Episode #73 – David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite

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Show Updates:

Lead up to the Album:

  • The newly formed Whitesnake was supposed to play their first gig at The Sky Bird Club in Nottingham on February 23, 1978.  Neil Murray confirms in Martin Popoff’s book “Sail Away” that this never happened.
  • 5-6 April 1978 London rehearsals
  • Recorded April 7th – 13th 1978 Central Recorders to record Snakebite EP
  • Bernie Marsden explains that “the record company wouldn’t commit to an album.”
  • They apparently had a friend — Robbie Dennis — at EMI who was a bit fan of the band but his boss wouldn’t let him sign them.  Bernie Marsden credits Dennis in having a huge part of the Whitesnake story.
  • Released June 2, 1978 in the UK.


Album Art & Booklet Review

  • Marsden said the covers changed all over the world.  He claims they didn’t even see the covers until Lovehunter.


Album Tracks:

Side one:

  1. Bloody Mary
    • Written by Coverdale
  2. Steal Away

Side two:

  1. Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City
    • Written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh in 1974
    • First recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland
    • Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
    • Martin Popoff says they used this song as an audition piece for the “revolving door of players they were trying to bring into the band.”
    • Marsden says that to this day people still think Whitesnake wrote this song.
  2. Come On
    • Written by Coverdale, Marsden
    • This one would become a live staple.  This was the first song Marsden and Coverdale wrote together in a flat in London.

Reception and Review

  • Marsden says there was a fifth song for this EP called “The First Time” but it was lost and has never resurfaced.
  • Murray says there wasn’t much difference between the EP and the album Trouble because they went into the studio to do the full album just a few months later.
  • For North America this was combined with four tracks from Northwinds and sold as an LP.
  • The first 15,000 copies were pressed on white vinyl.  The second edition was pressed as black vinyl but a much smaller number.
  • Murray says this was the turning point where it shifted from Coverdale solo to the band Whitesnake.
  • On May 1, 1978 the band filmed a promo video for Snakebite at Shepperton Studios.
  • Bloody Mary was on TOTP on that day
  • 20th June 1978 London, UK: Recording backing for Bloody Mary for Top Of The Pops. 21st June 1978 London, UK: Filming for Top Of The Pops. Aired 22nd June.
  • Snakebite video:
    • 0:00 Come On
    • 3:30 – Aint’ No Love in the Heart of the City
    • 8:05 – Bloody Mary
    • 11:07 – Steal Away (fade out)
  • The Snakebite video was shown in the UK as support feature to the Bilitis soft porn movie by David Hamilton and premiered on June 22. David got some offers to appear in movies afterwards
  • Pictures from the premier.
  • Whitesnake – Bloody Mary (Top Of The Pops 1978)

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