Skip to main content

Enter your email below to be the first to hear about new releases, upcoming events, and more from Dig!

Please enter a valid email address
Please accept the terms
Here We Go Again: 10 Whitesnake Facts You Need To Know
WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
List & Guides

Here We Go Again: 10 Whitesnake Facts You Need To Know

Think you know everything there is to know about David Coverdale’s reptilian rockers? These Whitesnake facts may prove you wrong…

Back

After almost 50 years of hit albums and stadium gigs all over the world, you could fairly assume the history of hard-rock veterans Whitesnake has been documented to death. You will, however, be surprised. Such a rich career is bound to contain a few unturned stones – and we’ve uncovered some of the lesser-known anecdotes about David Coverdale and company. Here, then, are ten Whitesnake facts you need to know.

Listen to the best of Whitesnake here, and check out the Whitesnake facts you need to know, below.

1: Whitesnake played their first gig at a college in Lincoln

After his reputation-building stint fronting Deep Purple, David Coverdale released two solo albums, 1977’s White Snake and the following year’s Northwinds. Both featured contributions from guitarist and songwriter Micky Moody, who then enlisted for service in Coverdale’s new backing group, bringing with him lead guitarist Bernie Marsden and bassist Neil Murray.

With Coverdale at the helm, this quartet formed the core of Whitesnake’s classic initial line-up for the next five years, and, for their earliest gigs, they also featured drummer Dave “Duck” Dowle and keyboardist Pete Solley. The band were based – and rehearsed – in London, but they played their first live shows outside of the UK capital. Whitesnake were originally scheduled to play at Nottingham’s Sky Bird Club on 23 February 1978, but after that fell through, the newly launched outfit made their live debut at Lincoln Technical College on 3 March.

2: Fool For Your Loving was written for BB King

Primarily because of the success of their late-80s glam-metal sound and its association with MTV, it’s often forgotten that Whitesnake’s initial iteration was as a blues-inclined rock band whose slowed-down, groove-addled version of Bobby Bland’s Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City often provided the centrepiece of their early live set.

With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise among Whitesnake facts that the group penned a song for one of the blues greats. BB King actually requested they write something for him after being interviewed by guitarist Bernie Marsden for the UK’s Record Mirror magazine late in 1978. The band were thrilled with the brief, but Fool For Your Loving turned out so well, they ended up keeping it for themselves – a smart move, as the song later peaked at No.13 in the UK in 1980, making for a standout moment on their Ready An’ Willing album. The group then revisited it for 1989’s Slip Of The Tongue, and it remains a firm favourite among the best Whitesnake songs.

3: The original cover art for ‘Come An’ Get It’ has gone missing

Created by Malcolm Horton (who has also painted artworks for Alvin Lee, Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Paice and George Harrison), the memorable cover art for Whitesnake’s fourth album, Come An’ Get It, was a labour of love for the artist. Writing on his website at the time of the album’s 40th anniversary, Horton elaborated: “I chose to paint and airbrush the artwork on a 24” x 24” canvas. This was double the size it would be for the album sleeve in order to get the best definition when it was reduced for print. There was no Photoshop in those days!”

However, while Horton rightly remains proud of his work, he confessed he hasn’t got a clue what happened to it.

“The one thing that has always bothered me is that the actual Come An’ Get It artwork went missing,” he revealed. “To this day nobody knows where it went and who has got it. I would love to know what happened to my work. If you are reading this and have any clues, get in touch.”

4: David Coverdale relishes criticism

According to a 1984 interview with People’s Steve Dougherty, Whitesnake’s indefatigable frontman enjoys brushing off criticism. “The critics love to get out their knives and dine on Coverdale,” the singer said. “But the worse the criticism gets, the more successful I become.” It’s worth noting that he also made these comments just before enjoying a string of huge-selling albums courtesy of Slide It In, Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album and Slip Of The Tongue – incontrovertible successes which would speak for themselves on any list of Whitesnake facts.

5: The snake on the ‘Slide It In’ cover terrified models during the photo shoot

During a 2009 interview with London’s Metro newspaper, David Coverdale revealed that the real snake pictured on the front and back covers of Whitesnake’s sixth album, Slide It In, made the wrong sort of impression on the young model who appears on the album cover.

“There were actually two girls,” the singer explained. “The first one was 17 years old and she fainted dead away. As a result, we had to get another model in to do the back cover.” Coverdale also sought to set a few Whitesnake facts straight himself. “Basically the press dictated the sexist response from Whitesnake,” he asserted. “The more the press jumped on that, the more I pushed back with the sexist aspect.” Elsewhere, Coverdale explained that he helped design the Lovehunter album cover “just to piss ’em off even more!” Regardless, he told Metro, a lot of the band’s songs were tongue-in-cheek. “We had a very high percentage of fine young ladies at our shows,” he added. “They were the loudest singing along to Slide It In, to be perfectly honest.”

6: Whitesnake’s self-titled 1987 album saved Coverdale from financial ruin

Prior to 1987, Whitesnake had released six albums, toured around the world and enjoyed sizeable success on the international charts. However, David Coverdale was personally in debt to the tune of a reported $3 million by the time he began work on the band’s self-titled seventh album. A smash hit that was kept off the top of the Billboard 200 only by Michael Jackson’s Bad, the record turned things around for the singer. Eventually selling eight million copies in the US alone, Whitesnake ensured that Coverdale and company were soon back on first-name terms with solvency.

7: Whitesnake video star Tawny Kitaen was also (briefly) Mrs Coverdale

Former model and actress Tawny Kitaen arguably became as well-known as Whitesnake during the late 80s, after she featured prominently in their steamy video trilogy for Still Of The Night, Is This Love and Here I Go Again. Her liaison with the band had a lasting effect on Whitesnake’s frontman, too, and she married David Coverdale in February 1989. The pair divorced just two years later, but when Kitaen died of heart disease, aged 59, in May 2021, Coverdale led the tributes, acknowledging that his ex-wife had become “synonymous with Whitesnake, with MTV”, and had been an “iconic, amazing beauty who brought so much attention to my music”.

8: Hans Zimmer and Billy Idol once collaborated with David Coverdale

On paper, the idea of renowned soundtracks composer Hans Zimmer, punk pin-up turned mainstream rock star Billy Idol and hard-rock stalwart David Coverdale collaborating seems unlikely, but in 1990 it came to pass when the trio co-wrote the song The Last Note Of Freedom – which Coverdale also sang – for director Tony Scott’s racing flick Days Of Thunder. One of that year’s most high-profile releases, the movie featured Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Robert Duvall, and it did brisk business at both the box office and in the home-video market.

9: Whitesnake’s line-up has featured a dozen lead guitarists (and counting)

Among the Whitesnake facts that doesn’t need restating is this simple truth: Whitesnake is David Coverdale’s band. With their frontman calling the shots, the group have so far featured at least 40 other musicians throughout their career, with no less than 12 lead guitarists having passed through the ranks. It speaks volumes about Coverdale’s pedigree that the likes of John Sykes, Steve Vai, Adrian Vandenberg and Vivian Campbell have all featured prominently in Whitesnake’s roll call of seminal axemen.

10: David Coverdale possesses an unusually versatile singing voice

One of the lesser-known (and not often understood) Whitesnake facts is that David Coverdale is what’s known as a tenore di grazia (also called “leggero tenor”), which translates as “graceful and light” in English. This doesn’t mean his voice lacks power; rather, he has more flexibility than many vocalists operating within a similar range – not least because a leggero tenor is able to go quite low, like a baritone.

Speaking to Metro, Coverdale revealed that he has always enjoyed making the most of his vocal flexibility. “I practise rock’n’roll ventriloquism: I throw the voice and hopefully it gets there.” he said. “It’s going very well, seeing that dogs can hear it. I am delighted that I go from a whisper to a scream. Ritchie Blackmore said it is a man’s voice and that’s a big compliment. I like having a man’s voice.”

More Like This

Best 2000s Music Videos: 20 Promo Clips That Defined The Noughties
List & Guides

Best 2000s Music Videos: 20 Promo Clips That Defined The Noughties

From newfangled CGI to jaw-dropping choreography, the best 2000s music videos broke new ground and helped usher in the viral video era.

Best 2000s Albums: 20 Classics That Shaped The Noughties
List & Guides

Best 2000s Albums: 20 Classics That Shaped The Noughties

Emerging from a troubled decade, the best 2000s albums gifted us a melting pot of pop, rock, and hip-hop to transcend our worldly worries.

Sign up to our newsletter

Be the first to hear about new releases, upcoming events, and more from Dig!

Sign Up