Great Metal Albums of 1987: Whitesnake- 1987

Out of all the great metal albums which came out in 1987, the most noted of these had to be Whitesnake’s “1987” album. You don’t need me to tell you how this album tore up the charts in the year the album is named after and the following one. In fact, the album which kept it from attaining number one in the US was Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album. So it begs the question, why was this metal album so successful?

First, let’s go over some of the history in the making of this album. While recording it, David Coverdale was struck down with an illness which required hospitalization and later surgery. There was even doubts that he would ever be able to sing again. Thank the metal gods that this wasn’t the case. Now for the soap opera bit. Depending on who’s side you believe, David and guitarist John Sykes would part company while the album was recorded. From what I read on Wikipedia, (not the most reliable of sources), David accused John of trying to replace him and John was growing impatient at David’s seeming lack of motivation to get back in the studio. While this explains why the touring lineup is different from the recording one, it can be said that the album was born out of adversity.

Drawing my own conclusion as to why “1987” was so successful, I put it down that it was the combination of commercially viable songs and hard rockers, which ticked all the boxes. Most people know the hits from the album, “Still of the Night,” “Is This Love,” “Give Me All Your Love” and “Here I Go Again,” the latter re-recorded before released as a single. Note: after years of hearing the single version and then hearing the original version from the album again after many years, I prefer the original. These are good power ballads as was the rerecorded “Crying in the Rain,” which helped Whitesnake finally achieve commercial success in the US.

The other element behind the album’s success is that in spite of the top 40 singles, the other tracks proved that Whitesnake hadn’t forgotten how to rock out. First let me correct a misleading statement in the above paragraph. The first and last singles, “Still of the Night,” and “Give Me All Your Loving” were definitely not power ballads. Both are full steam ahead rockers with some great guitar riffs from Sykes. They lead the charge as the next track is also a serious rocker. In fact, the second track, “Bad Boys,” gets my vote for hidden gem. John shreds even better on “Straight for the Heart.”

John Sykes

What I sometimes find frustrating about albums which are reissued so many times is which version should I write about. In this case, since I had already established myself in the UK at the time, I will go with the European issue. The US issue omits two tracks, “Looking for Love” and “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again,” which is a shame because America missed out on two good songs. The former, another power ballad which works and the latter, a definite straight up rocker. The strategic placing of both ballads and rockers go along way to cement the reason why this album was such a success.

Track Listing (European Release):

  1. Still of the Night
  2. Bad Boys
  3. Give Me All Your Loving
  4. Looking for Love
  5. Crying in the Rain
  6. Is This Love
  7. Straight From the Heart
  8. Don’t Turn Away
  9. Children of the Night
  10. Here I Go Again
  11. You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again

Recording Line up:

David Coverdale- vocals

John Sykes- guitar

Neil Murray- bass

Aynsley Dunbar- drums

Don Airey- keyboards

Bill Cuomo- keyboards

Note: other musicians, including some from the touring lineup, were brought in on some of the re-recordings.

Whitesnake- 1987 tour lineup

David Coverdale- vocals

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Adrian Vandenberg- guitar

Rudy Sarzo- bass

Tommy Aldridge- drums

Shortly after the album soared up the charts, someone wrote to Kerrang stating that Whitesnake’s next album would be called “1991” as that was when it would come out, (history proved that person wrong), and the recording lineup would have Gene Simmons on bass and Lars Ulrich on drums. I can’t remember who the guitarists were going to be. However, the touring lineup would have Eddie Van Halen and Mick Mars on guitar, Jimmy Bain on bass and Charlie Benante on drums. That was the state of the band in 1987. While there might have been some truth to that, one can’t fault how super colossal of an album “1987” turned out to be.

Next post: Tigertailz- Young and Crazy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

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28 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Whitesnake- 1987”

  1. I like the last line-up, that would’ve been great!! Another stellar album by Whitesnake and without Sykes, it wouldn’t have done so well. Too bad they got thanks panties in a bunch and threw it all away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bad Boys is a favorite and the two tracks that the US didn’t get are underrated cuts. A big fan of Looking For Love and that outro something Sykes would do with Out Of Love from the Blue Murder album and Send Me An Angel from the follow up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sykes is a beast on this album. Coverdale fucked up by booting him out and W.S never recovered..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oooh, that’s one of my favorite albums, Michael! I still have the CD and it never gets old! So many awesome albums came out in 1987- Dokken “Back for the Attack,” Def Leppard’s “Hysteria,” Aerosmith. “Permanent Vacation,” Fleetwood Mac “Tango in The Night” – 1987 was an awesome year for rock music!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David needed surgery and there was a possibility that he’d never be able to sing again? No wonder why this album was so heavily anticipated. Pete Pardo from Sea of Tranquility says the 1987 album is his favorite Whitesnake album.

    Liked by 1 person

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