REVIEW: Whitesnake – Greatest Hits (1994)

WSWHITESNAKE – Greatest Hits (1994 Geffen)

I don’t own this CD.  Never have, actually.  I gave it enough in-store play (only while working alone!) that I have no problem reviewing it. This Greatest Hits CD dates back to 1994, the year I first started working at the Record Store. As such, it was the first ever official Whitesnake Greatest Hits CD, the first of many. The band had been broken up for about four years at that point. Even by 1994 standards, it was only an OK release. It did contain some rare tracks, but was limited to Whitesnake’s 1984-1989 Geffen output only. For budget-priced collections, I would recommend the cheaper 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection because it still has all the hit singles from that period at a lower price. For fans who need more, the much better Whitesnake Gold or Silver Anniversary Collection make a more complete picture with more rarities and deep album cuts. These of course weren’t available in 1994.  Today music buyers have a lot more to choose from.

One inclusion that some listeners may not enjoy about Greatest Hits is the version of “Here I Go Again” chosen. This is not the well-known album version that most people have heard. This is the “single remix” with different guitar solos (by guest Dan Huff) and more keyboards. Some radio stations do play it from time to time, but I think most casual buyers would listen to this and say, “I don’t like it as much”.  And nor do I, but it is a rarity.

Otherwise, this album (like 20th Century Masters) contains every hit single from the period, and nothing from the blues-based records before. It does feature some other cool rarities: the B-side “Sweet Lady Luck” featuring Steve Vai, “Looking For Love”, and “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”. However, with the many compilations and remasters released since 1994, these songs are no longer hard to find. “Sweet Lady Luck” was even released on a Steve Vai boxed set!

Rounding out this selection of hits and rare tracks are deeper album cuts.  These are include the glossy Kashmir-esque “Judgement Day”, “Crying in the Rain ’87”, “Slow Poke Music” and the wicked “Slide It In”.  They help balance out the ballad-y hits that Whitesnake were adept at writing.

Interestingly, when this album was released, David Coverdale assembled a new, shortlived Whitesnake and toured for it. That version of Whitesnake included former members Rudy Sarzo and Adrian Vandenberg, both of the 1987-1990 version of the band. It also included drummer Denny Carmassi (Coverdale-Page) and guitarist Warren DeMartini (Ratt). Shame that no live recordings from this version of the band have never been released. The band disolved for several year again after this, only to reform in 1997 with a new lineup including Carmassi and Vandenberg.

This album is only mildly better than 20th Century Masters, but is inferior to the more recent, more comprehensive compilations I have mentioned. Buy at a sensible price point.

2/5 stars
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19 comments

  1. I have this CD! Got it for $2. I’d call that sensible… ;) It’s still a good listen for me, and I’m not nearly the Whitesnake fan you guys are (though I loved the CDs you gave me), but I might nudge this one to a 3.5/5 or even 4/5 just for the quality of the tracks included. I know there are better comps now, but when this is all I have it suits me just fine!

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  2. The only thing I knew about Whitesnake a couple of weeks ago was the name. Friend of mine hooked me up with a couple of their albums … not completely my thing, but there’s a lot of very good songs in there that I’ll need to rip to iTunes to compile into a neat little compilation.

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        1. Hey J! So I’m curious what songs have appealed to you so far. I’d love to see if you have found any of my favourites. How are you checking out Whitesnake? Just sampling tracks online?

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        2. I dare say they’re the obvious ones, Mike. Of those I’m getting familar with there’s Here I Go Again, Crying In the Rain, Lovehunter, Ready and Willing, Child of Babylon, and Fool for Your Loving. Couple of others, but I’m not great with the titles as yet.

          A friend of mine gave me a bunch of albums as he’s been introducing me to the likes of Kiss, Rainbow and other delights. Among them Whitesnake.

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  3. I was interested in your observation that the album version of “Here I Go Again” is the more “Well known” version. Here in the UK it’s the single “Remix” that has always received more, if any, airplay. I remember seeing the “album Version” being performed on a music program called Top of The Pops at the time of its original release, I also have a very vague recollection of seeing a very basic, performance based, video too at roughly the same time. I think the remix (or Hair Metal version as I think it of it) caught on because of the video rather than air play. The saints & Sinners album that this comes from always brings back memories because it was while Whitesnake toured it that I went to see them at onl my second concert.

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    1. Hey cassetteman! Interesting that in the UK it is our “rare” version that is heard more often. Hair Metal Version…I like that.

      Saints & Sinners is a great album. Just listened to it last week in fact!

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  4. Exactly my point. It’s a GREATEST HITS album. Not, “it’s the producer’s favourite version of this song, so let’s put it on the greatest hits album and not include the original.” I wouldn’t buy this at all because it didn’t have the original song. Thankfully, it tells you right up front in the liner notes it is a previously unreleased version. I’d be pissed otherwise!

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