What Happened to David Coverdale?
"I don't know where I'm goin
But I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises in the songs of yesterday -
And I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time
But here I go again, here I go again."
- Whitesnake lyrics from Here I Go Again
The 1980s were a wild time, especially for music. Hair metal ruled the radio, from super-high hair to spandex and more makeup than chicks wore, the gods of metal owned the airwaves.
One of the more ubiquitous bands of the mid to late eighties was Whitesnake, a power ballad driven rock band founded by David Coverdale. Still of the Night, Is This Love and Here I Go Again were some of the highest charting and most played singles of the era. MTV was awash in Whitesnake videos, usually featuring red haired vixen Tawny Kitaen flipping her long hair and writhing all over exotic cars.
But, when hair metal's reign was over, Whitesnake pretty much fell off the radar. So what happened to David Coverdale, the band's illustrious singer?
The Reluctant Rock Star
After forming a couple of bands in his native England, in 1973 Coverdale saw an ad in a music magazine advertising that Deep Purple was looking for a singer to replace original member Ian Gillan. Though Deep Purple would become huge, they had not had their massive, international breakthrough yet. Coverdale joined and made his first album with Deep Purple in 1974. After releasing one more album in 1974 and another in 1975, Deep Purple officially broke up in 1976, not to be reformed until 1984. Coverdale decided to ride off of the success that he had seen with Deep Purple and strike out on his own as a solo act.
Coverdale made a couple of albums on his own, 1977's White Snake and 1978's Northwinds, before officially beginning the band Whitesnake in 1978. At this time, Coverdale was joined by a few of his friends, and released an official Whitesnake EP called Snakebite. Though he achieved success in Europe with Whitesnake, the brass ring of the United States remained elusive. In 1982, Whitesnake officially went on hold because of Coverdale's personal problems. Also in 1982, Coverdale was asked to step in as Black Sabbath's singer following Ronnie James Dio's exit from the band, and Coverdale officially turned them down.
In 1984, Whitesnake's breakout album, Slide it In was released internationally. A fairly good commercial success, Coverdale set the bar even higher. He is quoted as saying that, if Whitesnake's next album was not highly successful, he would end the band.
In 1987, Coverdale and Whitesnake hit pay dirt. With a lineup of Coverdale on vocals, Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai on guitar, Neil Murray on bass and Cozy Powell on drums, Whitesnake tore up the charts with their self-titled album. The record spawned several hit singles and it seemed as if Whitesnake were everywhere with their heavy brand of synthesizer laden metal. Coverdale's vocals were deemed as unique as Whitesnake's music, and he rode both right to the number two spot on the billboard Hot 100 album chart. The remake of the Whitesnake single Here I Go Again that appeared on this album was the band's first and only number one single in the United States.
1989 saw Whitesnake releasing Slip of the Tongue, an album that peaked at number ten on the Billboard chart. The singles Fool for Your Loving and The Deeper the Love did well on the US charts, but times were changing.
Coverdale began having personal problems. In 1989, Coverdale married his video vixen Tawny Kitaen but, by the spring of1991, they were already divorced. He also made no secret of the fact that he did not want the fame or pressure that came with having a massively successful rock band. Coverdale hated having to cater to the whims of the music business, hated having to dress the part of the rock star and hated all of the trappings of fame. After Whitesnake's last concert in 1990 in support of Slip of the Tongue, Coverdale officially disbanded Whitesnake.
He was to pop up a year later to form the Coverdale-Page Project with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, but the powerhouse combo only made one album and did not tour widely to support the record before disbanding. Though the record was a financial success, many rock critics felt that Page was trying to simply remake Led Zeppelin without singer Robert Plant.
Whitesnake reformed with a semi-new lineup in 1994, made one album and then disbanded, reformed again in 1997 and split again.
So... Where is David Coverdale Now?
For the most part, David Coverdale has been persona non grata since the late nineties. With the demise of hair metal and the rise of grunge, there really wasn't any room on the radio for Coverdale's half-hearted attempt at rock stardom.
He made a solo album, Into the Light in 2000, but it simply didn't sell. In 2002, Coverdale reformed Whitesnake for a tour and signed a record deal with Steamhammer Records, first releasing a live album called Live: In the Shadow of the Blues in 2006. After yet another personnel change, Whitesnake released an album called Good to be Bad in 2008 and toured extensively to promote it.
2009 saw Whitesnake touring with Judas Priest on the British Steel tour. Unfortunately, in August of 2009 while on this tour, Coverdale suffered a 'severe vocal fold edema and a left vocal fold vascular lesion.' These conditions required surgery and a large amount of recovery time. The rest of the tour with Judas Priest was cancelled.
After several months, Coverdale had recuperated and was back in the studio for yet another album, 2010s Forevermore.
Though Coverdale has never again achieved the success he had at the height of Whitesnake, by most accounts he probably doesn't want it. After years of recording albums and then touring to support them, apparently Coverdale just wants to live his life quietly and make the music he's always wanted to make.
In 1997, Coverdale married Cindy Coverdale, co-author of the book Foods that Rock. They have one child together, and he has another from a 1974 marriage to a woman named Julia.
In 2007, Coverdale officially became an American citizen, and currently resides in Nevada.
There are plans for yet another Whitesnake album, a live record to be accompanied by a DVD. The official Whitesnake website says that there are possible studio recordings in the works, but they haven't said where or when.
Also from the official website, a quote: 'Be safe, be happy... & don't let anybody make you afraid.' I can't think of better words to live by.