David Coverdale Biography

Singer (1951–)
David Coverdale founded Whitesnake, a rock band that achieved wide fame in the late 1980s, with the No. 1 song "Here I Go Again."


David Coverdale was born on September 22, 1951 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, England. After spending the early 1970s with the band Deep Purple, Coverdale split from the band and released two solo albums, White Snake and Northwinds. In the late 1970s, Coverdale founded the rock band Whitesnake, which became incredibly famous soon after. The band scored a No. 1 hit in the late 1980s, with "Here I Go Again."

Early Life

Born on September 22, 1951 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, England, David Coverdale developed a love for music at a young age. Born into a family of avid music fans, he first found interest in the guitar, soon switching over to vocals. Around 14 years old, he began performing professionally and developing his famous voice.

In 1968, Coverdale was approached by local cover band The Skyliners, to join them as a vocalist. They played all over the area, from cabaret night clubs to local colleges, and opened for big names like Elkie Brooks and The Paper Dolls. Soon changing their name to The Government, the group enjoyed brief success but ultimately decided not to go professional. Soon Coverdale found a new gig with local group, The Fabulosa Brothers.

Deep Purple

In 1972, Coverdale got his big break when he saw an ad in British music magazine, Melody Maker, looking for singers for the group Deep Purple. The band, which had been together since 1968, was auditioning for a new vocalist to replace former band member Ian Gillan. Coverdale was familiar with Deep Purple from his days with The Government, and decided to try out for the part. After sending in a tape of The Fabulosa Brothers, he was invited for an audition. The band was impressed with his voice and songwriting abilities, and he was soon welcomed as the new lead vocalist. On December 8, 1973, Coverdale fronted Deep Purple for the first time in Sweden.

Within his first year with the group, Coverdale had toured all over America, with shows at Madison Square Garden, the Nassau Coliseum and, most notably, the famous California Jam festival at the Ontario Motor Speedway. The telecasted show, which included famous groups like the Eagles and Earth, Wind & Fire, attracted more than 250,000 fans, exposing the band to a widespread audience.

In February of 1974, Deep Purple released its eighth studio album, Burn, the first with the new Coverdale line-up. The album proved to be a hit certifying Gold in the United States, and still ranks among the band's best efforts. The tracks, in which new recruits Coverdale and bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes performed lead vocals, had a new, soulful sound. The closing track, "Mistreated," included a command solo performance from Coverdale. The passionate, bluesy song would remain his personal in-concert trademark, long after his days with Deep Purple.

In December 1974, the group released their next album, Stormbringer, which also ranked Gold in both the United States and United Kingdom. The funk and soul influence of Coverdale was even more prominent in this album. This ultimately led to the exit of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, whose own personal musical interests varied from their new sound. After his departure, Coverdale persuaded the group to continue with new guitarist Tommy Bolin, with whom they released one more album, Come Taste the Band (1975). The album proved less successful than previous records, leading to the band’s demise the following year.  Coverdale stated of his exit, "I was frightened to leave the band. Purple was my life, Purple gave me my break, but all the same, I wanted out."

Solo Career

Discouraged, but ready to move on with his career, Coverdale began work as a solo artist. Despite the era's growing punk movement, he stuck true to his bluesy, rock and roll roots. In February of 1977, he released his first album titled White Snake, with all songs written by both himself and guitarist Micky Moody. In 1978, he released his second solo album, Northwinds, with an even better reception than the previous. Both albums reflected Coverdale's growing confidence in a future career outside of Deep Purple.


Before his second album was even released, Coverdale had begun to form his new band, Whitesnake. Originally a touring band for Coverdale's first solo album, Whitesnake became a full-time rock group consisting of Coverdale, guitarists Bernie Marsden and Mick Moody, drummer David "Duck" Dowle, and keyboardist Brian Johnston. Their first official release, "Snakebite" (1978), proved to be a hit in the United Kingdom. Their debut album, Trouble (1978), was released in the fall of that year, peaking at No. 50 on the U.K. album charts. Next came Lovehunter (1979), which despite turning heads with a rather risqué album cover, made the Top 30 hit list in the U.K. The success of their first few albums helped Whitesnake develop a huge European following.

The band first initiated American interest in 1980 with the hit "Fool for Your Loving," off their third album, Ready an' Willing (1980). The track reached No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band soon crossed the Atlantic to serve as an opening act for hit groups AC/DC and Jethro Tull—a big adjustment, as the band was used to having American celebrities open for their shows. Whitesnake continued its success with its next three records, Live in the Heart of the City, Come An' Get It and Saints & Sinners, all of which landed a spot on the British Top 10 hit list.

Whitesnake took a new direction in 1982, with the emergence of several new members, including drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Colin Hodgkinson. In 1985, the band's self-titled album marked the their first mainstream success in the U.S. The album continued to sell throughout 1987 and 1988, and peaked at No. 2 on the U.S. album charts. The albums biggest hits included the ballad "Is This Love" and the No. 1 hit single, "Here I Go Again." After years of success, Coverdale took a break from music in 1997 and folded the band, returning for a reunion tour in 2002. In 2008, the band released Good to Be Bad, its first studio album in more than ten years.

Personal Life

Coverdale has been married three times. He had a daughter, Jessica (born in 1978), with his first wife, Julia. His second marriage was to actress Tawny Kitaen from 1989-1991, who is known for her appearances in several of his music videos. Since 1997, he has been married to wife Cindy, an author, with whom he has one son, Jasper, born in 1996.

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