David Coverdale's legendary hard rock outfit Whitesnake returns to Australia next month in tandem with German hard rock Gods Scorpions.
Whitesnake was the band that Coverdale formed after his tenure with Deep Purple – a group he joined as a virtual unknown in 1973 and in which he shared lead vocal duties with Glenn Hughes. He left Deep Purple in 1976 but was he was inducted with them into The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. The members of Whitesnake were originally the backing band - The White Snake Band - Coverdale used to tour the two solo albums he released after leaving Deep Purple; he decided to make it a proper group in 1978.
While Whitesnake had their biggest hits in their hair metal days of the late 80s, an earlier and decidedly less glamourous incarnation of the band had already released five studio albums and two live albums and notched up several UK hits. The new incarnation took them to the very top in the US, and made them a huge deal here in Australia too. Both incarnations of the band have their fans, so let's go back to the beginning – to the 1978 EP that was their first release. We tell the group's story with a track from each studio album that followed, including the four they've released since Coverdale put together a new Whitesnake in 2008.
"Ain't No Love In The Heart of the City"
This cover of an old Bobby "Blue" Bland captured the blues-rock sound of early Whitesnake to a tee, and has something of the feeling of Coverdale-era Deep Purple tunes like "Soldier of Fortune". It appeared on the first Whitesnake release, the EP Snakebite, which featured guitarists Bernie Marsden - who had performed with ex-Deep Purple members Ian Paice and Jon Lord in Paice Ashton Lord – and Micky moody, formerly of JuicyLucy and others. Marsden and moody would co-write most of Whitesnake's material with Coverdale.
Album #1 Trouble in 1978 saw founding Deep Purple keyboard player john Lord join the group. The album featured an unexpected bluesy rock version of The Beatles' "Day Tripper".
"Long Way From Home"
Whitesnake's second album, 1979's Lovehunter, featured the minor hit "Long Way From Home"
"Fool For Your Loving"
Album three Ready an' Willing was Whitesnake's breakthrough album. Released in 1980, it peaked at #6 on the UK charts and featured the sizeable UK hit "Fool For Your Loving", which would be the band's first minor US hit, and subsequently re-recorded for their massive 1989 album Slip of the Tongue.
"Don't Break My Heart Again"
1981's Come an' Get It followed the double live album Live... In the Heart of The City, which peaked at 5 in the UK charts and consolidated their success. Come an' Get It did even better, reaching #2. By now drummer Ian Paice was in the band, making it three Deep Purple members. The first single "Don't Break My Heart Again" was another UK Top 20 hit.
"Here I Go Again"
1982's Saints & Sinners was the last album by the band's original incarnation; indeed a markedly different line-up had formed before it was even completed. Only Moody, Murray and Lord would remain. The original version of "Here I Go Again" was the big hit this time, and the album reached #9 in the UK.
"Slow An' Easy"
1984's subtly titled Slide It In saw Whitesnake signed to Geffen in the US and making serious inroads there. It was the last album to feature to feature Micky Moody and Neil Murray, although the US release adds extra parts from new guitarist John Sykes, previously of a late line-up of Thin Lizzy. The album also featured new drummer, the legendary Cozy Powell. "Slow An' Easy" would be the band's first Top 20 US hit single (in 1985), and the album would crack the US Top 40.
Slide It In has been reissued as a 35th Anniversery edition on double red vinyl! Get your copy here.
"Is This Love"
With 1987's self-titled album, Coverdale discovered hair bleach and Whitesnake broke internationally. The album reached #2 in the US, and achieved their first chart placements in Australia. The new version of "Here I Go Again" and the glossy power ballad "Is This Love" were the big hits; the former reached #1 in the US, and the latter #2. The album was mixed by Keith Olson, best known for his work with Fleetwood Mac, and upon its completion, Coverdale let the entire band go. The new line-up, featuring guitarists Adrian Vandenberg and Vivian Campbell bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge appeared in the music videos, establishing the band's immaculately coiffed new look.
"The Deeper The Love"
1989's Slip of the Tongue reached #10 in both the UK and the US, but only just cracked the Top 40 here. The re-recorded "Fool For Your Love" reached #2 in the US, and "The Deeper The Love" made it to #4. Steve Vai featured on guitar; Adrian Vandenberg having been sidelined with a finger injury. After touring the album, Coverdale called an end to the band, and was soon working with Jimmy Page as Coverdale-Page.
"Too Many Tears"
Conceived initially as a David Coverdale solo album, 1997's Restless Heart was released as David Coverdale & Whitesnake, but not even released in the US. The album saw Coverdale back working and writing with guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, and reached #34 in the UK. The first single "Too Many Tears" failed to make the Top 40.
"Lay Down Your Love"
After a 10 year absence, Coverdale returned with a new Whitesnake in 2008. Good To Be Bad picked up where they'd left off in the UK at least – there it reached #7 and won the Classic Rock Award for "Album of the Year". "Lay Down Your Love" was the first of four singles.
"Love Will Set you Free"
2011's Forevermore kept Whitesnake's hard rock heart pumping. The album reached #33 in the UK and saw the band back in the US Top 50. The first single was "Love Will Set You Free".
Nothing to do with Prince, 2015's The Purple Album saw Coverdale revisiting material he'd originally recorded in his time with Deep Purple. It was well-received and made the UK Top 20. It kicked off with a new version of the mighty "Burn".
"Shut Up & Kiss Me"
2019's Flesh & Blood is Whitesnake's latest, and the album they're touring. It entered the UK charts at #7, proving that these guys won't be kept down. "Shut Up & Kiss Me" shows that Coverdale has every intention of aging disgracefully, and its LA hard rock vibe promises a good time for those who remember the band's late 80s glory days!
Scorpions and Whitesnake Australian Tour 2020
Wednesday, 19th February
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, 22nd February
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Monday, 24th February
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane