x-Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale founded Whitesnake by taking the name of his debut album David Coverdale's Whitesnake. But before the name change his self-titled act David Coverdale, opened shop after he left Deep Purple for a solo career. Grabbing Mick Moody (ex-Juicy Lucy/ex-Snafu; guitar), Tim Hinkley (keyboards), Simon Philips (drums), Deslisle Harper (bass), Ron Asperey (sax) and Roger Glover (producer, bass, keyboards) he would release the aforementioned debut in 1977. Shortly later, the line-up shifted to just Coverdale and Moody recruiting Bernie Marsden (ex-Paice, Ashton & Lord/ex-U.F.O./ex-Wild Turkey; guitar), Neil Murray (ex-Coliseum/ex-National Health; bass), Brian Johnson (ex-Streetwalkers; keyboards) and David Dowell (ex-Streetwalkers; drums) for the Northwinds (1978) sophomore effort.
Featuring the same line-up, except Pete Solley taking over keyboards, he would change the name to David Coverdale's Whitesnake and sign to 'EMI' by mid 1978. They debuted with the Snakebite EP later that same year, featuring a cover of Bobby Bland's Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The, featuring Pete Solley on keyboards to replace the departing Johnson. But their debut album, Trouble (1978), got them a UK top 50 with ex-Deep Purple/ex-Paice, Ashton & Lord man Jon Lord and his keyboard helping. Love Hunter (1979) was the follow-up that went largely ignored in favor of their new image.
Now dubbed as simply Whitesnake and featuring Ian Paice (ex-Paice, Ashton & Lord) on drums), the Ready An' Willing (1980) release obtained them a top 10 in the UK, mostly on the strength of its attendant single; much of their appeal came from the fans of the now defunct Deep Purple looking for someone to fill the hole. Live...In The Heart Of The (1980; a double set named after the Bobby Bland track covered by them) was an acclaimed piece of work, and was probably the most consistent of their career, not to mention being one of only a few live recordings of them. The follow-up, Come An' Get It (1981), narrowly missed number 1 US (made 2 in the UK). Critics bashed it for being a departure from their bluesy roots toward a stripped down hard rock sound, never mind Coverdale's notorious sexist and cliche lyrics; not surprisingly he ignored the complaints.
There was a brief hiatus for Whitesnake due to the illness of Coverdale's daughter. When they got back to business several personnel changes came, with Mel Galley (ex-Back Door; guitar), Colin "Bomber" Hodgkinson (bass) and Cozy Powel (drums) stepping in by the release of Saints And Sinners (1982). Saints And Sinners got them a 9 spot on the UK charts, but still failed to remedy the key musical issues that were the main complaints of fans and critics.
Neil Murray was now recruited to replace Hodgkinson, but it was with the addition of ex-Tygers Of Pang Tang guitarist John Skyes that Coverdale, known for being a fuss-bucket, had found a writing partner he could work with and the results were proven on the subsequent Slide It In (1984) release. The album was chalked full of more innuendo and bluesy tracks, like Slow An Easy, that boosted its appeal. The follow-up tour saw their instability show though again, with only Skyes and Coverdale representing it by the end; Lords and Moody leaving to join the reformed Deep Purple.
With Tony Franklin (ex-The Firm) taking up the vacant bass spot, and Carmine Appice (ex-Beck, Bogert & Appice) assuming the drums, they returned with the Whitesnake 1987 album in 1987. The album was slicker and more commercial than any previous, giving them a top 10 for the single of Zeppelin-esq Still Of The Night, proving to be the hardest track offered. Other MTV friendly tracks like Is This Love and Here I Go Again (originally on Saints And Sinners; the single of which gave them their first and only #1), served to push the album up the charts. The album, as a whole, stormed up the charts on both sides of "the pond" to an 8 in the UK and 2 in the US; it sold millions. It also shed many of their traditional fans, however, and didn't do much for Whitesnake's stability, with Skyes splitting for Blue Murder.
Coverdale would once again recruit a whole new band in the form of Adrian Vandenburg (ex-Vandenburg; guitar), Rudy Sarzo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Quiet Riot; bass), Tommy Aldridge (ex-Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Black Oak Arkansas; drums) and Vivian Campbell (who was soon after replaced by guitar wizard and ex-David Lee Roth/ex-Frank Zappa man Steve Vai). They went to the Monsters Of rock Festival in 1989, and soon after, that same year, released the uninspiring Slip Of The Tongue; the album managing a flat 10 on both sides of the Atlantic all the same.
David Coverdale would attempt to restart his solo efforts with the one-off single, The Last Note Of Freedom, in 1990 to little notice.
Coverdale - Page (1993) was his side effort with Jimmy Page completed during a brief hiatus from his work with his own band, and it fared much better. As the Coverdale + Page side-project featuring himself and Jimmy Page (ex-Led Zeppelin; guitar) along with George Casas (guitar), Denny Carmassi (ex-Montrose; drums), Lester Mendel (keyboards), John Harris (harmonica) and Tommy Funderbuck (backing vocals) they would release one self-titled album that got them a 4 UK (5 US) spot. Coverdale was then sighted on tour in Europe for support of 1994's Whitesnake's Greatest Hits album featuring a new line-up of the band, and with his new band (now named as David Coverdale & Whitesnake), he released Restless Heart in 1997, an attempted comeback that was unlikely to see their past glory for the metal genre has simply changed too much since. The album, however, marked a return to Whitesnake's earlier R&B music to receive a top 40 in the UK. It was originally to be a Coverdale solo album, but the record company pressured them to release it under the Whitesnake name. Despite release in both Japan and Europe, it was never available officially in the US.
So after the bust-up of Whitesnake and all it's variations again in 1998, Coverdale would return to his solo efforts with session musicians to release his Into The Light album in 2000, an album that managed only a 75 in the UK.
In December 2002 Coverdale reformed Whitesnake for their 25th anniversary that was coming the upcoming year. Coverdale was joined on the subsiquent 2003 tour by guitarists Doug Aldrich (of Dio) and Reb Beach (of Winger), bass player Marco Mendoza, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboard player Timothy Drury. This line-up remained stable until 2005, when Mendoza left to pursue the Soul SirkUS project to be replaced by Uriah Duffy. The double live album, Live: In the Shadow of the Blues followed in 2006.
In June 2007 a dual CD/DVD set titled 1987 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition arrived to mark the 20th anniversary of that huge selling album 1987. The set featured a re-mastered version of the album along with bonus material with four live tracks from the Shadow of the Blues Live set, along with four promo videos for the album on the DVD. In December 2007 Aldridge left to be replaced by Chris Frazier. Good to Be Bad (2008) followed.
Whitesnake had to leave the tour with Judas Priest early in 2009 when Coverdale suffered a vocal injury; he would recover just short of a year later.
In June 2010, Whitesnake announced the release their own brand of wine, a 2008 Zinfandel, described by David Coverdale as, "filled to the brim with the spicy essence of sexy, slippery Snakeyness ... I recommend it to complement any & all grown up friskiness & hot tub jollies ..."
Both Duffy and Frazier chose to leave in June 2010. Former Billy Idol drummer Brian Tichy would now step in, with bassist Michael Devin joining on in August. In September, keyboardist Timothy Drury also made his exit to pursue a solo career, but he did return as a guest to help record keyboards for the band's 2011 album Forevermore.
Drummer Brian Tichy then left in January 2013 to focus on his other band, S.U.N.; former drummer Tommy Aldridge would return.
The Purple Album (2015) contained re-recorded Coverdale era tracks from Deep Purple. Later that year, Italian vocalist and instrumentalist Michele Luppi joined as keyboardist and backing vocalist, replacing Brian Rued.
Flesh & Blood (2019) would follow.
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|Active Years||1976-1990, 1994-1997, 2002-|
|RRCA File Code||REV00326|
Artists Linked With This Article:
|Black Oak Arkansas||David Lee Roth||Deep Purple|
|Dio||Judas Priest||Led Zeppelin|
|Montrose||Ozzy Osbourne||Quiet Riot|
|Steve Vai||The Firm||Tygers Of Pan Tang|
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