ufoHe’s back and this week Self Made Man bemoans the decline of one of his favourite all-time singers and bands.

It’s a blog from the heart and one that won’t sit well with many fellow classic rock fans…

…but many more will share his sentiments. Read on and respond. 


One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was at Newcastle City Hall to see Whitesnake…in 1980.

If I had to list my top 20 albums of all time, a stonewall certain inclusion would be Burn, featuring Deep Purple’s Mark IV line-up and a certain unknown singer called David Coverdale – released 40 years ago.

Stormbringer and Come Taste The Band were pretty good too as were a handful of Coverdale’s early albums with Whitesnake.

Lovehunter, Ready An’ Willing and Come An’ Get It in particular spring to mind.

So it’s fair to say the Saltburn-born singer and his band have played a prominent role in my musical journey.

And those who have followed the history of David Coverdale will recognise the trend in the albums I’ve just mentioned.

I’ve never compiled a list of my worst-ever albums for two reasons.

Obviously, I would never buy anything I didn’t want in the first place.

And secondly, it sounds like a pointless exercise in aural masochism.

But in the past weeks, I’ve had the chance to listen to a streaming of Whitesnake’s The Purple Album, a remake of the three Deep Purple albums in which DC sang.

Classic Rock magazine labels it Coverdale’s “worst mistake ever” and gives it a damning two stars out of ten.

I’d be a little more generous with a three out of ten only because he sings a quite beautiful version of Soldier of Fortune from Stormbringer.

And there lies the crux of the matter as far as Coverdale is concerned.

Soldier of Fortune is not a rock song but a ballad which brings out the best in the 63-year-old. To put it bluntly, he doesn’t have to work his vocal chords too much.

Coverdale, as anyone who has attended any Whitesnake gig in the past decade, isn’t the singer he once was – which was one of the finest white blues singers of the rock genre.

Backing singers have often compensated for this decline though don’t expect anyone on “The Purple Album” to come anywhere near the quality of Glenn Hughes who shared singing duties with DC on Deep Purple’s final three releases.

There are many of us – probably all over 45-years-old, who still mourn Coverdale’s transformation from rock singer to metal god.

That’s not to say we don’t acknowledge 1987 as a ground-breaking album which showcases his songwriting abilities and professionalism.

And even when Whitesnake reformed this millennium, he has produced – though on a less consistent basis – some fine material.

The title track of Forevermore is an obvious example as is Summer Rain from its immediate predecessor Good To Be Bad.

It’s just that Whitesnake aren’t the band they used to be.

For those who doubt me, just listen to 1980’s Live In The Heart Of The City and tell me any subsequent live releases by the band can match its heady standards.

I’m still a Whitesnake fan and don’t rule out seeing them live later this year – though I did not rush out and by a ticket the day they went on sale.

But it’s Whitesnake the blues rock band for me every time. I just wish Coverdale himself would recognise what he was best at – and what he could still be so good at.

Ian Murtagh