REVIEW: Whitesnake – 1987 (Deluxe edition)

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1987WHITESNAKE – 1987 (2007 20th Anniversary Deluxe edition)

I remember sitting at home watching MuchMusic in July of ’87. The Power Hour was on and they played “Here I Go Again”. It was my first time hearing Whitesnake and I hit “record” on the VCR.

This was and still is a great album, although it was a lot heavier than I expected back then. Also, if you’re from the 80’s you’ll remember this, the cassette was so tight that it always played slow in my tape deck. So it always sounded frickin’ awful for me and it wasn’t until I picked it up on CD sometime in the 90’s that I really gave this album a chance.

It’s overproduced all to hell, even excessive by the standards of the time. But my God it does some crunch to it. John Sykes on guitar saw to that. Neil Murray remains on bass, but buried inaudibly beneath a very dense mix. Aynsley Dunbar subbed in on drums, a very busy drummer, but it actually works. There are a few moments, particularly during “Crying In The Rain”, where he overdoes it, but in general he was exactly the kind of drummer needed to elevate the album to this caliber.

If you’re looking for the radio hits, they are pretty much all on this album, so just click “buy” on whatever site you choose.  Or visit your local brick-and-mortar and see if they carry it.  In any case this album goes beyond just the four hit singles. The aforementioned “Crying In The Rain” (a re-recording from Saints An’ Sinners, same as “Here I Go Again”) is a crucially important album track, as is “Don’t Turn Away”, a rocker/ballad closer that has some of Coverdale’s best singing. But wait, there’s more. The album has included the addition of the two songs that are usually only available on the UK version: “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again” (awesome fast rocker, totally album worthy) and “Looking For Love” (ballad). I like what they did here — they maintained the track order of the US version (my preferred version) and put in the two UK tracks within the tracklist (tracks 7 & 9). It just works better in my opinion to have “Don’t Turn Away” at the end of the album.

Then I hate what they did next. Instead of giving you era B-sides or live songs, they stick on four live versions by a later version of Whitesnake, readily available on a common live album. (Live versions of the four big singles.) What could have been included instead: the “single version” of “Here I Go Again” which is a completely different mix! The single version of “Give Me All Your Love”, the only recording to feature guitar playing from Vivian Campbell (the solo)!  Or hell, even live recordings from the era?  Anything but these live duplicates from a much later time.

There is a bonus DVD included. The four music videos and then, again…the same four damn live songs!  Also by a later Whitesnake, from a common live DVD. Jesus Murphy!  Booklet and liner notes are decent at least, but not enough to justify me owning this any longer.  My recommended edition: Here I Go Again: The Whitesnake Collection (2CD). This contains the US versions of all three Geffen-era Whitesnake albums, all the pertinent B-sides except one*, the two UK bonus tracks from this album, and the aforementioned single mixes.

4/5 stars. Great album, but this reiusse could have been so much better.

CD track list				DVD video list
1. Still of the Night			1. Still of the Night
2. Give Me All Your Love		2. Here I Go Again 87
3. Bad Boys		                3. Is This Love
4. Is This Love				4. Give Me All Your Love
5. Here I Go Again 87			5. Give Me All Your Love (live)
6. Straight for the Heart		6. Is This Love (live)
7. Looking for Love		        7. Here I Go Again (live)
8. Children of the Night		8. Still of the Night (live)
9. You're Gonna Break My Heart Again
10. Crying in the Rain
11. Don't Turn Away
12. Give Me All Your Love (live)
13. Is This Love (live)
14. Here I Go Again (live)
15. Still of the Night (live)

* Still missing on any CD is the 1987 remix of “Standing in the Shadow” from the “Is This Love” single.


  1. Yep,totally agree with the review here! Whitesnake 87 came out slamming I remember being blown away by it esp Sykes playing. The songs are well crafted and the music is hard rock obviously something Cov and Kalodner were eying for the good ol US of A.
    The first Snake album I bought was back in 82 which was the live album Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City after I heard LoveHunter from a friends old brother…I was hooked ….and of course Slide it In was huge up here In Tbay well I think anyways..hahahaha…..
    Seeing them open for and demolish Quiet Riot further strengthened my belief that they were on the up and up
    So when I play Whitesnake 87 for the first time I’m blown away and pumped and thinking about what a great live show it’s gonna be and than I tune into Rockline just after the release and it’s on that show that I first learn of the whole new revamped lineup???!!
    I remember thinking well ….
    Vandenberg(first Vandenberg album is awesome,second Vandenberg so so ,third release-pass)
    Campbell(played with Dio on the only 3 Dio albums I ever owned)
    Sarzo(seems like a cool dude but man why u lickin da bass???)
    So I thought well he put together a superstar band but man …
    No Sykes???……
    I guess over the yrs I got tired of band member changeovers and well blame Coverdale for that style of thinking..
    Still it’s a great rock album…..


    1. The lineup changes were pretty excessive in the 90’s. In the 80’s, well, after Steve Vai who could you get? Nobody and I think that’s one reason why Coverdale broke up the band at that time. Not only did the sound stray too much from the blues, but how in the hell do you follow Steve Vai? And obviously Vai wasn’t going to stick around. And Cov was right, because he topped Steve Vai by working with Jimmy Page next. Very, very smart!

      But they sounded great with Sykes. I guess they must have met Sarzo back when the opened for QR eh?


        1. I believe there is a deluxe edition of that coming, Deke. Unreleased songs that Coverdale is mixing, hopefully some live stuff. I know David has stated he wants a deluxe version to come out.


  2. One more thing…this reissue does not interest me in anyway….no if it was the Sykes/Powell/Murray band ..well that’s a different story,


  3. I must say that this album is a double edged sword for me. I became a Whitesnake fan pretty late, my first Whitesnake album was Slide It In and after that I bought their back catalogue and I became a huge fan right there and then. So, this album was really a long time coming and I looked forward to it so much. When it was finally released, it was a big disappoinment for me.
    Whitesnake for me is groovy bluesy hard rock, jeans t-shirt, sneakers and a leather jacket. Hammond organ. This album isn’t any of that. This is a heavy metal sounding album with big choruses and pop metal melodies. And make up, blonde dyed hair, perms, colourful clothes – so wrong for Whitesnake. I honestly cannot hear anything here that I consider Whitesnake. Maybe Coverdales voice, but he even sings differently here. This shouldn’t be labeled as a Whitesnake album – he should have called the band Coverdale or something.
    Because as an album, this is really good, I really like the sound and most of the songs but under the Whitesnake moniker, this both feels and sounds totally wrong and none of the songs could hold a candle to their previous stuff. This might sound harsh, but to me Whitesnake died in 1987 and hasn’t returned since. That said, except for Slip Of The Tongue, I still think that David Coverdale and his band has only released high quality albums since then. It might look I’m using the chainsaw for this one, but I’m really not. Very good album, just not a good enuff Whitesnake one…


    1. Actually Jon I pretty much agree with you on that. I always approached Whitesnake as a band that was really two bands — there was “old Whitesnake” and “new Whitesnake”. I approached Kiss the same way — “old Kiss” and “new Kiss”. To me, Animalize and Dressed To Kill may as well have been two different bands.

      In this case though it’s particularly true, since many of the players even from Slide It In were gone! Sykes was unleashed and all of that squealy-goodness that he brought to Thin Lizzy was now in Whitesnake. But as you point out, that’s two different sounds. In many regards I think Whitesnake 1987 is more a followup to Thunder and Lightning by Thin Lizzy, in spirit.


  4. One of my favourite albums of all time. And a really shite deluxe! Like with the Slide It In one, they really buggered this up. Nice to have remastered versions of some of the songs but… I’m still holding on to my other copies. Especially as the track order is different from the UK version too which I prefer.


  5. I have a bunch of Whitesnake here, courtesy of Lebrain, and what I heard varied from Really Quite Good to Awesome. I don’t think I have this record, though I know for sure I have heard most of those songs you mentioned. We didn’t get cable TV in my town until I was 16, so my access was limited, but I had friends who bought tapes and I’d be at their house…

    Remasters are a tricky thing. Especially with records a lot of people love. Generally, I’m not a fan. Sucks to hear they missed the boat, on this one. I’d be into finding that Collection you mentioned, though…


    1. The collection I mentioned will be featured in a future review. It’s not perfect (one B-side missing) but it’s the most comprehensive collection I’ve run across yet.


  6. Think it was the ‘Standing In The Shadows’ remix that featured on the Axe Killer double remaster version that came out many years ago (black booklet version with 87 and Slip remasters which personally think superior sound to these deluxe versions).

    Haven’t listened to this Deluxe yet as was SO disappointed with the dulled down sound on the Slip Deluxe which like said already sucked the excitement outta that record :(

    Again agree the recent live performances are stocking filler at best considering can purchase them elsewhere, sadly both these anniversary releases seem to have really missed their marks.

    Cool review :)


    1. Thanks Wardy and thanks again for stopping by.

      I remember those Axe Killer doubles. I still have one from Scorpions. But I did NOT know the Standing in the Shadows remix was on it! That’s interesting. If true it would be the only CD release of it that I’m aware of!

      Of all the “deluxe editions” out there on the market, the Whitesnake ones are among the worst executed.


  7. Just checked my Axe Killer version (unauthorized by Coverdale and then label too if I recall), and is included on the 87 remastered CD as produced by Martin Birch, ‘Remixed by Keith Olson’ Guess that’s probably it?

    Yeah wasted opportunity these deluxe versions the packaging and liner notes about the only tasty features which is a real shame. I read somewhere someone thought the Axe Killer release was poor remastering, while no audiophile it certainly sounds fuller and clearer than the Slip Deluxe fer sure.

    Read your comment about the Coverdale Page album getting an deluxe re-issue, certainly hope so but audio remastering will need to be an improvement over the recent ones…


    1. I can’t really say one way or the other on the remastering. I think often a band will state that they don’t like “unauthorized” remastering. I’m recalling that there were some negative comments about the Castle Black Sabbath remasters from 1996. But I liked them, I bought every one of them.


      1. Yeah it’s gotta he the one you have, is more akin the record in sound and reckon it’s killer noticed the difference way back when bought the AxeKiller version 10 or more years back whenever first released.

        So is the 87 Deluxe better sound than the poor Slip?

        Need search your blog see if you’ve tackled the Dio remasters yet? Still need get those but there’s some debate whether the Deluxe or previous Japan remaster of Dream Evil is better? Doubt either managed to remove that horrible hissing of the original (bad mix?) which would be a shame…


        1. I don’t think I’ve done any of the Dio remasters yet. A few Rainbow, yes. My buddy Andy and I are going to — eventually — do a Dio remasters series. He’s going to review the albums and I will review the bonus tracks.

          Is the deluxe better than Slip? No, they’re pretty much the same unfortunately.


  8. It would enough for me that the 2007 remastered, Deluxe Edition of “Whitesnake/1987” now includes ALL of the material as initially released on the various versions of the album. To omit “Looking for Love” alone from the USA edition was a colossal, inexplicable, an unforgiveable error in judgment on Geffen A&R guru John Kolodner’s part.

    I could care less about the “bonus” material, none of which features performances by the musicians, except David Coverdale, who were actually responsible and deserved full credit for creating this landmark album. There was simply no way subsequent, revolving-door lineups of the band could match what John Sykes, Neil Murray, and Ansley Dunbar were able to accomplish in the studio.

    The sound quality of the original studio recordings, now remastered specifically for the greater dymanic range of the CD format, is superb. By contrast, “Whitesnake/1987” was mastered (and compressed) principally with the characteristics, and limitations, of the vinyl LP format in mind. Those masters failed to take advantage of the CD’s superior dynamic range.

    If the remastered version does sound different. And it does sound more faithful to what the final mix sounded like played back in the studio control room. Whether that sounds “right” to you largely depends upon the means by which you first heard the music, and the sound to which you have become accustomed.

    Music becomes inextricably linked with other forms of memory, and becomes the soundtrack of our lives. If you would just as soon not wish experience the music as the artist meant for it to be heard, it’s understandable, but regrettable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL glad to see another suffering ah the hand of the no edit option :)

      Agree with your comment re the omission Looking For Love. For all the right decisions tossed in around the time of these now classic hard rock records there were certainly some questionable one’s too.

      So far as ‘how the artists intended for a record to be heard’ are you suggesting the limitations due to being mastered for vinyl caused the transition to CD to suffer?

      Because can’t help but think given the vast change in sound from the original Slip Of The Tongue to the Deluxe version for example, sounds to these ears like they were trying change (possibly fix) what is now considered an outdated production?

      Could it be be argued the originals OTT bells and whistles sound was very much of its time but exactly how it’s creators had intended us to hear it that first time around?

      Dunno, but really interesting post cheers :)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey, Cheerd and thanks for this comment and analysis!

      I just bought a new turntable this year. It’s the first time in ages I feel I have the ability to hear vinyl properly. So I’m very interested in picking up old vinyl copies of stuff like 1987 and hearing what the original releases were like.

      Take care!


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