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Album Reviews : Whitesnake – 1987

By on May 25, 2010

6521After the huge, and relatively quick, success he had with the legendary Deep Purple, David Coverdale found himself in somewhat of a rut. Forming the band Whitesnake after Purple’s demise, Coverdale spent almost ten years in middle sized venues across Europe, performing bluesy rock numbers not too dissimilar to his former employers – however, things started to change after the release of 1984’s “Slide It In”. With the slightly more commercial leanings of “Slow and Easy” and the title track, American audiences started to take notice and after the decision to remaster the album (apparently so it would appeal the USA masses), the wheels rapidly started turning for Coverdale and co. Knowing that their follow up album needed to deliver the goods, Coverdale and freshly recruited guitarist John Sykes (who had briefly played with Thin Lizzy) hit the studio with hopes of cracking the all too important American market.

“1987” (simply known at “Whitesnake” in the USA, and “Serpens Albus” in Japan) was, and still is, Whitesnake’s biggest selling record by far. Shifting some 8 million copies in the USA alone, and also helping boost previous record “Slide It In” from Gold status to Double Platinum, Whitesnake delivered an album way beyond its creator’s wildest expectations. Backed by MTV friendly film clips, a new channel at the time, the album contained hit after hit and turned David Coverdale into a household name.

One of the all time best album openers, “Still Of The Night” is still revered to this day as one of the band’s classics. The Led Zeppelin style romp serves up countless riffs, and is a fantastic example of Coverdale’s throaty vocal attack, while Syke’s guitar playing is on top notch form too with chest pumping chords and a lightening quick solo. The restrained clean passages during the epic middle section give way to the truly orgasmic bridge, which boasts a riff of such quality that it would give even the most pedestrian rock aficionado goose bumps.

The band’s two biggest hits also feature on the album; the seminal ballad “Is This Love” and the feel good rocker “Here I Go Again”. While much has said about Whitesnake and the whole ‘hair metal’ scene, it’s worth noting that many of the songs are still obviously rooted in the blues – such as the ZZ Top style stomp of “Give Me All Your Love” and the volcanic “Crying in the Rain”.

It’s easy to overlook their talents, but drummer Aynsley Dunbar and bassist Neil Murray play a key part on the album as well, with the rhythm section keeping the feel of the songs loose, but also keeping a firm grip at the same time. Of course the record isn’t without its weaker moments, the keyboard lead “Straight For The Heart“ is fairly forgettable, but the sheer quality of lesser known ‘album’ tracks like “Looking For Love”, “Bad Boys” and “Children of the Night” make up for “1987”s drearier moments tenfold.

Some two decades after its release, “1987” still stands the test of time. Sure, the drums sound pretty awful and there are probably more synth parts than required, but the sheer addictiveness and adrenaline rush that the songs possess will surely make it just as vital in another twenty years time. A true Hard Rock classic. 9/10

Band: Whitesnake
Album: 1987
Year: 1987
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Origin: England
Label: EMI
www.whitesnake.com

Track listing:

1. Still of the Night <- Reviewers Choice
2. Bad Boys
3. Give Me All Your Love <- Reviewers Choice
4. Looking For Love <- Reviewers Choice
5. Crying In The Rain <- Reviewers Choice
6. Is This Love <- Reviewers Choice
7. Straight For The Heart
8. Don’t Turn Away
9. Children Of The Night
10. Here I Go Again <- Reviewers Choice
11. You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.