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Whitesnake: The Story Behind 1987

In 2009, David Coverdale explained to Metal Hammer how Whitesnake were transformed from a successful blues-rock band into mighty mega million sellers

For the first few years of the 1980s, David Coverdale was an incredibly busy man.

After the demise of Deep Purple, the band he’d sung with since 1974 and that had made him a star, he embarked on a solo career, which eventually morphed into the tight, swaggering blues rock outfit known, with a lascivious chuckle, as Whitesnake.

Starting in 1978 with the seminal Snakebite EP, featuring one of the band’s trademark songs, a cover of soul standard Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City, David’s new project swiftly became one of the most popular hard rock bands in the UK, releasing a steady stream of well-received albums including classics like Lovehunter, Ready An’ Willing and Saints And Sinners. Always an ambitious man, David was never going to be content with simply following the usual album/tour/repeat schedule when there was a whole world out there waiting to be conquered, and so by the time Whitesnake arrived at their sixth album, Slide It In, he decided that a whole new approach was called for.

“I wanted Whitesnake to be leaner, meaner and more electrifying,” he tells Hammer today. “I felt that we’d done extraordinarily well. We’d made six albums in just a few years. We did fabulously on those albums, but I really felt that we were flogging a dead snake. For me personally, I felt it was time for a change. I didn’t want to stay in the same old traditional blues and pop scenario. It was simply my choice as an artist. I wanted to pursue another direction. That was my whole modus operandi. The reason I invited John Sykes into the band was to actually afford that transition, or someone of that style and it happened to be Sykes. And that was it.” 

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