Ex-Deep Purple vocalist David Cloverdale founded Whitesnake by taking the name of his debut album David Coverdale's Whitesnake. But before the name change his self-titled act David Coverdale, opened shop after he left Deep Purple for a solo career. Grabbing Mick Moody (ex-Juicy Lucy/ex-Snafu; guitar), Tim Hinkley (keyboards), Simon Philips (drums), Deslisle Harper (bass), Ron Asperey (sax) and Roger Glover (producer, bass, keyboards) he would release the aforementioned debut in 1977. Shortly later the line-up shifted to just Coverdale and Moody recruiting Bernie Marsden (ex-Paice, Ashton & Lord/ex-U.F.O./ex-Wild Turkey; guitar), Neil Murray (ex-Coliseum/ex-National Health; bass), Brian Johnson (ex-Streetwalkers; keyboards) and David Dowell (ex-Streetwalkers; drums) for the Northwinds (1978) sophomore effort.
Featuring the same line-up, except Pete Solley taking over keyboards, he would change the name to David Coverdale's Whitesnake and sign to EMI' by mid 1978. They debuted with the Snakebite EP later that same year, featuring a cover of Bobby Bland's Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The, featuring Pete Solley on keyboards to replace the departing Johnson. But their debut album, Trouble (1978), got them a U.K. top 50 with ex-Deep Purple/ex-Paice, Ashton & Lord man Jon Lord and his keyboard helping. Love Hunter (1979) was the follow-up that went largely ignored in favor of their new image.
Now dubbed as simply Whitesnake and featuring Ian Paice (ex-Paice, Ashton & Lord) on drums), the Ready An' Willing (1980) release obtained them a top 10 in the U.K., mostly on the strength of its attendant single; much of their appeal came from the fans of the now defunct Deep Purple looking for someone to fill the hole. Live...In The Heart Of The (1980; a double set named after the Bobby Bland track covered by them) was an acclaimed piece of work, and was probably the most consistent of their career, not to mention being one of only a few live recordings of them to boot. The follow-up, Come An' Get It (1981), narrowly missed number 1 (made 2 in the U.K.). Critics bashed it for being a departure from their bluesy roots toward a stripped down Hard Rock sound, never mind Coverdale's notorious sexist and cliche lyrics; not surprisingly he ignored the complaints.
There was a brief hiatus of the band due to the illness of Coverdale's daughter. When they got back to business several personnel changes came, with Mel Galley (ex-Back Door; guitar), Colin "Bomber" Hodgkinson (bass) and Cozy Powel (drums) stepping in by the release of Saints And Sinners (1982). Saints And Sinners got them a 9 spot on the U.K. charts, but still failed to remedy the key musical issues that were the main complaints of fans and critics.
Neil Murray was now recruited to replace Hodgkinson, but it was with the addition of ex-Tygers Of Pang Tang guitarist John Skyes that Coverdale, known for being a fuss-bucket, had found a writing partner he could work with and the results were proven on the subsequent Slide It In (1984) release. The album was chalked full of more innuendo and bluesy tracks, like Slow An' Easy, that boosted its appeal. The follow-up tour saw their instability show though again, with only Skyes and Coverdale representing it by the end; Lords and Moody leaving to join the reformed Deep Purple.
With Tony Franklin (ex-The Firm) taking up the vacant bass spot, and Carmine Appice (ex-Beck, Bogert & Appice) assuming the drums, they returned with the self-titled Whitesnake 1987 album in 1987. The album was slicker and more commercial than any previous, giving them a top 10 for the single of Zeppelin-esq Still Of The Night, proving to be the hardest track offered. Other MTV friendly tracks like Is This Love and Here I Go Again (originally on Saints And Sinners; the single of which gave them their first and only no. 1), served to push the album up the charts. The album, as a whole, stormed up the charts on both sides of "the pond" to an 8 in the U.K. and 2 in the U.S.; it sold millions. It also shed many of their traditional fans, however, and didn't do much for the band's stability, with Skyes splitting for Blue Murder.
Coverdale would once again recruit a whole new band in the form of Adrian Vandenburg (ex-Vandenburg; guitar), Rudy Sarzo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Quiet Riot; bass), Tommy Aldridge (ex-Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Black Oak Arkansas; drums) and Vivian Campbell (who was soon after replaced by guitar wizard and ex-David Lee Roth/ex-Frank Zappa man Steve Vai). They went to the Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1989, and soon after, that same year, released the uninspiring Slip Of The Tongue; the album managing a flat 10 on both sides of the Atlantic all the same.
David Coverdale would attempt to restart his solo efforts with the one-off single The Last Note Of Freedom in 1990 to little notice.
Coverdale - Page (1993) was his side effort with Jimmy Page completed during a brief hiatus from his work with his own band, and it fared much better. As the Coverdale + Page side-project featuring himself and Jimmy Page (ex-Led Zeppelin; guitar) along with George Casas (guitar), Denny Carmassi (ex-Montrose; drums), Lester Mendel (keyboards), John Harris (harmonica) and Tommy Funderbuck (back. vocals) they would release one self-titled album that got them a 4 U.K. (5 U.S.) spot. Coverdale was then sighted on tour in Europe for support of his greatest hits collection in 1994, and with his new band (now named as David Coverdale & Whitesnake), he released Restless Heart in 1997, an attempted comeback that was unlikely to see their past glory for the Metal genre has simply changed too much since.
So after the bust-up of Whitesnake and all it's variations, he would return to his solo efforts with session musicians to release his Into The Light album in 2000, an album that managed only a 75 in the U.K.