In 1976, singer David Coverdale left the English band Deep Purple after recording three successful albums with them. The next year, Coverdale released a solo album called White Snake. Another year later, that album title morphed into the name of Coverdale’s new group, Whitesnake. To paraphrase one of their own hits, here we go again with another Throwback Threesome.
Whitesnake enjoyed considerable popularity in the UK, Europe, and Japan in the early-’80s, with their albums Ready an’ Willing (1980), Come an’ Get It (1981), and Saints & Sinners (1982) all reaching the top ten on the UK Albums Chart. But David Coverdale wanted more for Whitesnake. He had his sights set on making it big in North America. To do that, the band would shift from its blues-based hard rock roots to a more glam metal presentation.
Having signed with Geffen Records in 1982 for North American distribution of Saints & Sinners, Whitesnake released Slide It In in 1984. Once again, the band found itself in the top ten on the UK Albums Chart. It wasn’t until 1987’s eponymous Whitesnake that David Coverdale would achieve his goal of conquering North America. That album remains the band’s biggest success to date, selling over eight million copies in the U.S. and spawning the hit singles “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love.”
After releasing Slip of the Tongue in 1989, David Coverdale decided to take a break from the music business. Aside from a few short-lived reunions in the 1990s, Whitesnake was mostly inactive until 2003, when Coverdale put together a new line-up to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary. Since then, Whitesnake put out four more studio albums and toured extensively around the world. Coverdale has been the only constant member throughout the band’s history.
No retrospective of David Coverdale and Whitesnake would be complete without mentioning the late Tawny Kitaen. In 1987, the actress appeared in the unforgettable music videos for the band’s three biggest singles. Kitaen and Coverdale were later married for a short time, from 1989 to 1991. Before meeting Coverdale, Tawny dated Robbin Crosby of RATT. She is pictured on the cover of RATT’s debut studio album, Out of the Cellar, and appeared in their video for “Back for More” in 1984.
Tawny Kitaen died in 2021 of dilated cardiomyopathy, a common form of heart disease. She was 59. While the headline of this article might be a bit of an overstatement, I maintain that Tawny’s presence in the following three videos was a significant reason for Whitesnake’s success.