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Lead up to the Album:
- The album was recorded in April and May of 1979 at Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire using the Rolling Stones Mobile.
- Marsden says it was freezing cold during the recording. He said the cold and “soulless” nature of the castle made you work harder. He says there were enormous banquets at night with a lot of drinking.
- Marsden says they put a sign up at the castle entrance saying that it was closed because John Travolta was filming a movie there. He said this was right after “Grease” was released and the people nearby went crazy trying to get in.
- Bass – Neil Murray
- Drums – Duck Dowle*
- Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals – Micky Moody
- Guitar, Vocals – Bernie Marsden
- Keyboards – Jon Lord
- Vocals – David Coverdale
- Engineer, Producer – Martin (P.C.) Birch*
- Bernie Marsden said he felt almost spoiled having worked with Martin Birch so much early on, praising his work as an engineer and producer.
- Moody also talks about how Birch would see the best qualities in everyone and was really great at bringing them out on the record.
- Murray also sings Martin Birch’s praises saying that he was really laid back but also didn’t let any bad mistakes get by.
Album Art & Booklet Review
- Art Direction – John Pasche
- Worked with The Rolling Stones and designed the famous Lips logo.
- Also worked with Fleetwood Mac and a number of other bands
- Artwork [Logo] – Jim Gibson (2)
- Also worked on several Jethro Tull albums
- Illustration – Chris Achilleos
- Did illustration for Uriah Heep’s “Fallen Angel” album, Heavy Metal The Motion Picture.
- It’s been reported that after designing this controversial cover he had a policy of not working with bands. Chris debunked this in a discussion with the show.
- The original artwork for this album was stolen and sold to a private collector.
- The official word from Chris Achilleos in discussion with The Deep Purple Podcast:
- I am quite reluctant to talk about this artwork to strangers. I have been stung before in the past and don’t want it to happen again.
- I just want you to know that the painting was taken from me in good faith by someone I came to trust as a friend from LA in the ’80s, together with six other important paintings and then just disappeared on me!
- The Whitesnake a/w was listed to be auctioned in the ’90s by someone, but I put a stop to it when I heard about it. The painting was never returned to me by the NY auction company, in spite of me asking many times for its return. They claim that it’s somewhere in there building, but they cannot find it!
- If somebody has claimed that they have it, then they got it by not legal means. The rest of the paintings turned up in NY. Somebody bought them for nothing from a street market but refuses to deal with me. The world is full of bastards!
- I do still have my prelim/master drawing for it if you know of anyone who might be interested in it.
- Photography By – Hiro Ohno
- Worked with Whitesnake on a number of albums after this.
- Also worked with Dr. Feelgood (the band, not the Motley Crue album).
- The cover obviously caused some controversy.
- Marsden says that he doesn’t remember that much push back about the cover. Marsden remembers that “Come an Get It” caused many more problems and had to have an alternate cover in America.
- Walked into the room at a charming bed and breakfast in Ireland… and then things got metal.
- Whitesnake Lovehunter cover!!! Immediately after seeing that for the first time I went through the entirety of puberty in like 5 minutes and emerged with a beard and a soothing baritone.
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- Long Way from Home (Coverdale)
- Was the first single issued from the album. It reached No. 55 in the British charts. B-side was “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues.”
- Marsden says that Coverdale delivered this song pretty much as is to the band and that he just dubbed guitar parts. He said David did very good demos. “Good song, very good song.”
- Foreigner had had a hit in 1977 called “Long, Long Way From Home” so even though Coverdale pretty much says the same thing in this song they decided to take one Long out of the title to avoid any confusion.
- Walking in the Shadow of the Blues (Coverdale, Marsden)
- Marsden says this is one of the best songs they ever wrote.
- Help Me Thro’ the Day (Leon Russell)
- Marsden describes this as a follow up to “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City.”
- Medicine Man (Coverdale)
- You ‘n’ Me (Coverdale, Marsden)
- This was recorded first for Bernie Marsden’s solo album “And About Time Too.”
- Coverdale suggested they do it with the band as well.
- Marsden: “It’s just the usual kind of rhythm and blues, girl meets boy, girl loses boy, man loses girl, kind of thing. Nothing too deal, really.”
- Mean Business (Coverdale, Moody, Marsden, Murray, Lord, Dowle)
- Marsden says this was the only time he and Coverdale had a disagreement in the studio in the early days. Bernie thought it was too heavy metal. He didn’t think it’s how the band should be sounding. He says over the years he’s realized that David was right.
- Marsden says he doesn’t think there’s a heavier Whitesnake song up until the 1987 album.
- Love Hunter (Coverdale, Moody, Marsden)
- Martin Popoff says of this track: “It has a bit of a Kiss vibe down Gene Simmons’ side of the stage.”
- Marsden says he wrote the riff and verse, Moody wrote the slide parts, and Marsden wrote some lyrics something along the lines of “looking out for your, babe.” He says David went off and came back with better lyrics and that it was recorded very quickly.
- Outlaw (Coverdale, Marsden, Lord)
- Coverdale calls The Allman Brothers’ first album his blueprint for Whitesnake.
- Marsden says Coverdale told Bernie this was his song and Lord didn’t even want writing credits but Marsden insisted given how much impact his parts had on the song.
- Sort of made it into a tradition of Marsden getting a vocal on each album.
- Marsden says there’s a little Thin Lizzy in there as he always respected Phil Lynott.
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Women (Coverdale, Moody)
- Marsden thinks he may not play on this track and that it happened from time to time.
- We Wish You Well (Coverdale)
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Reception and Review
- Marsden said that critics were starting to take the lyrics of the band too seriously and that they didn’t take themselves very seriously. Marsden: “Lie down, I love you; it’s not Shakespeare. You know, if somebody’s going to say that, it’s like, seriously, what do you think? No, of course I’m not being serious.”
- Ian Paice joined Whitesnake so soon after recording that Coverdale wanted to have him do the drums over but management vetoed the idea for financial reasons.
- Marsden says this is a transitional album. He says Lovehunter is where they started to blossom in terms of signs and performances. Marsden says the first to albums before Paice were solid but they lacked direction.
- Trouser Press’s Jon Young:
- When a heavy-duty macho band starts to slow down, or exhibits less than blind certainty about what it’s doing, expect trouble. The problem isn’t that Whiesnake is engaged in a rehash of boogie/Bad Co. riffs (though that is certainly the case); the fatal flaw is they sound like they’ve heard it all before. How many ways can you thump your chest and grunt?”
- Moody says that the budget on the first two albums was pretty limited.
- Moody and Marsden seem to credit Ian Paice with putting the band more on course to what it would inevitably become.
- Marsden says they toured mostly in the UK and Europe and that they were accused of being “unfashionable.” He says that when they realized they were selling out all the venues on the tour they said, “Well, let’s carry on being unfashionable.”
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For Further Information:
- Sail Away: Whitesnake’s Fantastic Voyage by Martin Popoff
- Help from the archives of Jörg Planer
- Comments about the show? Things you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.