Infobox musical artist |
Name = Whitesnake
Img_capt = Whitesnake live in
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
North Yorkshire, England
Years_active = 1977–1991
Label = Worldwide except USA:
URL = http://www.whitesnake.com
David Coverdale Doug Aldrich Reb Beach Uriah Duffy Chris Frazier Timothy Drury
Past_members = See: Whitesnake band members
Whitesnake are an English
hard rockband, founded in 1977 by David Coverdale(formerly of Deep Purple). They were active primarily in the 1980s, but still tour, albeit with an entirely new line-up (bar Coverdale), to this day. The magazine "Boff" has numerous Whitesnake references.
Some of the more notable musicians who have joined the band for a time were:
Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell, Aynsley Dunbar, Rudy Sarzo, John Sykes, Adrian Vandenberg, Vivian Campbell, Tommy Aldridgeand Steve Vai.
The band's early material has been compared by critics to Deep Purple, not only because three past members of the band were once in Deep Purple, but also because of their sound and influences.Fact|date=May 2008 Later, the band took on a sound more in line with the melodic hard rock popular in the mid to late eighties.
David Coverdale officially founded Whitesnake in 1978 . However, the core lineup had been working as his backing band (he called them "The White Snake Band" on the "White Snake" album tour, and they retained the title) on tour prior to Whitesnake's official founding. They toured with him in support for both of the solo albums he released between exiting Deep Purple and founding Whitesnake—"White Snake" (1977) and "
First era (1978–1982)
During the band's early years, their music was primarily
blues rock(although Coverdale described Whitesnake's early style as "progressive R&B") [http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=4415 KNAC article] ] . At this time, the band was made up of David Coverdale, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Neil Murrayand drummer David "Duck" Dowle with keyboardist Brian Johnstone. Johnston would soon be replaced by ex-Procol Harum member Pete Solley, who in turn was replaced by ex-Deep Purple legend (and Coverdale bandmate) Jon Lordduring sessions for the first LP.
Their first 7" EP, "Snakebite" (1978), includes the well known track, "
Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City", a re-arrangement of Bobby "Blue" Bland's song, which was the first hit from the band. The album had varied success throughout the UK. Subsequent reissues of this EP included four bonus tracks from Coverdale's second solo album " Northwinds" produced by Roger Glover. All four tracks from the original EP have been included in a 2006 reissue of "Trouble".
The full-length debut, "Trouble", came out later that fall and made it to #50 in the UK. It was a blues rock/R&B–styled album with some
Led Zeppelinand Free influences. Coverdale steered away from any Deep Purple connotations during this time period. Whitesnake toured Europe to promote the album and their first live album, the Japanese-only "Live at Hammersmith" (1979), was recorded on this tour.
Whitesnake released "
Lovehunter" in 1979, which courted controversy due to its risque album cover, by artist Chris Achilleos, which featured an illustration of a naked woman straddling a coiled snake. The album made the UK Top 30 and contained the minor hit "Long Way From Home" (#55). Shortly after that Ian Paicereplaced David Dowle in the band giving Whitesnake three ex-Deep Purple members. The new line-up recorded the 1980 release " Ready an' Willing" which became a breakthrough hit for the band reaching the UK Top 10 and even breaking the U.S. Top 100. The single "Fool For Your Loving", which the band originally wrote for B.B. King, but kept for themselves, made #13 in the UK and #53 in the States. The title track also hit #43 in the UK. Following the tour in support of "Ready and Willing", which included a headline appearance at the Sunday night of the 1980 Reading Festival(highlights of which were subsequently broadcast by BBC Radio One), the band released " Live...In The Heart Of The City". This album utilised recordings from 1978 and 1980 and landed at #5 in the UK.
In 1981 the band recorded "
Come an' Get It" which climbed to #2 in the UK and produced the Top 20 smash "Don't Break My Heart Again" and the Top 40 hit "Would I Lie To You". The album flopped in the U.S. however, where they failed to tour often and seemed out of touch musically.
During 1982 Coverdale took time off to look after his sick daughter. He decided to temporarily break up the band.
When David Coverdale returned to music he reformed Whitesnake. The first major change in the band's line-up occurred right after the recording of 1982's "Saints & Sinners" album, when half of the band (
lead guitarist Bernie Marsden, drummer Ian Paice, and bass player Neil Murray) were fired (or "quit" depending on who you ask). Marsden was replaced by Mel Galley(of Trapeze fame), Murray was replaced with Colin Hodgkinson, and Cozy Powellbecame the new drummer. Powell was famous for his solo hits, as well as time with Rainbow and The Jeff Beck Group. "Saints An' Sinners" was another Top 10 UK album and contained the hit "Here I Go Again". The new lineup toured in 1982–83 to support the album and headlined the Monsters Of Rock Festival at Castle Donnington in August of 1983. The new single "Guilty Of Love" reached #31 in the UK, tied into the appearance.
Shift from blues to rock music
After another major personnel shift (including the firing of Moody and hiring of
John Sykesand firing of Hodgkinson and re-hiring of Neil Murray) and a major recording deal with the Geffen Recordslabel, Whitesnake released a partially re-recorded and fully remixed version of " Slide It In" (guitar parts redone by Sykes and bass parts by Murray) for the U.S. market in 1984 (released April 1984). Coverdale initially hated the new Geffen re-recording of "Slide It In", as he had found nothing wrong with the original, famously declaring that it had "lost its British bollocks". Despite his misgivings, however, the album did manage to give Whitesnake some much-needed U.S. exposure, and David soon altered his opinion. "Slide It In" later went double platinum in the U.S. on the back of "1987". The "Slide It In" album spawned the American album-oriented rockhits, "Slow an' Easy", "Love Ain't No Stranger" as well as the album's title track—although in Europe the band had a run with other songs, "Guilty of Love" and "Give Me More Time". While touring the first few months in support of the album, Mel Galley was forced to leave in the spring of 1984 due to an accident involving a broken arm, leaving John Sykes solely handling the guitars for the rest of the dates. A few weeks after Galley's departure, the next to leave was Jon Lord, who left to reform Deep Purple MKII. Keyboard duty was then handled by an off-stage keyboardist, Richard Bailey.
From blues-rock to hard rock
At the end of the tour (their last gig being the monumental Rock in Rio festival, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a crowd of over 100,000 people),
Cozy Powellleft to join Emerson, Lake & Powell. Veteran drummer Aynsley Dunbar(of Journey and Jefferson Starshipfame) was brought in for the rehearsals and recordings of the 1987 "Whitesnake" album as was ex-Ozzy and Rainbow keyboardist Don Airey.
Their next album, "Whitesnake" (entitled "1987" in Europe and "Serpens Albus" in Japan) marked the band's first mainstream success in the U.S. Thanks to the guidance of
A&Rguru John Kalodner, the album sold over eight million copies in the U.S. and also pushed sales of "Slide It In" from its RIAA certified gold status to over two million copies. The album continued to sell throughout 1987 and 1988 and hit #2 in the U.S. The group were slammed as being Led Zeppelin clones at this time, with former Zep frontman Robert Plant referring to Coverdale as "David Coverversion" in interviews. Regardless, the band had never sounded heavier.
The album's biggest hits were the
power ballad, "Is This Love" and the #1 hit single, " Here I Go Again" (a re-recording of a song on "Saints & Sinners" in 1982). Other hit singles from the album were "Still of the Night" (#79) and "Give Me All Your Love" (#48 in 1988).
The album's exposure was boosted by heavy airplay of its videos on
MTV, which featured actress Tawny Kitaen, whom Coverdale later married. None of the band members who played on the album appeared in these videos, as Coverdale had fired all of the band members ( John Sykes, Neil Murray and Aynsley Dunbar) prior to the album's release, except Adrian Vandenberg, who had been hired to complete the album after the others were dismissed. Vandenberg's only work on the album was the solo on "Here I Go Again" though he became a full time member of the band shortly afterwards.
The resulting music videos from "Whitesnake" featured new band members
Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, and Vivian Campbell. Sarzo and Aldridge had played together in Ozzy's band and Campbell had been with Dio for many years.
The band's line-up changed yet again for the 1989 album "
Slip of the Tongue", when Vivian Campbell left in late 1988 (he later joined Def Leppard). While preparing for the recording of the album, Adrian Vandenberg suffered a debilitating hand injury related to isometric exercises and was unable to participate in the sessions. With all of the foundation tracks completed, guitarist Steve Vaiwas called in to record all the guitar parts. The resulting album sold three million copies and hit #10 in U.S. and UK. Hit singles included a re-working of "Fool For Your Loving" (#37 U.S., #43 UK) the melodic "The Deeper The Love" (#28 U.S., #35 UK in 1990) and "Now You're Gone"(#96 U.S., #31 UK in 1990).
After a period of inactivity, Whitesnake officially went on hiatus in 1991. Coverdale decided to try working with Led Zeppelin guitarist
Jimmy Pageon their " Coverdale-Page" project in 1992. His voice and style had in the past been compared to Robert Plant (also of Led Zeppelin), which may have inspired this. The album became a #5 platinum record upon release in 1993.
Despite the album's success, the Coverdale-Page tour failed to attract ticket sales outside of Japan. Tickets were sold for some USA dates, but the tour plans were canceled and no shows done, right after tickets had gone on sale Robert Plant quickly announced a solo USA tour and put his dates in the same cities within as few days of the Coverdale-Page dates as he could. Plant did perform his scheduled USA tour. Due to the collapse of Coverdale-Page, Page decided to tour as
Page and Plantwith Robert Plant, they performed "Shake My Tree" as part of the show. Coverdale revived Whitesnake. The initial success of Page and Plant made Coverdale very conscious of his own lack of success, and just as Page brought back his best known musical partner (Robert Plant), Coverdale brought back the name that brought him to his greatest fame: Whitesnake.
First revival—"Greatest Hits" tour (1994)
In 1994, "Whitesnake: Greatest Hits" was released. As well as the release of the compilation, a new incarnation of the band went on a short tour in Europe (to help support poor sales), with former
Rattguitarist Warren DeMartiniplaying lead guitar and Denny Carmassion drums. Adrian Vandenberg, one of Whitesnake's guitarists during the 1987–1991 period, also returned to the fold as did Sarzo. Paul Mirkovich was now on keyboards. Following this the band returned to hiatus upon losing their recording contract.
Second revival—"Starkers in Tokyo" and "Restless Heart" (1997–1998)
In 1997, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Whitesnake's popular self-titled album, Coverdale and Vandenberg released an
unplugged-style show recorded in Japan entitled " Starkers in Tokyo". This reunion inspired them to then work together on a new album—"Restless Heart". This was originally to be a solo album for Coverdale, but record company pressures made him release it under the Whitesnake name (similar to the case of Seventh Starby Black Sabbath, originally a Tony Iommi solo project). However, despite a release in both Japan and Europe, it was never available officially in the United States. The album marked a return to the band's earlier R&B stylings. The album peaked in the UK Top 40 and produced the bluesy ballad "Too Many Tears" (#46 UK). The album featured Coverdale, Carmassi, Vandenberg and Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt and keyboardist Brett Tuggle who, like Carmassi had played in Coverdale/Page. The touring lineup featured Coverdale, Vandenberg, Carmassi, ex-Mr. Mister guitarist Steve Farris, keyboardist Derek Hilland and ex-The Firm and Blue Murder bassist Tony Franklin. Coverdale folded the band at the end of the tour.
25th anniversary reformation (2002–present)
In December 2002, Coverdale reunited Whitesnake for a 25 year anniversary tour. By the time of the anniversary in 2003, the band was ready. Joining Coverdale was;
Doug Aldrich(guitar), Reb Beach(guitar), Marco Mendoza(bass), Tommy Aldridge(drums), and Timothy Drury(keyboards). That same year, they headlined the " Rock Never Stops Tour", with other popular 1980s rock bands. This line-up remained stable until early 2005, when Mendoza left to pursue the Soul SirkUSproject and was replaced by Uriah Duffy.
In February 2006, Whitesnake released a live DVD titled, "Live... In The Still of the Night", and announced a Spring/Summer tour taking in Japan and Europe.
In June 2006, it was announced Coverdale had signed Whitesnake to a new record deal, with Steamhammer/SPV records, to release a double live album entitled, "", on
November 27, 2006( November 24in Germany, Switzerland and Austria). It was made up of recordings from tours since the reformation in 2003. It also included four new studio tracks (the first new studio recordings since 1997's " Restless Heart"): "Ready to Rock", "If You Want Me (I'll Come Running)", "All I Want Is You" and "Dog". These songs have been described by Coverdale as "three balls-to-the-walls rockers and a ballad". [ [http://www.spv.de/eng/whitesnake SPV website] ]
In June 2007 the band released a dual CD/DVD titled "1987 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition" to mark the 20th anniversary of the mega-selling album "1987". The album was remastered along with a host of bonus material like four live tracks from the recent Shadow Of The Blues Live set. It also includes the four promo videos for the album on the DVD. [ [http://www.deep-purple.net/related-news/david-coverdale.htm DeepPurple.net news] - 26.03.07]
December 26 2007the band unveiled drummer Chris Frazier as the latest member of Whitesnake, replacing Tommy Aldridge. [ [http://whitesnake.com/new/cfinterview/cfindex.html Chris Frazier interview] - New drummer Chris Frazier interviewed on Whitesnake.com]
Whitesnake played at the
Rock2Wgtntwo day festival held on 22 Marchand 23 March 2008; also featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Poison, Alice Cooperand Lordi, with special effects by Peter Jackson's Academy Award winning WETA Workshop of " Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong" fame.
April 22, 2008, the band released a studio album called " Good to Be Bad", which reached the position No. 5 at the UK album chart. [ [http://www.deep-purple.net/related-news/david-coverdale.htm Deep Purple Appreciation Society. Will Coverdale Top The Charts?] ]
The band will join Def Leppard in summer of 2008 for UK dates.
Black Stone Cherrywill open the UK arena shows in June, while the second UK leg, comprising of three concerts in July will see Thunder open the shows.
Popular culture references
In the "
Venture Bros" episode " Fallen Arches", Dr Venture tries to teach his son Dean Venture about relationships and sex in an awkward montage that ends with Dr Venture making pelvic thrusts in the air and semi-hysterically asking Dean, "And there she was, writhing on top of the car! What was David Coverdale to do?" The scene was a reference to Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" video.
They are the favorite band of "
Family Guy" character Lois Griffin.
The Simpsons" " Treehouse of Horror X" episode, Dick Clarkcelebrates the millennium with his New Year's Rockin' Eve special in Springfield instead of Times Square. He introduces the band playing that night as Whitesnake, although the members do not seem to agree, believing that they are Poison, Quiet Riotand/or Ratt(as seen on the drums).
In "" Susan imitates how
Tawny Kitaenclimbs on the table in a Whitesnake video when making out with Ricky Bobby.
They are mentioned in the lyrics of "1985" by the band
Bowling For Soup.
When Lois Lane's character joined the "Smallville" ensemble, references were made early on to her extensive Whitesnake music collection. In the episode "Crimson" (Season 6) Lois gives Clark a mix CD of Whitesnake power ballads while temporarily under the influence of a "love lipstick". When she comes out of the love spell Clark gives her back the CD and she remarks that if she had given him a Whitesnake love collection she must have really liked him.
There is regular reference to Whitesnake in the movie "
Old School" starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughnand Will Ferrell.
In the computer game "World in Conflict" the song "Here I Go Again" can be heard from the headphones of a soldiers portable CD player in the final cutscene.
Gina Tribbiani, played by Drea de Matteoin the sitcom, "Joey", claims that Whitesnake is her favorite band.
BBC Threecomedy " Nighty Night", "Here I Go Again" is heard often as Jill's favourite song to drive to. Enrico Pucci, the main villain of Part 6 ( Stone Ocean) of the Japanese manga " JoJo's Bizarre Adventure", possesses a Stand named Whitesnake.
David Coverdale: lead vocals (1976–1982, 1982–1991, 1994, 1997–1998, 2002–present)
Doug Aldrich: lead & rhythm guitars (2002–present)
Reb Beach: lead & rhythm guitars (2002–present)
Uriah Duffy: bass (2005–present)
Timothy Drury: keyboards (2002–present)
Chris Frazier: drums (2007–present)
Adrian Vandenberg: guitar (1997-1998)
Adrian Vandenbergand Steve Farris: guitar (1997)
Adrian Vandenbergand Warren DeMartini: guitar (1994)
Adrian Vandenbergand Steve Vai: guitar (1989–1991)
Adrian Vandenbergand Vivian Campbell: guitar (1987–1988)
Adrian Vandenberg: guitar (1987)
John Sykes: guitar (1984-1987)
Mel Galleyand John Sykes: guitar (1983-1984)
Mick Moodyand Mel Galley: guitar (1982-1983)
Bernie Marsdenand Micky Moody: guitar (1978-1982)
Marco Mendoza: bass (2002–2005)
* Tony Franklin: bass (1997)
Guy Pratt: bass (1997)
Rudy Sarzo: bass (1987–1991, 1994)
Colin Hodgkinson: bass (1982–1983)
Neil Murray: bass (1978–1982, 1983–1987)
Tommy Aldridge: drums (1987–1991, 2002–2007)
Denny Carmassi: drums (1994, 1997), session drums (1987)
Aynsley Dunbar: drums (1985–1987)
Cozy Powell: drums (1982–1985)
Ian Paice: drums (1979–1982)
Dave Dowle: drums (1978–1979)
Brett Tuggle: keyboards (1997)
Paul Mirkovich: keyboards (1994)
Derek Hilland: keyboards (1997)
Don Airey: session keyboards (1985–1987, 1988–1989)
Bill Cuomo: session keyboards (1987)
Richard Bailey: keyboards (off-stage touring musician) (1984–1985)
Jon Lord: keyboards (1978–1982, 1982–1984)
Pete Solley: keyboards (1978)
Brian Johnstone: keyboards (1978)
* [http://www.whitesnake.com Official Website]
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