The 1987 Album – Happy 30th!

Hard to believe it’s been thirty years ago today that Whitesnake 1987 was released in the United States.

In it’s honor, below is a reposting of an interview given when the 20th anniversary limited edition release went on sale.  See below.

Also notably, David Coverdale was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame 1 year ago.  Coincidence? We think not!



Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of a classic album! ‘1987’ may be 20 years old but you have a whole new generation of fans. Was this Collectors Edition put together with that in mind or is it strictly a retrospective for the original fans?

a1DC… Thank you… always nice to be appreciated… OK… to answer your questions… Partly both… but, it is really to celebrate the album turning 20… Happy Birthday, Baby!… I still find it hard to believe it’s 20 years ago this came out… Extraordinary…

I also felt it would be cool to have something more ‘current’ connected to it… I wasn’t interested in putting 20 bloody candles on the cover & calling it ‘Memories’… I’m not so big on nostalgia when it involves moi…

Nigel Reeves from EMI’s catalogue division called me to ask if I’d be interested in putting something ‘celebratory’ together & of course, I was keen to do it… It was quite a struggle to get all the separate companies involved & talking to each other & helping each other out to get this thing put together & completed on time… It was actually supposed to be released the same date as it was originally in 1987… but, we couldn’t get some elements to cooperate quick enough, unfortunately…A lot of running around on our part, but, we got there eventually… & I feel it’s worthwhile… I work with a good team at EMI now, headed up by Mr Reeves, who I am happy to say recently survived EMI’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’ when they let a bunch of good people go, unfortunately… A sad sign of the times, apparently… EMI have been going thro’ such upheaval recently in their business, it was touch & go sometimes if the project would actually see the light of day… Thankfully, it did… I just hope it’s decently promoted…

Many fans have stated that ‘1987’ holds many special memories for them. With that in mind, did you feel any pressure in releasing the Collectors Edition… in the sense that you would be altering people’s perceptions or memories of this classic album?

DC… Of course you want people to be happy… But, please remember this is still a rock album… I haven’t changed anything with the content… We just brightened the sound quality, in essence… brought it up to date so it sounds rather splendid on your new, hi-tech, surround sound, second mortgage hi-fi system! There’s nothing wrong with tweaking it this way or that… adding a touch of bass e.q… boosting the mid-range of the guitars… Bringing it into a more modern sonic… & making it LOUDER! You will still have all the same emotions when you hear it, I hope… all the memories from the original work… Nothing should affect, or change that… tho’ one day I will remix the bugger… that’s for sure!… Simply rearranging the furniture ain’t enough!

a7Sometimes people lose perspective with these collectors editions… I’m not trying to diminish anyone’s memories… I have my own, obviously… both good & bad… I just hope people enjoy the freshness of the audio from the remastering… & anyone who supported me from that time can see & hear with the newer live tracks & in concert footage that Whitesnake is alive, well & kicking arse… & as people will see… there’s STILL a party going on! With my experience, it’s better to make yourself happy first, then hopefully, others will jump on board & enjoy it… It’s obvious to most people that you can’t keep everyone happy… since I started as an interactive website, that has been very evident! As in any circumstance… just do your best at what your doing & the rest will take care of itself…

What was your reaction 20 years ago when you learned that ‘1987’ was one of the best selling albums that year? Did you expect this to happen?

DC… No… far from it, actually… I had no idea that the album would be the so successful… It was a huge sigh of relief for me when it hit… The biggest surprise was that it kept going… With all the problems, the costs, emotional & financial, associated with making the record, I had truly lost perspective… I just hoped it would do well… As I’ve said many times, I make albums that are hopefully a bit better than the last one in some way… that’s the basic principle of my approach to work… I try to take it to the next level… in the songwriting… in my performance… & on tour… Always trying to up the last one… Once the album started selling… & continued to sell… it was very much a case of ‘Thank God!’…otherwise I probably would have been ruined… & it certainly would have been the end of Whitesnake… I felt it was a welcome payoff for all the years I’d been working hard at it, maintaining the belief I was doing something worthwhile & hoping that one day success would come a-knocking…

a2The album is known under several titles, from simply ‘Whitesnake’ to ‘1987’ and even ‘Serpens Albus’. What is the reason for all these titles and what is the official title?

DC… ‘Whitesnake’ is the official name… ‘Serpens Albus’ is Whitesnake in latin… There was no plan for so many titles… I always refer to it as the 87 album, if that helps…

The ‘1987’ album saw the advent of the “new” Whitesnake logo. Was this logo of your own design and was it meant to signify a break with the past?

DC… Yes… well spotted… It was meant to be a whole new beginning… a fresh start… A whole new bag, Baby… I worked with a fine, graphic design artist called Hugh Syme… a Canadian chap… Very gifted… We connected on a very positive, creative level… I discussed with him all the elements I wanted to have in the presentation…a new logo…an emblem, a Celtic, runic style amulet that looked ancient, like it had been here forever, but, still maintained immense power…

All the symbols within the emblem represent only positive energies… Sun, Moon… fertility… Yes… a little ‘humpty dumpty’ in there, too… check out the interlocking snakes… they are DEFINITELY getting to know each other! But, no negatives… no black magic nonsense… It seemed to work…

a3When you started to record the album in Canada prior to your sinus surgery, you joked that you sounded like Peter Lorre! Seriously though, was there ever a point in the illness where you felt that it would compromise your future career?

DC… I sounded as if I was speaking while holding my nose… It was not the usual butch, resonant Barry Whitesnake tone that you’ve become familiar with over the years… It was one of the worst, most confusing, emotional times I have experienced… Try to imagine something you love to do… playing the piano, for instance, & then get crippling arthritis that stops you playing… completely… It was awful…

Until then, I’d pretty much taken whatever ‘gifts’ I had for granted… Everything started off great… My voice was in kick arse shape… it went everywhere I threw it… All registers covered… The guide vocals I was singing live to inspire the band were on the money… The songs were tailor made for my pipes… I’ll probably find some basic monitor mixes of those when I get the tapes back from Universal… It was a walk in the park, as they say when we started… then… the shit hit the fan… & did it ever…

With all of the delays that you encountered in making the album, did you ever consider that the ‘1987’ album may be ill fated? Did you ever consider disbanding Whitesnake?

DC… Yes… all of the above… I felt it was falling to bits for a bunch of reasons I’ll save for my future book ‘How White Was My Snake’! To be honest, it was probably my belief in the songs that helped maintain my sanity… I could only pray that I would eventually be able to sing them… My manager at the time, Howard Kaufman was very supportive… Kalodnar totally believed in the songs & the project… Those two guys were a wonderful support system for me throughout all the ups & downs…

a4Whitesnake has always been associated with a “twin guitar” approach. Was it a conscious decision to move back to this approach following the recording of the album, or simply a spoil of riches?

DC… I’d never really let go of that ideal… I had always favoured the two guitar approach… It simply worked out with John as the sole guitarist for that time, he was certainly accomplished enough to cover all bases… but, prior to us buggering off to Canada, I had seen Steve Vai as the devil’s guitar slinger in the movie ‘Crossroads’… quite honestly he blew me away… & I felt he would make a perfect foil to John… An unbeatable union… An entirely different player to John… As you can imagine, John wasn’t so keen on the concept… but, I did discuss with him that it was in mind… It just didn’t work out for John & I at that time so, I didn’t pursue the idea again ’til much later when Steve was out of the Lee Roth band…

With the new mastering technology for the Collectors Edition, were you able to get a different perspective on the classic songs? Do you appreciate the aspects of this technology in any particular songs?

DC… I loved hearing the remastered version of all the album… I feel most of the songs stand the test of time… Dave Donnelly at DNA in LA did a fabulous job… He brought out dynamics I hadn’t heard since the actual recording… Some great guitar stuff… & vocal nuances that were lost because of the technology at the time… Remember the album was originally recorded for vinyl records… CD’s were literally only just starting to make an impression… Yes… I’m very happy with the audio… & even more excited with the concept of the other ‘anniversary’ projects we can attend to now we’ve broken the ice with this one…

Over the next 5 years… providing the music business survives… I have a whole bunch of anniversary albums to bring to your turntable & DVD machine… Look out!!!

Was there any discussion about remixing the recordings in addition to remastering them?

DC… Economically there is no way the record company will commit to that kind of expense these days, unfortunately… It’s not even a consideration for them… & I cannot access the multi track tapes… they’re in a vault & the record company has the key!… Strange huh? I fully intend to explore that aspect when I get the masters back just over a year from now… I would love to present a double package of the original, remastered album, accompanied by a remixed version… Lord knows what mischief we can get up to… I’ll probably start off with a remixed ‘Greatest Hits’ collection & see how it goes… So much depends on economics… & time, of course… & this will all have to be within the parameters of Whitesnakes schedule… I’m not stopping having fun on tour to lock myself away in a studio for months on end!

a5Why was the running order of the tracks changed on the Collectors Edition? The original US release opened with ‘Crying in the Rain’.

DC… That was one of the more ‘fun’ aspects for me, messing around with the running order… I always wanted ‘Still Of The Night’ to open the album… I like it… it’s fresher to me… Brought me back to the record… Definitely fun to play in the car when I’m up & down to LA…& if you don’t like it… do your own running order!

‘Looking for Love’ and ‘You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again’ were not included in the original US release. Why was this?

DC… We were limited by the time factor dictated by vinyl records… In those days you tried to achieve to the LOUDEST cut on your record… which was 20 minutes a side…maximum… I was shocked when Kalodnar said he wanted ‘Children Of The Night’ over ‘Looking For Love’… Speechless, as a matter of fact… I still feel ‘Looking For Love’ is one of the best songs John & I wrote together… I believe it was on the UK version of the album…

a6Why did you make the decision to revisit ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Crying in the Rain’?

DC… It was at Kalodnar’s request… He felt they would make a mark in the US… & he was right… Other decisions he made later about revisiting earlier Whitesnake songs didn’t quite pan out as well, or as successfully…

Why are there no “extras” from the ‘1987’ era on the Collectors Edition, such as live performances, studio outtakes, original demos or even unofficial material?

DC… There are no studio out-takes simply because I do not have access to my original multi track tapes… You’ll have to wait ’til I get them back to search thro’ them for that kind of thing… Record companies don’t like the artists who create the work getting anywhere near them, for some reason… I’m still learning thro’ my website that some people want just about anything at their fingertips… regardless of quality… That’s a bit of a tough one for me… If you’ve followed the horrid, scraping the barrel albums that Deep Purple’s old management throw out there without our blessing, you may understand my reluctance to stick just any old thing on a record under the name Whitesnake… Even then, I know some people seem to delight in scratchy videos… Crappy sounding shows… I don’t get it… but, I’m trying to understand…

I haven’t closed the door on researching more of this avenue of questionable delights from my sordid past for possible inclusion in future projects… As anyone who has seriously followed my career knows I have always tried to maintain strict quality standards for Whitesnake… to make sure you get as much bang for your buck, as possible… & I will continue to do that as long as I can… If we utilise bootleg audio or visuals, you can be assured they will be the best quality we can find… then someone will probably tell us they have a copy much better than ours! I’ve never collected bootlegs until recently… & those I make available on…

I do have some decent quality cassettes of John & I composing the songs… & the original working titles… then the first rehearsals with Aynsley & Neil playing the songs for the first time… & some other drummers, of course, as we auditioned the entire percussive community of Los Angeles trying to replace Cozy! Who knows… maybe they’ll see the light of day…

a10Why are videos and tracks from the recently-released ‘Live… In The Still of the Night’ and ‘Live… In The Shadow Of The Blues’ included in this edition?

DC… I wanted to show the band then & now… & that the songs & the band are as alive, kicking & as vital now, as they were 20 years ago… Out of all the options, I favored this approach & found it the most interesting to get me involved… & from the majority of the feedback we’ve received at the website it’s being positively welcomed…

The booklet of the Collectors Edition includes some great photographs. Were you involved in the selection process?

DC… Yes… I worked very closely with a new Amigo del la Serpiente Blanca, an artist called Hugh Gilmour…Very talented chap… My God… some of the pix from those days…Jeez…I wanted to hide them from my son!…But, hey…that’s where it was at for a time… so… giggle & move on… Hugh’s also a musician… a bass player, actually… so, he knows what it’s all about… & he’s extremely well versed in all things Snake… He designed all the recent early WS remasters with me… He lead the way… Wonderful stuff… Amazing… Very positive guy… Good ‘rock’ perspective… He’ll do very nicely, thank you… We work together very well indeed… so much so I asked him to work with me on the new WS album… It’s beautiful work… Terrific ideas guy, too… Definitely a part of the future…

You worked with Geoff Barton from Classic Rock magazine for the liner notes. How did this association come about?

DC… Geoff’s been writing positively… & negatively about Whitesnake since the very beginning… We reconnected a few years ago… I suggested him to EMI… He’s all grown up now! I enjoy his work… He’s a good bloke… no nonsense… It’s a good team we have for this stuff… relatively painless… Geoff also knows there are boundaries I won’t cross… aspects of ‘dirty laundry’ that I leave to other people to reveal to the public… My memory is very good… & my recall is not as self serving as some…

Why did you feel it was important to include the names of Whitesnake’s 2007 line-up in the booklet?

a9DC… Simple… Because they are featured on the project… If they weren’t on the package, there would be no reason to have them credited… But, they are… The same reason that the 87 touring band, Vivian, Adrian, Rudy & TA… the band that is featured in all the MTV promo videos, as I call them, are featured… There was no question in my mind, or heart they deserve to be there… they were totally instrumental in promoting the success of the original album… I’m totally grateful to them for their help… I’m still trying to work out why Marco Mendoza’s name is missing… It was certainly on the notes I sent to EMI for the credits…

They are all a significant part of the entity called Whitesnake… & all have, & some continue to promote this work, these songs… as well as maintain the identity & integrity of the band throughout the World… Yes… they all deserve to be on there & respectfully credited…

Many artists are now doing concerts where they perform a classic album in its entirety. Have you considered doing this for ‘1987’?

DC… That was my plan for 07… with a couple of the new songs thrown in for good measure, but, then I committed to making a new studio album… That’s my priority this year… making the best possible album of new songs… Perhaps next year… or later this year… who knows…Call my agent! I was very excited at the idea of performing some different songs from the 87 album… so… let’s hope that will happen… It’s a strong album… the songs deserve to be played live…

a12Will there be any new merchandise to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ‘1987’, such as limited edition t-shirts?

DC… Yes… the Two Cool Coyotes have been as busy as Santa’s elves!… All the designs are at the merch company… I was hoping they’d be available now… at least online… Sometimes the business end is so slow, it’s painful… Hopefully, we’ll have them ready soon…

What became of the infamous white and green Jaguars from the videos? Can I buy them?

DC… Well… mine… the white one… is safe in storage… There was talk, some years ago, of the Hard Rock franchise buying it… They offered something very silly… easy to pass on… I haven’t seen it for years… The black one, not green, was the video director, Marty Callner’s car… I’m sure he’s got himself some new wheels by now! Mmm… sell the ol’ white Jag?… The Shaguar?… I’m sure by waving significant monies under my nose one could possibly induce me to consider such a transaction!…Ha Ha Ha!!!

Looking back at the whole 1987 era, is there any aspect of it that you would have approached differently?

DC… No… Everything was absolutely necessary… Everything… even the real bad stuff…



  • Nick


    Happy 30th Anniversary !

  • Maureen Elston


    Great job, Purplesnake. You nailed it.. From the very beginning, David was made for greatness. Hes had an incredible journey and still on the move. Always David and Whitesnake❤❤

  • daniel fernandez


    Why can’t I find that album on Spotify or iTunes??

  • Jon Molnar


    Yes you need to look back on those original studio works. Like why did Is This Love have its lyrics changed? I have a 1987 studio works bootleg and it’s the shit!!!!!!

  • Trevor G


    Happy 30th anniversary – Whitesnake/1987

    Congratulations DC and band who continue to engage audiences worldwide with this classic Hard Rock album, that continues to stand the test of time.
    Back in 1987, late one night in Melbourne Australia MTV played that iconic first single…..that guitar screech, and then DC high up on stage belting out those famous words…In the Still of the Night…. where we were slowly introduced to the new Whitesnake as we went on a incredible journey for 6:23.
    By the end I said, wow, what the f..k was that.
    The rest off-course is history as they say for those of us that were privileged to grow up with this iconic album.
    A big thanks goes out to the writers and all the subsequent line-ups that have kept this album alive, still resonating with old and new audiences, keeping the Whitesnake brand flying all around the world.

  • Chris


    David, if you are reading this… ‘Whitesnake 1987’ was the first Whitesnake album I ever bought – in 1987! It’s still my fave, although ‘Slip…’ and ‘Slide…’ come close. The prospect of a 30th anniversary version is one that I would welcome. If so, please could it include the b-side of ‘Is This Love’ – ‘Standing in the Shadows’ – and the Vivian Campbell guitar solo version of ‘Give Me All Your Love’. Thanks and Happy 30th!!!

  • Andre Ricardo


    The BEST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chris



    Me again! How about a 3 disc Special Edition of ‘1987’ to celebrate its third decade? Disc 1 could be the album with b-sides and other bonus tracks. Disc 2 could be a live CD taken from either 1987 or 1988 live in concert. Disc 3 could be a DVD containing the promo videos, TV appearances, selected 1987-1988 live tracks and maybe even the live version of ‘Crying in the Rain’ from Rock in Rio ’85 as this is probably the closest we’ll ever get to seeing a ‘1987’ track performed by three quarters of the ‘1987’ studio line up! Just a few thoughts! Cheers!

  • Keith


    Man Oh Man….BRING Back the 80’s !!!

  • Eamonn


    Great work! Hysteria came out the same year as well! I remember reading how Coverdale helped Elliot on pyromania Jon Malner where would I find the bootleg?

  • Walter McRoberts


    I want to buy a 1987 tour white snake t shirt.

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