Whitesnake - Whitesnake (1987)
"The same lady in a different cloak"....
On April 7, 1987, "Whitesnake" released their seventh album "Whitesnake" also known as "1987".
This album marked a very significant change of the band, which underwent a metamorphosis process, in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of the transitions between the various lineups of the mother band from which David Coverdale came from - "Deep Purple".
The fundamental change of "Whitesnake" was expressed in three main things: first, the replacement of all the band members, except David Coverdale - the undisputed leader of the band. Second, a change in outside appearance that has become compatible with Hair and Glam Metal bands. The third, a change in the sound and style of the band that went from Blues-Rock and Hard Rock to Heavy Metal and Glam Metal.
It seems that it is not for nothing that the album was simply called "Whitesnake", although this is the band's seventh album, as this is simply a rebirth of the band.
The buds of this fundamental change began with the previous album "Slide It In", which was released three years earlier, in 1984. Guitarist Micky Moody - Coverdale's partner from the beginning of his solo career in 1976, felt a growing change in Coverdale's behavior, which became more And more domineering. In later interviews he noted that it was no longer the same Coverdale he had known in 1976 and that he could no longer bear his arrogant behavior. Moody also noted that while working on "Slide It In" he felt it was not the same band. Drummer Cozy Powell replaced Ian Paice and brought with him a more powerful playing style that dragged the band from Blues-Rock deeper towards Heavy Metal. Cozy also brought bassist Colin Hodgkinson, who worked with Cozy on his solo album "Octopuss" from 1981. Colin replaced Neil Murray who was in the band from the beginning, but to Mickey Moody's taste he did not fit into Whitesnake's style.
But this whole chain of events didn't come close to what happened during the tour that accompanied the album. During the band's show at a mini-festival in Germany, "Whitesnake" members returned to the hotel and spent time with members of "Thin Lizzy", including guitarist John Sykes. After a night of drinking, David Coverdale insulted Mickey Moody and humiliated him in front of John Sykes. It was the last straw for Moody that immediately after just left the band.
Moody's departure did not bother David Coverdale at all. In fact he for a long time he wanted Sykes in the band. Not only that John Sykes was an excellent guitarist, but he also looked really good, which was very much in line with the image Coverdale sought for the band. Very shortly after Moody's departure, Coverdale announced to the media that John Sykes is joining the band. It was the first step in the great change that the band would go through.
Next to that, Coverdale fired bassist Colin Hodgkinson, after realizing that indeed his style did not suit the band.
Second guitarist Mel Galley also found himself out of the band, having suffered a car accident that impaired his playing ability, during the tour.
Another member who left during the tour was keyboardist Jon Lord. In 1984 he was "called to the flag", and left in favor of the unification of MKII's lineup "Deep Purple".
The last to leave was Cozy Powell. Relations between him and Coverdale became increasingly tense during the tour and after the band's last performance in Rio Brazil, he left the band.
At this point, Coverdale considered breaking up "Whitesnake and returning" to a solo career, but a persuasion campaign at "Geffen Records" led him to work with guitarist John Sykes on new songs.
The two flew to the south of France and began writing material for the album. In the first session, two songs were written:
The first, "Still of the Night" whose riff was based on an old demo of Ritchie Blackmore from the days of "Deep Purple".
The second song "Is This Love?" was originally intended by Coverdale for singer Tina Turner, but he eventually relented and left the song in his hands. Coverdale's girlfriend at the time - actress Tawny Kitaen appears in a clip shot to promote the song. Tawny will also appear in the clip for another song from the album "Here I Go Again".
Interestingly, these two songs will become the most successful from the album, as the other two "hits" from it - "Here I Go Again" and "Crying in the Rain" are remakes of songs that appeared on the band's 1982 album "Saints & Sinners".
At one point Coverdale asked bassist Neil Murray to return to the band, and the three moved to Los Angeles to continue writing, rehearsing and auditioning for a new drummer for the band. In the end drummer Aynsley Dunbar who played with many good artists like Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Lou Reed, "Journey", Sammy Hager and more, was chosen.
After the band finished working on all the material for the album, they moved to Canada to record. Legendary producer Bob Rock was recruited directly after he finished his work on the mixing of "Slippery When Wet", to help guitarist John Sykes achieve the specific sound of the guitar he sought to achieve. But just then, after most of the instruments' roles were recorded for the album, Coverdale developed a severe sinus infection that forced him to undergo surgery. Coverdale's long recovery period delayed the completion of the recordings for an entire year.
All the material for the album, except for the two remakes of old songs, were written by Coverdale and Sykes. John Sykes began to lose his patience and at one point considered bringing another singer to record the vocals. This of course ended his career in the band and he was immediately fired from it by Coverdale who recruited guitarist Adrian Vandenberg to replace him.
It turned out that despite his tremendous contribution to the album, Sykes did not enjoy the success. The photos that accompanied the album and the video clips released for MTV included guitarists Adrian Vandenberg and Vivian Campbell (ex "Dio") mimicking the guitar pieces that Sykes wrote. What's more, bassist Neil Murray and drummer Aynsley Dunbar have also been replaced by younger and more beautiful musicians. Bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge. Their hair was puffed (well except for drummer Tommy Aldridge who came with a natural "Afro"), their clothes were changed, and so was the visual makeover of "Whitesnake".
But this turnaround could not have been complete without the band's tremendous change in sound which is largely based on the more metallic and aggressive guitar sound of John Sykes and the hoarseness of "Robert Plant" in David Coverdale's voice. Sykes did an excellent job and turns out to be a great guitarist with powerful and exciting playing. It's not that we did not know he was a a great guitarist even before, but in this case he also turned out to be an amazing writer who co-wrote all the songs on the album, except for the two remakes as mentioned. Adrian Vandenberg's only guitar work on the album is in the solo of "Here I Go Again", which was re-recorded after the dismissal of Sykes.
This album gave "Whitesnake" and Coverdale tremendous commercial success and brought them to the masses and the mainstream charts. The album stayed in the top ten at Billboard 200 for a full six months. The five singles released from it burned the various charts and the accompanying clips were constantly screened on MTV. The album sold around 10 million copies and earned platinum status 8 times in the US alone.
The album came out in two different versions, with the European version including a different order of songs as well as two more tracks - "Looking for Love" and "You're Gonna Break My Heart Again".