Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again’ Tops Billboard ‘Hard Rock’ Chart After Video Star Tawny Kitaen’s Death
Whitesnake’s classic track Here I Go Again debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart dated May 22. The track drew 2.5 million U.S. streams, up 22%, and sold 1,000 downloads, up 178%. The song saw a renewed interest following the death of actress Tawny Kitaen, who appeared in the song’s video. Kitaen (real name Julie E. Kitaen) passed away at her home in Newport Beach on May 7 at the age of 59.
While Whitesnake was working on their 1987 self-titled album, the band’s lead singer David Coverdale started dating Kitaen, who had recently starred opposite Tom Hanks in the movie Bachelor Party. Kitaen soon appeared in several of Whitesnake’s music videos, including those for Here I Go Again, Is This Love and Still Of The Night. Footage of Kitaen writhing around on the hood of a Jaguar in the Here I Go Again clip has been called one of the most iconic — and sexiest — video moments ever filmed.
In June 2020, Tawny Kitaen told ‘Ouch, You’re On My Hair’ about how she ended up being featured in the Whitesnake videos: “Ironically, I started dating David [Coverdale]. He was two million dollars in debt to David Geffen at that time. I was working and had more money than David at that time, so I kind of supported us a little. And when I heard the album and I was allowed to go in and help mix the album.
“You know how when you sing different tracks, they give you a piece of paper and you pick the word from the best track. So I was able to do that. And John Kalodner, who was the biggest A&R guy in the business, who works for David Geffen, in my ‘E! True Hollywood Story’ called me Yoko Ono — because I picked the album covers, I picked the single, I picked the photographer. I made the rule that no girls were allowed backstage, so the groupies must have hated me.
“I’ll tell you how I came to be in the video,” she continued. “Marty Callner, the director of all the Whitesnake videos, had it all planned out — had the girl, had everything. The night before the shoot, David said, ‘Will you come with me to Marty, the director of the video’s house? We have to go over the story boards.’ So we went over to his Bel Air mansion, and he opens up the door, and without even saying hi or hello, he pointed at me and he said, ‘You’re her.’ And I’m, like, ‘I’m who?’ And he said, ‘You’re the girl.’ And I was already an actress.
“I had turned down a couple of bands from not being in their video, because I was an actress. ‘I’m not gonna do a rock video. Are you kidding?’ That was the mentality. But it was my boyfriend at the time’s video, so I thought, ‘All right, I’ve already helped my boyfriend on all the RATT album covers’ — referring to her former boyfriend, late RATT guitarist Robbin Crosby — “why can’t I help my boyfriend in his videos?’ And so that’s how it happened. And this poor girl got a call that she was no longer gonna be in it, and here I was.”