Whitesnake are an English hard rock band, founded in 1977 by David Coverdale (formerly of Deep Purple). The band's early material has been compared by critics to Deep Purple but by the mid eighties Whitesnake had moved away from the early blues-rock influenced heavy metal to a more commercial hard rock style.
They were recently named the 85th greatest hard rock band of all time by VH1.
David Coverdale founded Whitesnake in 1977. The core line-up had been working as his backing band The White Snake Band on the White Snake album tour and they retained the title before officially being known as Whitesnake. They toured with Coverdale as his support band and for both of the solo albums he released, White Snake and Northwinds, between exiting Deep Purple and founding Whitesnake. During the band's early years their music was primarily blues rock (although Coverdale described Whitesnake's early style as "progressive R&B") . At this time, the band was made up of David Coverdale, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Neil Murray and drummer David "Duck" Dowle with keyboardist Brian Johnston. Johnston would soon be replaced by Procol Harum organ player and keyboardist Pete Solley. Because of Solley's producing commitments he was replaced by the former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, during sessions for the first LP.
Snakebite, Trouble, Lovehunter and Ready an' Willing (1978?1980)
Whitesnake recorded the EP Snakebite which was released in 1978 and included a cover of a Bobby "Blue" Bland song "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City," which became the first hit from the band. The EP had some success in the UK and subsequent reissues of this EP included four bonus tracks from Coverdale's second solo album Northwinds produced by Roger Glover. A blues rock/R&B debut album Trouble, was released in the autumn of 1978 and peaked at #50 in the UK album charts. Whitesnake toured Europe to promote the album and their first live album Live at Hammersmith was recorded on this tour and released in Japan in 1979. Whitesnake released Lovehunter in 1979, which courted controversy due to its risqu? 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 which reached #55 in the single charts. Tracks from the EP Snakebite were included in a reissue of the album Trouble in 2006. Shortly after that Ian Paice replaced David Dowle 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 achieved a ranking in the US Billboard 100. The single Fool For Your Loving, which the band originally wrote for B.B. King, made #13 in the UK single charts and #53 in the US, and the title track also hit #43 in the UK charts. The Ready an' Willing tour included a headline appearance at the 1980 Reading Festival, highlights of which were broadcast by BBC Radio One in UK. The band released Live...In The Heart Of The City, which contained recordings made in 1978 and 1980 and achieved a #5 ranking in the UK album charts.
Come an' Get It and Saints & Sinners (1981?1983)
In 1981 the band recorded the album Come an' Get It which climbed to #2 in the UK album charts and produced the Top 20 hit "Don't Break My Heart Again" and the Top 40 hit "Would I Lie To You". The album flopped in the US. During 1982 Coverdale took time off to look after his sick daughter and decided to put Whitesnake on hold. When David Coverdale returned to music he reformed the band and after the recording of the album Saints & Sinners replaced Bernie Marsden, Ian Paice and bass player Neil Murray with Mel Galley from Trapeze, bassist Colin Hodgkinson and Cozy Powell became the new drummer. "Saints An' Sinners" was another Top 10 UK album and contained the hit "Here I Go Again". The new lineup toured in 1982?83, headlined the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donnington UK in August 1983 and the single "Guilty Of Love" reached #31 in the UK singles chart.
Slide It In and shift from Blues rock to Hard rock music (1983?1986)
After another personnel change replacing Moody with John Sykes and bringing back Neil Murray in place of Hodgkinson, they secured a major record deal with the Geffen label. A remixed version of Slide It In using guitar and bass by Sykes and Murray was released in US in April 1984. Despite Coverdale's misgivings regarding the lack of edge in these new tracks, Slide It In went double platinum in the US on the back of 1987. The Slide It In album led to the album-oriented rock hits in the US: Slow an' Easy, "Love Ain't No Stranger" as well as the album's title track. In Europe the band had success with other songs, Guilty of Love and Give Me More Time. While touring in spring 1984 Mel Galley suffered a broken arm in an accident, leaving John Sykes as the sole guitarist for the remaining dates. A few weeks later, Jon Lord left to reform Deep Purple MkII and keyboard player Richard Bailey was brought in. The tour ended with a performance in front of a crowd of over 100,000 people, at the Rock in Rio festival held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Galley remained a member -- "he's still getting paid," said Coverdale in an interview -- until he rashly discussed plans to reform Trapeze in an interview, and Coverdale then fired him.
The self-titled album and success in the US (1987?1988)
Cozy Powell left to join Emerson, Lake & Powell. Drummer Aynsley Dunbar, formerly of Journey, and keyboardist Don Airey, from the Ozzy Osbourne band and Rainbow, were brought in for the recording of the Whitesnake album in 1987. The album was entitled 1987 in Europe and Serpens Albus in Japan and marked the band's first mainstream success in the US and, with the guidance of A&R guru John Kalodner, sold over eight million copies in the US. The success of Whitesnake also pushed sales of Slide It In from its RIAA certified gold status to platinum status. The album continued to sell throughout 1987 and 1988 and peaked at #2 in the US album charts. The album's biggest hits were the power ballad #2 "Is This Love" and the #1 hit single Here I Go Again, a re-recording of the song originally on Saints & Sinners released 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 with the exception of Adrian Vandenberg, who had been hired to complete the album after the others had been fired by Coverdale. 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 also featured new band members Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, and Vivian Campbell.
Slip of the Tongue and more success (1988?1990)
Adrian Vandenberg and David Coverdale, Donnington, 1990.
Vivian Campbell left Whitesnake in late 1988 and band's line-up changed yet again for the 1989 album Slip of the Tongue. While preparing for the recording of the album, guitarist Adrian Vandenberg reportedly suffered a debilitating hand injury and Steve Vai was called in to record all the guitar parts. Slip of the Tongue sold three million copies and hit #10 in US and UK album charts. Successful singles included a re-working of "Fool For Your Loving" (#37 US and #43 UK), the melodic The Deeper The Love (#28 US and #35 UK) and Now You're Gone (#96 US and #31 UK).
Coverdale and Page (1991?1993)
After a period of inactivity Whitesnake officially went on hiatus in 1991. Coverdale recorded the album Coverdale-Page, with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page in 1992, which was released by EMI in UK and Geffen in USA during March 1993 and immediately became a platinum seller. The Coverdale-Page tour which followed failed to attract ticket sales outside of Japan and was canceled. Immediately Robert Plant's management announced a solo USA tour utilizing the existing Coverdale and Page dates already booked but this plan was scrapped. Page eventually toured as Page and Plant with Robert Plant and Coverdale revived Whitesnake.
Greatest Hits tour (1994)
A new line-up of the band was assembled and Whitesnake's Greatest Hits was released by Geffen in 1994. They embarked on a short tour in Europe, with former Ratt guitarist Warren DeMartini playing lead guitar, drummer Denny Carmassi, bassist Rudy Sarzo guitarist Adrian Vandenberg and keyboard player Paul Mirkovich before their recording contract with Geffen expired. Following this Whitesnake was in hiatus for three years.
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 show recorded in Japan entitled Starkers in Tokyo. This reunion inspired them to then work together on a new Whitesnake album Restless Heart. This was originally to be a solo album for Coverdale but the record company pressures released it under the Whitesnake name. However, despite a release in both Japan and Europe it was never available officially in the US. The album marked a return to the band's earlier R&B music. The album reached the UK Top 40 album chart and produced the blues ballad Too Many Tears which reached #46 UK singles chart. The album featured Coverdale, Carmassi, Vandenberg, Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt with keyboardist Brett Tuggle who had played with Coverdale and Page. The touring lineup featured Coverdale, Vandenberg, Carmassi, Mr Mister guitarist Steve Farris, keyboardist Derek Hilland and The Firm bassist Tony Franklin. Coverdale folded the band at the end of the tour.
25th anniversary reunion (2002?2005)
In December 2002 Coverdale reformed Whitesnake for Whitesnake's 25 year anniversary. Joining Coverdale for the 2003 tour were, guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach, bass player Marco Mendoza, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboard player Timothy Drury. During 2003 they headlined the Rock Never Stops Tour with other popular rock bands.
Live... In The Still of the Night, Live: In The Shadow of the Blues and new studio tracks (2005?2007)
The anniversary tour line up remained stable until early 2005, when Mendoza left to pursue the Soul SirkUS project 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 and Summer tour of Japan and Europe. In June 2006 it was announced Coverdale had signed Whitesnake to a new record deal with Steamhammer/SPV Records who released a double live album entitled, Live: In The Shadow Of The Blues during November 2006 in UK, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The album had tracks recorded since 2003, and also included four new studio tracks: Ready to Rock, If You Want Me, All I Want Is You and Dog. These songs have been described by Coverdale as "three balls-to-the-walls rockers and a ballad". 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. This was the re-mastered album along with a host of bonus material of four live tracks from the Shadow Of The Blues Live set. It also includes the four promo videos for the album on the DVD. In December 2007 the band drummer Chris Frazier joined the band, replacing Tommy Aldridge.
Good to Be Bad and back on the road (2008?present)
In March 2008 Whitesnake played at the Rock2Wgtn two day festival, which also featured Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Poison, Alice Cooper and Lordi, with special effects by the Academy Award winning WETA Workshop. In April 2008 the band released a studio album called Good to Be Bad, which reached #5 in the UK album chart. During the summer of 2008 Whitesnake headlined a UK tour along with Def Leppard, with Black Stone Cherry opening the UK arena shows in June and Thunder opening the July shows.
In early November 2008, Whitesnake received the Classic Rock Best Album award for their eleventh album Good To Be Bad.
On , 2009, Whitesnake announced they would be playing a festival slot at Download Festival, UK on June 14 via their official website. They also announced Def Leppard would be playing on the same day. It has also been announced that Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Journey will play The O2 in Dublin on June 12, 2009.
On March 17, 2009, it was announced that Whitesnake will be supporting Judas Priest on the 2009 North American Summer tour.
On August 11, 2009 Whitesnake was playing a show at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado when front man David Coverdale suffered a vocal injury. After seeing a specialist, it was announced on August 12, 2009 that Coverdale is suffering from severe vocal fold edema and a left vocal fold vascular lesion. The remainder of their tour with Judas Priest has been canceled.