Jump to content

David Coverdale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Coverdale
Coverdale in 2015
Coverdale in 2015
Background information
Born (1951-09-22) 22 September 1951 (age 72)
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1966–present
Member of
Formerly of
  • Julia Borkowski
    (m. 1974, divorced)
  • (m. 1989; div. 1991)
  • Cindy Coverdale
    (m. 1997)

David Coverdale (born 22 September 1951) is an English singer and songwriter, best known as the founder and lead singer of the hard rock band Whitesnake. He was also the lead singer of Deep Purple from 1973 to 1976, after which he released two solo studio albums, White Snake (1977) and Northwinds (1978), before forming Whitesnake in 1978.

During a Whitesnake hiatus from 1991 to 1993, he collaborated with ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on the Coverdale–Page album, which was subsequently certified platinum. In 1997 studio album Restless Heart was initially intended to be released as a solo album, but in the end was released under moniker of "David Coverdale & Whitesnake". In 2000, Coverdale released his third studio album Into the Light.

In 2016, Coverdale was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple. Coverdale is known in particular for his powerful, blues-tinged voice.[1][2]

Early life


Coverdale was born on 22 September 1951 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, near Redcar, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, son of Thomas Joseph Coverdale and Winnifred May (Roberts) Coverdale.[3] According to Coverdale, his maternal side and mother "were the singers", while paternal side "were the painters, the sketchers, the artists".[4] He got initiation into music at his maternal grandmother's place and school, at an early age started learning to play guitar and piano, but drawing was his primary medium of expression.[4]

From the beginning Coverdale showed singing talent and "discovered that he could project" and had a "gut voice".[4] Around the age of 14, he began performing professionally and developing his voice. "I don't think my voice had broken", he explained to Sounds in 1974. "And that's when I first learnt how to sing with my stomach, which sounds silly, but it's totally different from a normal voice".[citation needed]



Early career


Deep Purple (1973–1976)


Coverdale started his career performing with local bands Vintage 67 (1966–1968), The Government (1968–1972), and Fabulosa Brothers (1972–1973).[5] By 1973 he left art college and was successfully working as a "singing salesman",[4] until he saw an article in a copy of Melody Maker, which said that Deep Purple was auditioning for singers to replace Ian Gillan.[4] Coverdale had fronted a local group called The Government, which had played with Deep Purple on the same bill in 1969, so he and the band were familiar with one another, and after sending a tape and later auditioning,[4] Coverdale was admitted into the band due to "his singing and songwriting talents",[5] with new bassist Glenn Hughes also providing vocals with Coverdale.

In February 1974, Deep Purple released their first album with Coverdale and Hughes, titled Burn, which was certified Gold in the United States on 20 March 1974,[6] and in the UK on 1 July. In April 1974 Coverdale and Deep Purple performed to over 200,000 fans on his first trip to the United States at the California Jam. In December 1974, Burn was followed-up by Stormbringer, which also ranked at Gold album status in the US and the UK. The funk and soul influences of the previous record were even more prominent here and this was one of the reasons why guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left the band in June 1975.[7]

Coverdale standing on the left with Deep Purple Mark IV lineup, 1976

Rather than disbanding, Coverdale was instrumental in persuading the band to continue with American guitarist Tommy Bolin (of Billy Cobham and The James Gang fame).[5] As Jon Lord put it, "David Coverdale came up to me and said, 'Please keep the band together.' David played me the album that Tommy did with Billy Cobham. We liked his playing on it and invited Tommy to audition.'"[8] The band released one studio album with Bolin, Come Taste the Band in 1975, which was less commercially successful than previous records. The supporting tour proved difficult, with both Hughes and Bolin having drug habits. In March 1976, at the end of the final show of the tour, Coverdale reportedly walked off in tears and handed in his resignation, to which he was told there was no band left to quit. The decision to disband Deep Purple had been made some time before the last show by Lord and Ian Paice (the last remaining original members), who had not told anyone else. The break-up was finally made public in July 1976. Coverdale said in an interview: "I was frightened to leave the band. Purple was my life, Purple gave me my break, but all the same I wanted out."[9]

Solo efforts White Snake and Northwinds (1977–1978)


After the demise of Deep Purple, Coverdale embarked on a solo career. In a wake of punk movement he stayed true to his blues rock roots.[5] He released his first solo studio album in February 1977, titled White Snake. All songs were written by Coverdale and guitarist Micky Moody, and the music shows funk, R&B and jazz influences.[1] As his first solo effort, Coverdale later admitted: "It's very difficult to think back and talk sensibly about the first album. White Snake had been a very inward-looking, reflective and low-key affair in many ways, written and recorded as it was in the aftermath of the collapse of Deep Purple."[9] Even though the album was not successful, its title inspired the name of Coverdale's future band.[9]

In 1978, Coverdale released his second studio album Northwinds, in "blues- and R&B-influenced hard rock" style was received much better than the previous album,[10] and in 2021 Classic Rock considered it as "a remarkably mature album that can still send shivers down the spine 30 years after it was recorded" and "antithesis of Whitesnake's super-slick 1987".[11] But before the album's release, he had already formed a new band.[5]

Early Whitesnake era (1978–1982)

Coverdale with Whitesnake at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1981

After recording Northwinds, Coverdale soon formed the band Whitesnake, with Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody both handling guitar duties. Although this was originally a touring band for Coverdale's first solo album, it soon developed into a full-time band. In early 1978, the band released an EP titled Snakebite, which was later expanded into a full album, also titled Snakebite, released in June 1978, with the EP on side one and select tracks from Coverdale's Northwinds album on side two. For the follow-up album, Trouble, Coverdale was joined by his former Deep Purple colleague, keyboardist Jon Lord. For Whitesnake's 1980 album, Ready an' Willing, another Deep Purple member, drummer Ian Paice, joined the group. Ready an' Willing also featured the band's biggest hit up to that point, the song "Fool for Your Loving", which reached No. 13 on the British charts,[12] and No. 53 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Ready an' Willing was followed up by the even more successful Come an' Get It in 1981. Coverdale put Whitesnake on hold during part of 1982, to make time for the treatment and care of his sick daughter.[4] When the time was right to return, he reformed the band, which thereafter recorded the album Saints & Sinners.[5] Also in 1982, Coverdale was considered for the vocalist position with Black Sabbath following the departure of Ronnie James Dio, but he declined because of Whitesnake.[13]



International success of Whitesnake (1983–1991)

Coverdale performing with Whitesnake on their 1987 tour

Whitesnake gained significant popularity in the UK, Europe, and Asia, but North American success remained elusive.[5] In 1984, the album Slide It In dented the US charts (reaching #40), but not enough to be considered a hit. In time for the US release of Slide It In, Coverdale made a calculated attempt at updating Whitesnake's sound and look by recruiting guitarist John Sykes from the remnants of Thin Lizzy.[4] Sykes brought a more contemporary, aggressive guitar sound with him and had stage manners to match. The last remaining Deep Purple connections were severed when Jon Lord left after recording Slide It In to re-form Deep Purple (Ian Paice had left Whitesnake in 1982).

In 1985, Sykes and Coverdale started working on new songs for the next album, but Coverdale soon contracted a serious sinus infection that made recording close to impossible for much of 1986 and which had doctors thinking he might never sing again. Coverdale eventually recovered, and recordings were continued.[5] But before their upcoming album was fully recorded and released, Coverdale had dismissed Sykes from the band.[4][14] In many period interviews, Coverdale stated that the next album was a make-or-break album for Whitesnake, and if not successful he would disband Whitesnake altogether. During 1987 and 1988, North America was finally won over, with the multi-platinum self-titled Whitesnake album. Propelled by hit singles such as "Here I Go Again" and "Is This Love", as well as MTV airing of "Still of the Night", finally made Whitesnake a "bona fide arena headliner" in North America.[5]

Through the late 1980s and early 1990s, caught in the "hair-band" era, Coverdale kept Whitesnake going with great success despite changing line-ups. In 1989, Coverdale recruited Vandenberg to record a new album, Slip of the Tongue. Vandenberg co-wrote the entire album with Coverdale, but a wrist injury sidelined him from contributing the solo guitar work. Steve Vai was recruited, re-recording most of Vandenberg's existing parts and finishing the album. Upon release, it also was a success in Europe and the US,[5] but it "was a considerable disappointment after the across-the-board success of Whitesnake".[15]

Coverdale at the Monsters of Rock festival in 1990

In 1990, Coverdale sang and co-wrote (with Hans Zimmer and Billy Idol) the song "The Last Note of Freedom" for the Tony Scott film Days of Thunder. On 26 September 1990, after the last show on the Slip of the Tongue tour in Tokyo, Coverdale disbanded Whitesnake indefinitely. Tired of the business in general, the rigors of touring and troubled by his separation and later divorce from Tawny Kitaen, Coverdale wanted to find other values in life and took "private time to reflect" and re-assess his career direction.

At that point Coverdale had grown uncomfortable with the entity he felt Whitesnake had become, and admitted that he got "caught up in it". In 1993 interview with Robert Hilburn commented that "had to stop everything, this whole circus. I had never gone into (music) for the image thing at all, and I really couldn't do it anymore".[16] In one 2006 interview, Coverdale recalled "it got louder and louder, and so did I, to the point now where I have to get dressed up like a "girly man" and tease one's questionable bangs or hair and it's all becoming a bit ... boring".[17]

Coverdale and Page (1991–1993)


In the early spring of 1991, a collaboration was set up with guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame.[16] Both parties have said that the collaboration revitalised them on many levels. This collaboration resulted in the Coverdale-Page album released in March 1993.[16] The album was a hit worldwide, reaching number 4 in the UK and number 5 in the US, and was certified Platinum in the US on 7 April 1995.[18] The US tour for the album had to be cancelled due to slow ticket sales, but held a limited Japanese arena tour before they parted ways and Page soon started collaborating again with Robert Plant.

Later years


Return of Whitesnake and Restless Heart (1994, 1997–1998)


In 1994, Coverdale assembled a new line-up of Whitesnake (with the exception of Coverdale's musical partner, guitarist Adrian Vandenberg and bassist Rudy Sarzo, both of whom had been in Whitesnake since 1987) to tour for the release of Whitesnake's Greatest Hits album. After this Coverdale once again retreated from the music business, for three years.

In 1997 Coverdale returned and released Restless Heart (with Vandenberg on guitar). The album was originally supposed to be Coverdale's solo album, but in the end the record company forced it to be released under the moniker "David Coverdale & Whitesnake".[4] The tour was billed as Whitesnake's farewell tour, during which Coverdale and Vandenberg played two unplugged shows, one in Japan and the other for VH1.[19][20] The first of the two shows was released the next year under the title Starkers in Tokyo.[5] After the Restless Heart-tour ended, Coverdale once again folded Whitesnake and took another short break from music.

Back to solo and Into the Light (1999–2002)


In 2000, Coverdale released his first solo studio album in 22 years, titled Into The Light with singles "Love is Blind" and "Slave". Even though the album was not a commercial hit, it is his most successful solo album both commercially and critically, with the song "River Song" receiving most notoriety, and did return Coverdale to the music business.[21][22][23] In 2003 was released compilation album The Early Years including his two studio albums White Snake and Northwinds from the 1970s.

Re-reformation of Whitesnake (2003–present)

Coverdale performing with Whitesnake at Clisson, France in 2013
Coverdale performing with Whitesnake at Saint-Petersburg, Russia in 2019

In December 2002, Coverdale re-reformed Whitesnake for an American tour with The Scorpions in early 2003,[5] with Tommy Aldridge on drums, Marco Mendoza (bass), Doug Aldrich (guitar), Reb Beach (ex-Winger guitarist) and keyboardist Timothy Drury.[24] They were also performing on the Rock Never Stops Tour in the same year.[2]

In April 2008, the band released its first new studio album in over 11 years titled Good to Be Bad to great success.[4][25][26] On 11 August 2009 Whitesnake were playing a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado when Coverdale suffered some kind of vocal injury. After seeing a specialist, it was announced on 12 August 2009 that Coverdale had been suffering from severe vocal fold edema and a left vocal fold vascular lesion. The remainder of the tour with Judas Priest was cancelled so that this injury would not worsen.[27] In March 2011 the band released eleventh studio album Forevermore.[28]

In May 2015, the band released The Purple Album with cover versions of the songs that Coverdale had originally performed with Deep Purple.[29][30] It was followed by a tour.[31] In May 2019, the band released new studio album Flesh & Blood.[32]

In 2022, the band began their COVID-delayed farewell tour with European dates kicking off in Dublin on 10 May 2022, but were able to continue only until their date in Croatia on 2 July 2022.[33] After cancelling the last 11 dates of the European leg of the tour due to health problems affecting various band members including Reb Beach, Tommy Aldridge and Coverdale himself, Whitesnake subsequently cancelled the entire 2022 North American leg of its Farewell Tour as Coverdale was forced to deal with ongoing respiratory health issues.[34]


Coverdale mural at Kavarna, Bulgaria.

In 2006, hard rock/heavy metal magazine Hit Parader named Coverdale as No. 54 on its list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time.[35] In 2009, he was voted as 5th out of 40 "the greatest voice in rock" in a poll conducted by UK classic rock radio station Planet Rock.[36][37]

In 2003 PopMatters proclaimed him as the "crown prince of '70s rock. Not even Plant, definitely not Bad Company's Paul Rodgers, or anyone else can touch Coverdale at this moment in time when it comes to rock icons from that era — it's just a shame that hardly anyone comes to see it".[2] In 2015, Dave Everley of Classic Rock considered that "Whitesnake are one of the great British bands of the past 40 years, and Coverdale is one of the finest blue-eyed soul singers, full-stop".[38] William Pinfold in Record Collector review of Martin Popoff's 2015 biography on Whitesnake commented that both the band and Coverdale "have been consistently taken seriously" but "are underrated compared with the plaudits given to their 70s/80s peers", considering Coverdale "outrageously talented, charismatic and in equal parts lordly and humble, he's a hugely likeable figure".[39]

In 2016, Coverdale was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple.[40]

Personal life


Coverdale was married in 1974 to Julia Borkowski from Poland, and their daughter Jessica was born in 1978. Coverdale's second marriage was to former model and actress Tawny Kitaen, from 17 February 1989 until they divorced two years later, in April 1991. Kitaen was known for her provocative appearances in Whitesnake's music videos for "Here I Go Again", "Is This Love", and "Still of the Night". Since marrying on 30 May 1997, he has lived with his third wife, Cindy, an author (The Food That Rocks); they have one son.[41][42]

On 1 March 2007, Coverdale became a US citizen, in a ceremony in Reno, Nevada, and now holds dual UK citizenship and US. For many years in the 1980s he lived in hotels, including then Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.[43][44] Since 1988 he has lived on almost 10,000 sq ft estate in Incline Village, Nevada at Lake Tahoe where he built a luxurious house.[44][45][46] In 2019 he decided to sell it,[47] and in 2021 it was reportedly sold for $6.8 million.[48]

A more spiritual than religious person, Coverdale since late 1960s is regularly practicing meditation and considers it "the most incredible accessory or tool that I've found in my life".[4][44]





Guest performances


Film and TV appearances

  • 1977 The Butterfly Ball
  • 1990 Days of Thunder
  • 2011 Metal Evolution
  • 2012 A Passion for the Vine
  • 2013 Behind The Music Remastered, ep. Deep Purple
  • 2016 Here I Go Again: David Coverdale


  1. ^ a b Valdivia, Victor (16 October 2011). "David Coverdale: White Snake / North Winds". PopMatters. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "The Rock Never Stops Tour with Whitesnake, Warrant, Winger and Slaughter". PopMatters. 26 August 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  3. ^ "David Coverdale: Still rocking after all these years". Yorkshirepost.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Chirazi, Steffan (March 2011). "The Growing Pains Of Whitesnake's David Coverdale". Classic Rock. London, England: Future plc. pp. 10–24. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Prato, Greg. "David Coverdale: Biography". MSN Music. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  6. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum database". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Deep Purple: History and Hits" DVD.
  8. ^ "Jon Lord interview at www.thehighwaystar.com". Thehighwaystar.com. 12 February 1968. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  9. ^ a b c DeRiso, Nick (19 July 2021). "45 Years Ago: David Coverdale Quits As Deep Purple Disintegrate". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  10. ^ Bret Adams, "Northwinds", Allmusic, retrieved 13 November 2023.
  11. ^ Jeffries, Neil (5 January 2021). "David Coverdale: a guide to his best albums". Classic Rock. Louder. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  12. ^ "Whitesnake The Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  13. ^ "Michael Bolton Auditioned For Black Sabbath, According To Tony Iommi". Kerrang!. 10 March 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  14. ^ "David Coverdale bio". Vh1.com. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  15. ^ S. T. Erlewine and G. Prato, "Whitesnake", Allmusic, retrieved 27 September 2010.
  16. ^ a b c Hilburn, Robert (14 March 1993). "Pop Music: Back From the Led: It's been a long time since Jimmy Page really rock 'n' rolled, but the Zeppelin guitarist found a spark working with David Coverdale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  17. ^ "david coverdale interview". YouTube. 19 January 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2012.[dead YouTube link]
  18. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  19. ^ "Whitesnake Too Many Tears Vh1 Unplugged 1997 By Ari". YouTube. 21 November 1997. Retrieved 2 January 2012.[dead YouTube link]
  20. ^ "Whitesnake – Too Many Tears & The Deeper The Love (Acoustic VH1 1997)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 November 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  21. ^ Jeffries, Neil (22 September 2021). "Every David Coverdale and Whitesnake album, ranked from worst to best". Classic Rock. Louder. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  22. ^ Llewellyn, Siân (18 September 2000). "David Coverdale – Into the Light (EMI/Chrysalis - advance CD)". Classic Rock. London, England: Future. p. 63.
  23. ^ Mineur, Matthias (2000). "David Coverdale - Into the Light (EMI)". Metal Hammer. Vol. 17, no. 10. Munich, Germany: AS Young Mediahouse GmbH. p. 86.
  24. ^ Syrjala, Marko (14 November 2006). "WHITESNAKE Guitarist Doug Aldrich". Metal Rules. Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2012. In December 2002 Coverdale reunited Whitesnake for Whitesnake's 25-year anniversary.
  25. ^ "Whitesnake Frontman Discusses 'Good To Be Bad'". Blabbermouth.net. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  26. ^ McIver, Joel (March 2011). "Good to Be Bad (SPV/Steamhammer)". Classic Rock presents Whitesnake – Forevermore (The Official Album Magazine). London, England: Future plc. p. 129.
  27. ^ Emerson, Lisa (13 August 2009). "Whitesnake singer David Coverdale injures vocal cords". WTSP. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013.
  28. ^ "Whitesnake: New Album Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  29. ^ Stingley, Mick (3 March 2015). "Whitesnake Recasts Deep Purple Tracks For 'The Purple Album'". Billboard. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  30. ^ Hann, Michael (22 April 2015). "David Coverdale: 'I amplify who I am 10 times when I'm on stage'". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  31. ^ Wardlaw, Matt (17 April 2015). "Whitesnake's David Coverdale: 'This Could Be a Farewell to the Big Rock Stuff'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  32. ^ Wilding, Philip (10 May 2019). "Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood album review". Louder. Classic Rock. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  33. ^ "Whitesnake's David Coverdale Diagnosed With Infection Of Sinus And Trachea; More Concerts Canceled". Blabbermouth.net. 28 June 2022. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  34. ^ "USA Tour Cancellation Announcement". Whitesnake Official Website. 5 August 2022. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  35. ^ "Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists Of All Time". Theinsider.com. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  36. ^ "Robert Plant voted rock's greatest voice". MusicRadar. 4 January 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  37. ^ "Robert Plant voted 'greatest voice in rock'". Nme.com. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  38. ^ Everley, Dave (17 April 2015). "Whitesnake: The Purple Album". Classic Rock. Retrieved 9 December 2020 – via Loudersound.
  39. ^ Pinfold, William (22 April 2015). "Sail Away: Whitesnake's Fantastic Voyage (book review)". Record Collector (440). Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  40. ^ "NWA, Deep Purple and Chicago enter Hall of Fame". BBC. 17 December 2015.
  41. ^ "Here he goes again". Ellesmere Port Pioneer. Cheshire Online. 29 June 2006. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  42. ^ "Whitesnake's Coverdale Is Supportive of Wife's New Career". Blabbermouth.net. 8 March 2004. Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  43. ^ Bleach, Stephen (7 May 2006). "My hols: David Coverdale". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  44. ^ a b c Graham, Hugh (1 December 2019). "David Coverdale on chasing bears out of his house, living like a posh monk and being blessed with rock-star hair". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  45. ^ Zap, Claudine (10 March 2021). "Rocker David Coverdale Close to Recording a Sale of His Tahoe-Area Home". Realtor.com. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  46. ^ "Bear confronts Whitesnake singer". BBC News. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  47. ^ Leitereg, Neal J. (3 April 2019). "Whitesnake's David Coverdale lists Lake Tahoe retreat with sweet views, good vibes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  48. ^ Irwin, Corey (13 April 2021). "David Coverdale Sells 'Glorious' Lake Tahoe Home for $6.8 million". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  49. ^ "The Last Note Of Freedom - David Coverdale". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 November 2023.