recording two solo albums, former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale
formed Whitesnake around 1977. In the glut of hard rock and heavy
metal bands of the late '70s, their first albums got somewhat
lost in the shuffle, although they were fairly popular in Europe
and Japan. During 1982, Coverdale took some time off, so he could
take care of his sick daughter. When he re-emerged with a new
version of Whitesnake in 1984, the band sounded revitalized and
energetic. Slide It In may have relied on Led Zeppelin's and Deep
Purple's old tricks, but the band had a knack for writing hooks;
the record became their first platinum album. Three years later,
Whitesnake released an eponymous album which was even better.
Portions of the album were blatantly derivative — "Still of the
Night" was a dead ringer for early Zeppelin — but the group could
write powerful, heavy rockers like "Here I Go Again" that were
driven as much by melody as riffs, as well as hit power ballads
like "Is This Love." Whitesnake was an enormous international
success, selling over six million copies in the U.S. alone.
Before they recorded their follow-up, 1989's Slip of the Tongue,
Coverdale again assembled a completely new version of the band,
featuring guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. Although the record went
platinum, it was a considerable disappointment after the across-the-board
success of Whitesnake. Coverdale put Whitesnake on hiatus after
that album. In 1993, he released a collaboration with former Led
Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page that was surprisingly lackluster.
The following year, Whitesnake issued a greatest hits album in
the U.S. and Canada — focusing solely on material from their final
three albums (as well as containing a few unreleased tracks).
1997 saw Coverdale resurrect Whitesnake (guitarist Adrian Vandenberg
was the only remaining member of the group's latter lineup), issuing
Restless Heart the same year. Surprisingly, the album wasn't even
issued in the United States. On the ensuing tour, Coverdale and
Vandenberg performed an "unplugged" show in Japan, which was recorded
and issued the following year under the title Starkers in Tokyo.
By the late '90s however, Coverdale once again put Whitesnake
on hold, as he concentrated on recording his first solo album
in nearly 22 years. Coverdale's Into the Light was issued in September
of 2000, featuring journeyman guitarist Earl Slick. — Stephen
Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato
All Music Guide