlined the Rock Never Stops tour, which also featured Warrant, Kip Winger, and Slaughter. In 2007, the band re-released their 1987 hit album for its 20th annivesary, remastered and included bonus live material, as well as their videos.
Their tenth studio album, a return to blues rock, Good to Be Bad, was released in April 2008 to critical praise. Forevermore (2011) also was heavily praised for its combination of 70’s, 80’s, and present day sounds. Currently, Whitesnake are planning on recording a follow up to Forevermore.
- Trouble (1978)
- Lovehunter (1979)
- Ready an’ Willing (1980)
- Come an’ Get It (1981)
- Saints & Sinners (1982)
- Slide It In (1984)
- Whitesnake (1987)
- Slip of the Tongue (1989)
- Restless Heart (1997)
- Good to Be Bad (2008)
- Forevermore (2011)