So my first foray back into a blog in several months, and
this time I’m going to examine a moment in 80’s metal history.

Most people are familiar with the epynomous 1987 album
WHITESNAKE with David Coverdale and his merry band of long haired heavy metal
hitmakers. The seminal music videos for such songs as IN THE STILL OF THE
NIGHT, HERE I GO AGAIN, and the power ballad IS THIS LOVE featuring flame
haired actress Tawney Kitaen were huge hits on MTV back when the “M” stood for “music”.
These videos took the group and the album to the top.
On a side note, Tawney Kitaen, star of such hits as the Tom
Hanks movie BACHELOR PARTY and THE PERILS OF GWENDOLIN, was dating lead singer
David Coverdale, but had also been dating the American metal group RATT…. Not a
member of the band, the ENTIRE band. Her legs appeared on the cover of one
album and she was also on the cover on her hands and knees for another album.
Back to WHITESNAKE, the music videos featured a new lineup
for the group including the entire rhythm section from Ozzy Osbourne’s Randy
Rhodes days with Rudy Sarzo on bass and Tommy Aldridge on drums. On guitar
Adrian Vandenberg and a young Vivian Campbell, who had just wrapped up a tour
with Dio. This was a super powered 80’s metal gathering…. Except none of them
played on the album (although Adrian Vandenberg did play a single guitar solo
on the track HERE I GO AGAIN).
The unsung hero of the 1987 super hit album WHITENSAKE was
guitar player, co-songwriter, and backup singer John Sykes. Sykes’ contributions
to the sound, tone, and feel of the songs and album cannot be overstated. For
reasons that have never really been made too public, Sykes and the band that
played on the album were fired. Allegations of ego, etc. caused them to be
Sykes then created his own super trio called BLUE MURDER.
Although the group never achieved a fraction of the popularity of WHITESNAKE,
the musicality and compositions were vastly superior. Bringing in drummer
Carmine Appice (from HUMBLE PIE) and bassist 
Tony Franklin (from Jimmy Page’s group THE FIRM), and taking over lead
vocal duties, BLUE MURDER made some incredible music.
Like this little ditty, JELLY ROLL, Sykes shows a depth of
composition and lyrical poetry.
Unfortunately, the public never saw past the hit videos of
1987. BLUE MURDER never got the chance to catch on without the clever music
video hits, but on the plus side, WHITENSAKE never came close to achieving the
same degree of success either. The superband made to look good in videos never
got the chance to really record together. After the tour Vivian Campbell left
the band, never to be recorded on any album with the biggest group he was with.
Adrian Vandenberg had surgery on his hand and could not record the follow up
album, being replaced by David Lee Roth guitarist Steve Vai. The follow up
albums never came remotely close to touching the sales of the Coverdale/Sykes
Categories: articles

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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