I think it’s fair to say that Whitesnake fans all have their favourite incarnations of the band, musically and style wise, but it’s hard to argue against their most popular album, 1987.
It was a change in style slightly, and some fans said the band was pandering to the mainstream, which I think is farcical. Bands naturally evolve and try new things, but to suggest it was a ploy, is a bit much. You may as well lump everyone else from that time into that category. No way. This was a solid hard-rockin' album, so let’s teardown 5 of the best from it and rate them out of 10.
Still Of The Night
The first single was a ball tearer and a killer way to launch the album onto the public. Big guitar riffs, softer synths, all playing beautifully to the power of Coverdale's iconic voice. Like so many Whitesnake songs, this one had a history, and David says “When my mother died I was going through the stuff at her house and found some early demo cassettes. One of them was a song that Ritchie Blackmore and I had been working on which was the basic premise of what would become "Still of the Night". It was totally unrecognizable, so Ritchie doesn't have anything to worry about... neither do I! Ha ha ha!”
This is worth a solid 8/10.
Here I Go Again
It’d be remiss of me not to include their biggest hit. Even people who don’t know anything about the band can name this song due to the absolute flogging on rock radio over the years. It follows "Still Of The Night" directly on the album, so it’s quite the double shot. This was the third single from the album, and easily the most accessible for new fans. Super catchy hook, this really was dipping the toe into pop rock waters and would be the main reason some would say they were pandering. However, this is but one song on the album, and one lettuce doesn’t maketh the salad.
It’s not my favourite, none the less, it rates a solid 7/10.
Give Me All Your Love
This song absolutely rocks! It’s got a fantastic groove that motors on through the whole tune making it impossible to sit still when you hear it. Yeah, it’s got some cheese on it, but it was 1987, and it definitely came from the cock-rock room of the Whitesnake house. I don’t care, it’s hugely fun, and the guitar solo was re-recorded by Vivvian Campbell (’88 mix) and is the one you can hear on the video.
Not much else needs to be said about this one, just strap yourself in and feel the g’s. 8/10
Children Of The Night
Aimed directly at the fans, this was their song. YES, WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT, AND WE ARE READY TO ROCK! If you’re like me, when you were younger and Friday night rolled around, pre-drinks were flying, and you needed the right songs to get you amped. This is that song. This is a thunderous train destroying all in it’s path, get out of the fuckin' way, we’re charging through.
Listening to this reminds me how much of an influence Whitesnake was on Mr Big. 8.5/10
Crying In The Rain
Originally released in 1982 on the album Saints & Sinners, this re-recorded version for 1987 is the much better version, heavier, dirtier, bluesy-er, with a real Ozzy vibe in the main riff, due to the riff that contains those signature Zakk Wylde / Ozzy era harmonic squeals, it really appeals to me. The solo is off its cheezel, completely over the top and grandiose, just like it should have been in 1987.
"Crying In The Rain" delivers on all levels, and what a way to open the album. 9/10
Honorable mentions must go to "Is This Love" and "Bad Boys". I was torn to not include them, as both are truly great songs. I think it’s a testament to the album as a whole. You could say it’s all killer and no filler, but I’d be lying, as "Straight For The Heart" and "Don’t Turn Away" don’t really do it for me. Doesn’t mean I’m right mind you, it’s just that they had some fierce competition on an incredible album. Be sure to give it a listen again, crank it loud, and remember what 1987 was all about.
Get the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the album featuring extra bonus material here.