October 1987: Whitesnake Turn Down and Blow Up with "Is This Love"

Photo by George Rose/Getty Images
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(George Rose/Getty Images)

The year 1987 was very good to the band Whitesnake. After going through major upheaval in the band, singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes recruited a new cast of players to record the self-titled follow-up to 1984 full-length, Slide It In. Powered by the music video starring actress Tawny Kitaen, a re-recording of 1982 track, “Here I Go Again,” had soared to No. 1 on the Hot 100. The next single, “Is This Love,” would translate that same energy (and another steamy video featuring Kitaen) into a storming power ballad. The tune would race up the charts, peaking at No. 2 when George Michael’s “Faith” from the blockbuster album of the same name refused to relinquish the top spot.

 

 

It’s a song that very nearly ended up in the hands of the “Private Dancer” herself: “‘Is This Love’ had a bit of a different lyric, which I really enjoyed,” Coverdale explains in the video below about a trip to the south of France for a writing session. “I was messing about with this idea for Tina Turner, the amazing, luminous Tina Turner – I would still love to hear her perform it. I was playing it on piano … [Sykes] said, ‘What is that?’ I went, ‘It’s not for us.’” Once Sykes heard the melody, he worked to transform it into a Whitesnake song, and the rest is history.

 

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