Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
British Classic with Foreign Gloss
on 25 May 2007
I was really excited when I heard David Coverdale and EMI were re-releasing the '87 album for its 20th anniversary year. Arguably the greatest British hard rock album, `Whitesnake 1987' spawned major US commercial success and provided the backdrop for Whitesnake's metamorphosis from a kind of Dad-rock British band into a MTV-polished, multi-national, `hair metal' band. Recorded by David Coverdale, John Sykes, Neil Murray and Aynsley Dunbar; sold by Coverdale, Adrian Vandenberg, Vivian Campbell, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge, with Tawny Kitaen. Quite a contrast. The actual recorded work showcases some fabulous singing and musicianship. Coverdale's voice is at its peak, and John Sykes's blistering, powerful, majestic riffs and solos compliment perfectly. The rhythm section of Murray and Dunbar (then in his 40s and drafted in solely for laying down the drum parts after Cozy Powell's departure) is impeccable in its timing and execution. Songs like Still of the Night, Give Me All Your Love, Crying in the Rain and Here I Go Again 87 encapsulate and epitomise hard rock. This is more sophisticated lyric-wise than the American `hair metal' genre - but it's hallmarked by the same high quality musicianship. The recorded work is only half of the story though. 1987's marketing was integral to its success. Shortly before the album's release, Coverdale found himself without a band: Sykes couldn't stand him (the feeling no doubt mutual!), Murray had grown tired and Aynsley Dunbar had long gone. The changes in personnel transformed Whitesnake's image. On guitars, long-time friend of the band `the Flying Dutchman' Adrian Vandenberg and young Northern Irish riff-meister Vivian Campbell. On the bass, the `unbelievably sexy' Cuban, Rudy Sarzo. On drums, the stick-spinning Mississippian, Tommy Aldridge - a man Coverdale referred to as an 'octopus'. On stage, and in the videos, Vandenberg and Sarzo posed, strutted and pouted with all the arrogance of men who knew how. Undoubtedly the videos for Is This Love and Here I Go Again, starring Coverdale's then girlfriend Tawny Kitaen, made Whitesnake irresistible to MTV.
Why then did I use the past tense when referring to my excitement in this release? Well, let's have a look what's on offer: a remaster of the original album (although 1987 was DDD recorded anyway); additional live tracks; a DVD of the videos; live videos; some fancy packaging and sleeve notes. Ostensibly not bad. However, all of the live stuff has already been released in the past year or so as part of Live in the Still of the Night and Live in the Shadow of the Blues. As such, it's played by the latest incarnation of Whitesnake. Given the nature of the '87 album this matters less than it might, but most people who will be interested in this release will simply already have the live tracks/videos on offer here. That's disappointing. I'd have liked to have seen some live material from the 1987-88 era; perhaps a documentary on the phenomenon that was the '87 album; and some rarities such as demo tracks or alternative mixes. As it is, Coverdale and EMI are not offering much to the dedicated fan. So, unless you're a completist I'd suggest caution before shelling out for this. If you're new to the band or your original copy has worn out, this is a good buy. The videos are classics in the genre and the live material is high quality.