How Coverdale embraced commercial rock
David Coverdale has recalled how he embraced a more commercial form of rock music as he made Whitesnake’s 1984 album Slide It In.
He experienced a eureka moment after A&R icon John Kalodner determined the order of tracks on the A side of the record.
And put together with advice gleaned from producers Keith Olsen and Mutt Lange, it charted a course for Coverdale’s career over the decades to come.
Speaking in a Whitesnake TV face-to-face chat with the singer, available below, Olsen remembers: “In those days we had to sequence the album, and Mr Kalodner said: ‘I know what the sequence will be.’”
Coverdale continues: “Without any discussion with me! He drummed in on what he thought were the big radio tracks.” But he adds: “You guys were right.”
The first time he heard the album played on radio, he was sharing a hire car with drummer Cozy Powell. “We were blown away,” says the vocalist. “I said to Cozy, ‘You can teach an old snake new tricks.’ And that was the beginning of me embracing compression.”
Olsen says: “And it was you embracing a commercial form of rock’n'roll.”
Lange had been pencilled in to work on Slide It In, but had to bow out for personal reasons. Nevertheless, Coverdale says the producer offered him a valuable rule of thumb to consider. “Mutt told me, ‘At least four hooks, David. Get four hooks in there, whether they’re vocal or musical.’ It wasn’t bad advice.”
Whitesnake played their first-ever concert 35 years ago on Saturday, appearing at the Sky Bird Club in Nottingham on February 23, 1978, with original lineup Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray, Pete Solley and David ‘Duck’ Dowie.
Journey, Whitesnake, Thunder UK tour 2013
May 16: Belfast Oddyssey
May 18: Glasgow SECC
May 20: Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
May 22: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
May 25: Nottingham Capital FM Arena
May 26: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
May 28: Birmingham LG Arena
May 29: London Wembley Arena