Today is my birthday, and a truly great day. I share my birthday with a few other more notable folks: Andrea Bocelli, Joan Jett, Scott Baio, and my favorite, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. However, this post is about none of them. It’s about David Coverdale.
Coverdale came out of nowhere to replace Ian Gillan as the lead singer of Deep Purple in 1973, and those are very, very big shoes (and vocal chords) to fill. He did an admirable job, I think, although the band eventually deteriorated into this weird heavy funk thing, which I like less than the powerful majesty of the Gillan era.
After the band dissolved he went on to form Whitesnake, which cruised along for years with only modest success. In 1987, however, they had a mega hit with “Here I Go Again”, and the band solidified themselves as the jukebox/karoake staple they are today. However, before the glossy 1987 version of the song, there was the original 1982 recording featured on their album Saints and Sinners. The arrangement is similar, with the biggest change being a Hammond organ instead of synthesizers. The production is a little more loose, too, with the band actually sounding like a real band and not some slick musical robot designed to sell billions of records.
I’m not sure which version I prefer. I like that the original is a bit less “80s” sounding, for lack of a better description. It feels a bit more muscular, and there’s some breathing room in the arrangement. I also like that the great Cozy Powell is playing drums. Overall, however, it lacks a little bit of the grandeur of the 1987 version, and with that in mind, I think it’s clear why the 1987 version became a hit and the 1982 version didn’t.