A recording only line-up, which managed (barely) to record what would become one of the most successful albums of the 1980s. The band was initially completed by the arrival of new drummer Aynsley Dunbar, before the recording process began to slide into production hell, with producers coming and going, physical and psychological problems with David Coverdale’s voice, and even the dissolution of the band. John Sykes departed after one too many rows with the singer, and the finance to pay the band’s wages ran dry. One of the few smooth moments was Don Airey’s visit to lay down the keyboard parts for the album. By 1987 the album was completed. A new version of ‘Here I Go Again’ was recorded as a single with the help of Heart’s rhythm section, and a set of memorable promo videos (featuring the soon to be Mrs Coverdale - "actress" Tawny Kittaen) were completed using a set of musicians gathered together expressly for the task.   

photo: Aynsley Dunbar, (www.aynsleydunbar.com)


'‘Whitesnake’ or ‘1987’ as it’s better known, quickly went multi-platinum after release, selling over 10 million copies, and lodging in the US top five for over a year. Four singles became US and UK hits, the Zeppelin styled ‘Still Of The Night’ won over a new generation of fans and became an instant classic. The touring band was assembled from the musicians brought in for the promo videos, and headlined worldwide on a massive scale.

The youngest, brashest (and, frankly, most androgenous) version of Whitesnake to date comprised drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Rudy Sarzo (both ex-Ozzy Osbourne), guitarist Viv Campbell (ex-Dio), and Dutch guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, who had been enjoying a successful solo career Stateside. Despite representing Whitesnake’s most successful era, the band did not record together. Viv Campbell’s only recorded contribution to the band was adding guitar parts to the ‘Give Me All Your Love’ single, before departing due to ‘musical differences’, and ending up in Def Leppard.

Largely thanks to the impact of the ‘1987’ promo videos, including the big hair, glitzy outfits and exagerrated posturing, Whitesnake Mk9 - and every subsequent line-up - has largely divided older fans, many of whom miss the more restrained but accomplished work of the earlier incarnations. Those who grew up with the late-eighties work feel different, and continue to provide the group with large audiences and a certain amount of nostalgia seekers as well.

(photo: Vivian Campbell, Tommy Aldridge, Rudy Sarzo, David Coverdale, Adrian Vandenberg)            


The last 1978-90 era line-up of Whitesnake had the difficult task of following up ‘1987’. Helped by past experience, recording problems were overcome. When Adrian Vandenberg suffered a hand injury preventing him from playing on the album, work continued with all guitars handled by new member Steve Vai, one of the hottest guitar properties of the time and fresh from his highly acclaimed work with Dave Lee Roth. His presence guaranteed extra attention for Whitesnake (and in turn for Vai’s new solo album ‘Passion And Warfare’). It seemed a happy arrangement.

Whitesnake’s new album ‘Slip Of The Tongue’ sold 3 million copies, some achievement but less than half what '1987' had managed. In striving to out-do it managed to go over the top. Over-embellished by Vai’s guitar pyrotechnics, and with a flash-but-flat re-recording of ‘Fool For Your Loving’ (which many UK fans disliked), the album saw the band losing their musical roots. Coverdale later described the band as "an overdressed Christmas tree". Don Airey played keyboards on the album, but when the band toured in 1990 Rick Seratte occupied the off-stage keyboard role. Shortly after a headlining appearance at the Donnington 'Monsters Of Rock' festival in August, which did the band’s reputation no favours, Coverdale decided to put Whitesnake on an indefinite hiatus. Of the Mk10 line-up, only Steve Vai would not be involved when the band reconvened.

(photo. Rudy Sarzo, Adrian Vandenberg, Steve Vai, David Coverdale, Tommy Aldridge)


.... 1987-90 Whitesnake Discography ....

March 1987 - studio album
Largely recorded by Whitesnake Mk8, then toured and promoted by Mk9. One of the biggest albums of the 1980s. Remasterd in 2007 together with a DVD containing the 'Trilogy' promos.

November 1989 - studio album
Recorded by Whitesnake Mk10, but with Vai playing all guitars. Glenn Hughes sang backing vocals on four tracks, but cannot be heard in the mix. Remastered in 2009 as CD + DVD set, with two alternate studio mixes and two live tracks from Donnington 1990 on the CD.

live at donington
2011 - live album
2xCD set recorded at Whitesnake's much maligned Donington 1990 headlining appearance. The CD sound quality redresses the balance somewhat.
UK Singles
Still Of The Night / Here I Go Again [US 1987 album version]/ (+ You're Gonna Break My Heart Again on 12") : 1987
Is This Love / Standing In The Shadow* /(+ Need Your Love So Bad* on 12") 1987
Here I Go Again 87 ^/ Guilty Of Love* : 1987
Give Me All Your Love / Straight For The Heart : 1988 ~
Fool For Your Loving/Slow Poke Music : 1989
The Deeper The Love/Judgement Day (+ Sweet Lady Luck on 12") : 1990
Now You're Gone /Wings Of The Storm : 1990


Completing The Collection:
The US and European versions of '1987' come with different track listings. The US features 'Here I Go Again', which was replaced on the European CD by 'Looking For Love' 'You're Gonna Break My Heart Again', and an alternate US single version of 'Here I Go Again' ^ (which had reached #1 there). Three UK b-sides* were lifted from singles recorded by previous line-ups. A 1990 US single remix of 'Now You're Gone' was included on the 2003 'Best Of Whitesnake' CD and on the 2009 'Slip of The Tongue' remaster. Another compilation, 2002's 'Here I Go Again: The Whitesnake Collection' included the 1988 'Give Me All Your Love' single remix~.


.... 1987-90 Whitesnake On DVD & Video ....

Picture Music - VHS video
Four promos from 1987-88: 'Still Of The Night', 'Is This Love', 'Here I Go Again', and 'Give Me All Your Love'. The promos were released on DVD as part of the '1987' 20th anniversary remaster package.

live at donington 1990
Frontiers - DVD
DVD set recorded at Whitesnake's much maligned Donington 1990 headlining appearance. The concert picture quality is mediocre at best. Also includes a behind the scenes tour and album documentary. Comes with 2xCD (see above)

Completing The Collection:
Various 1987-1990 heavy metal VHS compilation / magazine releases featured Whitesnake material, including 'Hard & Heavy Vol 10' from 1990, which has Mk10 performing 'Slide It In' live at the 1990 Donington festival, and 'MetalHead Vol 3' from 1990, which has a disillusioned David Coverdale railing against the music industry. 'Slip Of The Tongue' and 'Kitten's Got Claws' from Donington 1990 were included on the 'Slip Of The Tongue' remaster CD + DVD set in 2009


.... 1987-90 Whitesnake, Further Reading....

at www.deep-purple.net
- Deep Purple Family Tree - click the names on the tree for   individual member biographies
- DPAS Magazine Digests - 1987-90

at www.deep-purple.net contd
- Photo Gallery
- DPAS CD Review - The Silver Anniversary Collection
on the Darker Than Blue blog
- Whitesnake deluxe biography review

(with thanks to Jose Galvan)

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