In 1987, Whitesnake Went Down the Only Road They've Ever Known

Whitesnake in 1987
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George Rose/Getty Images

It's hard to believe that David Coverdale was considering packing it in with Whitesnake just before the band put out their biggest hit worldwide in 1987. Since the dawn of the '80s, the group was a dependable seller in their native England, but by the middle of the decade, Coverdale was privately wondering what to do next.

"It was time for a change," he later said. "I didn’t want to stay in the same old traditional blues and pop scenario."

Ultimately, he was persuaded to keep the mantle of the band, writing with guitarist John Sykes and planning to lay down tracks with a new line-up that included Sykes, founding bassist Neil Murray and acclaimed drummer Aynsley Dunbar. Potential songs for the next album included "Still of the Night," based on an idea Coverdale devised during his time in Deep Purple, and "Is This Love," a song written with Tina Turner in mind. Despite the great tunes in the wings, the rest of the sessions were rocky: Coverdale required surgery on his sinuses that kept him out of the studio for six months, and the waiting caused tension among the band mates - a situation that ultimately culminated in Coverdale firing them all.

All the drama aside, the album that would be released simply as Whitesnake had one last ace up its sleeve: a re-recording of a track from the band's 1982 album Saints & Sinners. With its lush keyboard intro and screaming guitars by Sykes and soloist Adrian Vandenberg, the deal was sealed for "Here I Go Again" to be a major smash with the help of a video in which Coverdale's future wife, model Tawny Kitaen, writhed and prowled around on top of two Jaguar XJ luxury cars.

READ MORE: February 1989: Whitesnake's David Coverdale Gets the Girl

For the first time, Whitesnake gave the group a major smash LP not only in England, but America as well, where it reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. "Here I Go Again" soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and "Is This Love" would follow it at No. 2. Nearly 10 million copies around the world later, it's a firm reminder - to Coverdale and his fans alike - to never give up on a good thing.

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