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Thread: Whitesnake

  1. #1

    Whitesnake

    I wasn't sure if Whitesnake were suitably "metal" enough for the "Everything Metal" thread, so here we with this thread.

    I've always known the earlier records were supposed to be pretty good. I'm talking about the ones where 50% of the group had been in Deep Purple, and before the hairspray fumes went to David Coverdale's head. But again, I've never really heard much of those records, apart from Live...In The Heart Of The City, which I fished out of a cutout cassette bin at a grocery store near Indianapolis, I think, back in the late 90's. Well, today, I've added Saints And Sinners to the collection.

    This was the band's sixth album, and the last one that had Ian Paice, former Gilgamesh/National Health bassist Neil Murray, and guitarist Bernie Marsden on it. Apparently, they got most of the way through recording it when Coverdale put the band on hold, because of managerial problems, and also because his daughter was sick.

    When the band reconvened, Coverdale summarily kicked Paice, Murray and Marsden from the band, replacing them with, respectively, Cozy Powell, Colin Hodgkinson, and Mel Galley.

    Anyhow, I think this is a pretty decent record. It's not as mind blowing as Deep Purple had been, but it's got some good songs on it. The guitar work of course is top notch. It seems like Jon Lord mostly takes a back seat role on this record, but you still hear that classic Hammond organ in the mix, and there's a piano solo or two on here too.

    This is also the album with the original versions of Here I Go Again and Crying In The Rain, which were later re-recorded for the infamous eponymous album of 1987. I think the versions here are maybe a bit better. One thing I like is hearing Jon Lord's organ on the intro of Here I Go Again, rather than the synth used on the 1987 version.

    So I think in the coming months I'm going to be exploring more of their earlier records.

  2. #2
    A far better band than its dismal PE reputation might suggest. Dave is a unique singer, a good songwriter and he was pretty capable/lucky when choosing the crew for his band. Look at the 1987 line-up: John Sykes, Aynsley Dunbar, Neil Murray - that's a good personnel for a progressive rock band. The album is not good, its intentions of hitting the American mainstream are straightforward but still the playing is fantastic, particularly Sykes, an ace on heavy guitars.

    Whitesnake were heavily influenced by Free and tried to continue the heavy-blues- soul tradition of the latter. Live in the Heart of the City is by far their finest achievement in my opinion. They were generally a band of good songs rather than good albums, and of the studio albums I would suggest Ready And Willing and Come And Get It. It starts going downhill from there and by 1987 it's already gone.

    I still keep a lot of respect for old Dave. His obsession with heart-breaking romances is genuine and he did swim the tide upwards in the late 70's when hard rock and the blues were completely off fashion.

    PS Of course the original version of Here I Go Again should have never been touched with the 1987 album. But the profit was great...

  3. #3
    Member frinspar's Avatar
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    I do like the pre-1987 WS stuff for the most part. Even the bones of the 87 album are solid, but it's undeniably cheesy.

    Check out Sykes' band, Blue Murder, that he formed after Coverdale shit where he ate again. But only the first album. Seriously.

  4. #4
    The drummer in my band has a British compilation of very early stuff, first three albums plus a bit from the 1980 live album. He loaned it to me, and I have to admit, for what this is, it's pretty good bluesy rock. Coverdale is a good vocalist, if you can get past some of his lyrics, the music on this compilation was a pretty listenable overall. Unlike a lot of blues rock, they had a knack for melody and the songs seem to pop a bit more than a lot of sludgy 70s stoner rock. Get much past those early albums, though, and I lose interest. But I give them props for their take on hard-rocking blues on that early stuff.

    We actually cover their cover of Ain't No Love (In the Heart of the City) and will soon add Fool For Your Loving to our set. I love singing Ain't No Love, and our drummer will sing Fool.

    So, props for me on their very early stuff. The less said about the later albums, the better, imo.

    Bill

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by frinspar View Post

    Check out Sykes' band, Blue Murder, that he formed after Coverdale shit where he ate again. But only the first album. Seriously.
    Yeah, that first Blue Murder record (never heard what came after) was fantastic. Carmine Appice (who was the drummer on that record) was asked on That Metal Show if he thought there were any bands he was in that he felt had "unfinished business", i.e. bands he'd like to play in again, and he named BB&A and Blue Murder as the two he felt "weren't done" or whatever.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, that first Blue Murder record (never heard what came after) was fantastic. Carmine Appice (who was the drummer on that record) was asked on That Metal Show if he thought there were any bands he was in that he felt had "unfinished business", i.e. bands he'd like to play in again, and he named BB&A and Blue Murder as the two he felt "weren't done" or whatever.
    Much as I love Tony Franklin, I've never gotten much mileage from Blue Murder. Very pedestrian 80s hair metal to my ears. Sampling some on Youtube now, and I'm not getting the love for this band. Sorry Tony.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    Much as I love Tony Franklin, I've never gotten much mileage from Blue Murder. Very pedestrian 80s hair metal to my ears. Sampling some on Youtube now, and I'm not getting the love for this band. Sorry Tony.

    Bill
    I have a love / hate relationship with the album. Half of it is really good and half of it is not so hot. I saw them live opening for Billy Squire and they kicked ass.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by frinspar View Post
    I do like the pre-1987 WS stuff for the most part. Even the bones of the 87 album are solid, but it's undeniably cheesy.

    Check out Sykes' band, Blue Murder, that he formed after Coverdale shit where he ate again. But only the first album. Seriously.
    Yes, that first Blue Murder is great.

  9. #9
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    I saw Whitesnake a couple of times in 80/81 with Moody/Marsden then Moody/Galley. Also saw the Tygers of Pan Tang with John Sykes at Hammersmith Odeon - happy days.

  10. #10
    One song off of S & S that I quite liked is Dancing Girls. Loved how Coverdale "fixed" the lyrics to Here I Am Again instead of "Like a hobo...".

    Saw Whitesnake on the Slide It In tour opening for Quiet Riot and TBH, they killed QR. I saw QR many years later, slightly different lineup and at a state fair, well, they were really fun that night. I'm still a little biased as SII goes as it's the first WS album I ever had but the songs are not all that bad and I liked that lineup.

    Fun trivia is the older sister on The Goldberg's has a poster that is the inside cover of WS Live....In The Heart Of The City on her wall.
    Carry On My Blood-Ejaculating Son - JKL2000

  11. #11
    Ready An' Willing is their finest hour in my opinion. As far as studio albums are concerned...
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

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    I don't find their MTV-friendly revamp as irksome as some others of the era, because the dreaded 'song doctors' are not present. I also think it's aged better musically. But I definitely preferred how Coverdale sang earlier on. It does seem that his late 80s shrieking did his voice few favours.

    Talk about the lyrics...some of the stage banter on Live At The Heart Of The City also hasn't aged too well, shall we say.

    Controversially perhaps, I also like the Coverdale/Page album, apart from stuff like 'Feelin' Hot' which feels like the worst aspects of later Whitesnake. But I really enjoy much of the album every time I play it.

  13. #13
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Controversially perhaps, I also like the Coverdale/Page album, apart from stuff like 'Feelin' Hot' which feels like the worst aspects of later Whitesnake. But I really enjoy much of the album every time I play it.
    The last three tracks take on a more epic approach, which got my attention. And "Shake My Tree" got played by Page and Plant on their '98 tour.

    I like the early Whitesnake best, though you have to turn off part of your brain to avoid the lyrics. There was an album from 2008 that seemed to be a callback to those days. It still had a little too much gloss but damn there were some asskickers on that album. Turn this one up.

    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I don't find their MTV-friendly revamp as irksome as some others of the era, because the dreaded 'song doctors' are not present. I also think it's aged better musically. But I definitely preferred how Coverdale sang earlier on. It does seem that his late 80s shrieking did his voice few favours.
    .
    Yeah, that's a good point. They never stooped to doing any of those horrendous Diane Warren, Desmond Child or Holly Knight songs.

    As far as the "late 80's shrieking" goes, I guess that was around the time people started calling him David Coverversion, because it seemed like he was trying to emulate Robert Plant (as a lot of people did during that era).

    you have to turn off part of your brain to avoid the lyrics.
    Well, you can say that about a lot of music, including a lot of art rock. That's the brilliant thing about Magma: Christian Vander gives you a summary of what's happening in each piece, and because the words are things that he made up, he can bypass having to write stuff that sounds hackneyed or whatever to everyone else.

  15. #15
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Whitesnake wasn't a "metal" band until the "success of '87," when David bought a blow dryer. I find it slightly ironic that Trapeze guitarist Mel Galley ended up in Whitesnake. Glenn muscling in on David's lead vocal duties was a constant bone of contention in Deep Purple. Richie of course sided with David, because that's specifically why David was hired.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    Whitesnake wasn't a "metal" band until the "success of '87," when David bought a blow dryer. I find it slightly ironic that Trapeze guitarist Mel Galley ended up in Whitesnake. Glenn muscling in on David's lead vocal duties was a constant bone of contention in Deep Purple. Richie of course sided with David, because that's specifically why David was hired.
    You bring up something I always found curious about the 80's British hard rock scene, which is that was quite incestuous, if you will. Everytime someone needed a new bass player or drummer, they seemed to go to their address book (and it seemed like everyone had the same address book) and call soemone who was already "famous".

    Cases in point:

    Roger Glover joined Rainbow, which was the weirdest of all if you know the circumstances behind how and why Roger left Deep Purple back in 1973 (basically Ritchie gave the rest of the band an ultimatum: either he goes or I do!)

    Cozy Powell drummed with Rainbow, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (yeah, yeah, there was that ELPowell deal, too, but that's a little outside the scope of what I'm talking about...or maybe it's not, now that I think about it)

    Neil Murray played bass with Whitesnake (two separate stints, too), Gary Moore and Black Sabbath

    Ian Paice drummed with Whitesnake and Gary Moore

    Bob Daisley played bass with Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Ozzy, and Gary Moore

    Black Sabbath had two...no, three different singers (count 'em! Three!) who had been in one band or another with Ritchie Blackmore (that would be Dio, Gillan and Hughes if you've lost count)

    Don Airey played with Rainbow, Ozzy, and Whitesnake (and then much later, became the only not named Jon Lord to play keyboards in Deep Purple)

    and so on. It was like a bunch of frat brothers all hiring each other when there was an opening in any given band.

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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    Richie of course sided with David, because that's specifically why David was hired.
    I've always preferred Coverdale's voice to Hughes' anyway. I like the latter on things like 'This Time Around' (his best work in the band, IMHO...even though it's not exactly typical Deep Purple) but live in particular I find his yelping impossible to take. His repeated high A's on the live versions of 'Burn' are just ghastly to my taste, sorry!

    Coverdale's, shall we say, unique lyrical gifts have obscured what a great singer he can be, I think. Even on Coverdale/Page where his voice is somewhat grainier, I love what he does on 'Take Me For A Little While'.

    I have never heard Slip Of The Tongue beyond a couple of tracks. I always got the impression it was a relative bomb- creatively and commercially- after what had preceded it. I certainly didn't like the metalled-up 'Fool For Your Loving'.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I
    I have never heard Slip Of The Tongue beyond a couple of tracks. I always got the impression it was a relative bomb- creatively and commercially- after what had preceded it. I certainly didn't like the metalled-up 'Fool For Your Loving'.
    Without looking it up on Wikipedia, I'm reasonably certain it didn't shift anywhere the number of units that the eponymous album had. That's the weird thing about the music biz: I was watching a program on VH-1, and they were interviewing Carnie and Wendy Wilson. Carnie's talking about the second Wilson/Phillips album, which sold something like 3,000,000 copies. She said she didn't consider it a flop because it went triple platinum, but the record company did, because their first album sold 10,000,000 copies.

    Thus one suspects that Slip Of The Tongue probably sold a respectable number of units for a rather mainstream-ish metal record, Jon Kalonder and his henchmen probably deemed it a failure because of how big the 1987 record had been.

    Slip Of The Tongue was a weird record. Apparently, Coverdale and Adrian Vandenberg wrote most of the songs together, but before they could actually record anything, Vandenberg injured his hand and couldn't play. So they had to bring in Steve Vai to play all the guitars on the record, because Coverdale didn't want to wait (or possibly couldn't, contractual speaking) for Ade to recover.

    And ya know, another weird thing about that part of Whitesnake's career was that Coverdale actually fired the entire band that played on the 1987 album. Actually, I read one interview with John Sykes, where he said that as soon as they were done cutting the basic tracks, David fired Aynsley Dunbar. Then, once Neil Murray was done doing his bass parts, he got fired too. John got an inkling of what his future in the band was gonna be, so he quit, but then came back, but got fired anyway. I remember an interview a few years later, where he mentioned that David buried some of his solos in the mix.

    So, the band that you see in the videos for that record (Rudy Sarzo on bass, Tommy Aulderidge on drums, and both Vandenberg and Viv Campbell on guitars), none of those guys other than David actually played on the album. The lone exception (apparently) being the guitar solo in Here I Go Again, which was played by Adrian Vandenberg.

    Another weird quirk was someone had this idea that there should also be a "radio version" for Here I Go Again, which had a different drummer (Denny Carmasi) and guitarist (Dan Huff, who I believe is a studio guitarist) in place of Dunbar and Vandenberg. I don't think I ever actually heard that version, I only know the version that was in the video (which is the one from the album), I might have heard it on the radio at the time, but it's been so long, I don't remember.

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    Yeah there were two 'updated' versions of 'Here I Go Again'. One began with just keyboard/vocals (like the original 1982 one did with the organ/vocals) but the other kicked off with the full band playing. I don't know which was the single/radio version or whatever though.

  20. #20
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Roger Glover joined Rainbow, which was the weirdest of all if you know the circumstances behind how and why Roger left Deep Purple back in 1973 (basically Ritchie gave the rest of the band an ultimatum: either he goes or I do!)
    When I first saw DP's King of Dreams video on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, I thought I was watching a Rainbow video. There was Richie, Roger, and Joe Lynn Turner. It wasn't until the camera was on Jon and Ian I realized it was in fact Deep Purple.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Yeah there were two 'updated' versions of 'Here I Go Again'. One began with just keyboard/vocals (like the original 1982 one did with the organ/vocals) but the other kicked off with the full band playing. I don't know which was the single/radio version or whatever though.
    The first version of Here I Go Again had the line "Like a hobo I was born to walk alone." The updated version changed it to "Like a drifter I was born to walk alone." That alone was a vast improvement.

    The new version also began with just keyboards, but they were the breathy Roland Linear Algorithm sound, typical of the late '80s. The video depicts both guitarists and the bass player playing only keyboards.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    When I first saw DP's King of Dreams video on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, I thought I was watching a Rainbow video. There was Richie, Roger, and Joe Lynn Turner. It wasn't until the camera was on Jon and Ian I realized it was in fact Deep Purple.



    The first version of Here I Go Again had the line "Like a hobo I was born to walk alone." The updated version changed it to "Like a drifter I was born to walk alone." That alone was a vast improvement.

    The new version also began with just keyboards, but they were the breathy Roland Linear Algorithm sound, typical of the late '80s. The video depicts both guitarists and the bass player playing only keyboards.
    As was said earlier, there were actually three versions of the song:

    1. The original that's on Saints And Sinners

    2. The one the eponymous album, which has Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Adrian Vandenberg on guitar

    3. The "radio version" which was contemporaneous with the second, which as JJ says, kicks off with the full band, instead of the keyboards/vocal intro of the other two. This one also has Denny Carmassi on drums (wasn't he in Heart?) and Dan Huff on guitar.
    When I first saw DP's King of Dreams video on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, I thought I was watching a Rainbow video. There was Richie, Roger, and Joe Lynn Turner. It wasn't until the camera was on Jon and Ian I realized it was in fact Deep Purple.
    That was one song I never saw on MTV. The first time I remember seeing that video was on the Heavy Metal Pioneers doc that came out on VHS, apparently contemporaneous with the release of that particular album, as that's where the story ends. I think they only used a couple fragments of the song, at the end of the video.

    Later on, I got a bootleg VHS of the Cal Jam show (this was way before the DVD came out), which had as a bonus at the end, something from...what was the name of that metal orientated "video magazine" (each "issue" was put out on VHS, I thikn it was called Hard And Heavy, I remember a few such video magazines back in the 80's). Anyway, that was the only time I've ever seen the full video. As I recall, there's a point in the video where you see the guy jumping or falling from the top of the roller coaster, and I reckoned that might have been why I didn't see it on MTV, because someone decided that was "too controversial" or whatever.

    But as Jon Lord would say, "But anyway", you're right, that band practically was Rainbow, just as the early Whitesnake practically was Deep Purple. In fact, I remember a review at the time, where this critic suggested the band sounded more like Rainbow than what one normally associates with Deep Purple, because of Turner's presence.
    Last edited by GuitarGeek; 05-05-2019 at 04:03 PM.

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    Never bothered with Slaves And Masters because I wasn't a particular fan of Joe Lynn Turner's period in Rainbow, really.

    Gillan well remembers having to then 'audition' to get his old role back when that fell apart.

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    i am spending this morning in company of MOGWAi, ROLO TOMASSi, CARDiACS and BOSSK; however, dare i admit i absolutely love this band? “live … in the heart of the city” is a cathartic live album, as is the still absolutely gargantuan sounding “1987”; even if only to encompass both the european DP offshoot band as well as the american_ized group. what a career auntie cov has had; one of the most striking, recognizable, honest an’ intellectually challenging singers, performers, lyricists, bonvivants and raconteurs ever. the VAI//TSNAKE config 30 years ago was a mismatch of herculean proportions of which the only logical consequence had to be the ascension of seattle rock but even this was a blast to hear and see. screw the #OldWhiteMan accusations so en vogue of late; i have always been no less than entertained. i consequently went off them during later years as my preferences turned more left field but i always come back to their vintage stuff with no less than love an‘ affection. any “guilty pleasure” ref hereby staunchly refused.

  24. #24
    I followed Whitesnake up until Saints & Sinners, at which point I got off the bus, so I missed (or rather, didn't miss) the hairdryer and spandex years. Saw them three or four times at the Glasgow Apollo; they were always a good live act, better than their albums which were so-so, although I haven't listened to them in the intervening thirty-five(!) years, so maybe I should pull them out and give them a whirl.

    Coverdale was probably a better talent than the rock-god persona he projected. His second solo album, 'Northwinds', shows a more introspective side of him.

    Blackmore, Gillan and Coverdale all seem to have been prone to sacking band members, or even dissolving their bands, at the drop of a hat; must be something in the water.

  25. #25
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    Re: Slip of the Tongue
    Best track for these eyes is closer 'Sailing Ships'

    Gets points knocked off for closing shreik though...
    No one plans to take the path that brings you lower

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