John Sykes could have followed the Whitesnake formula he established on the 1987 album with Blue Murder. John Kalodner even pressured him to come up with Whitesnake style songs. In the end Black Hearted Woman and Out of Love were delivered to appease Geffen Records. Blue Murder was guitarist/vocalists John Sykes, bassist Tony Franklin (from the Firm) and drummer Carmine Appice (King Kobra, Jeff Beck).
The album was produced by Bob Rock who would go on to greater glory with Motley Crue’s Dr Feelgood and Metallica’s Black album. It was mixed by another Canadian in the super experienced Mike Fraser. The album even has the following comments: WARNING!! THIS ALBUM HAS BEEN “FRAZZED”.
When I first heard the album, i was blown away. This was an artist being creative and pushing his own boundaries. There where no commercial pop singles to push on this album.
Black Hearted Woman has that Children of The Night/Aint Gonna Break My Heart Again vibe from the Whitesnake album. The riffs are very similar. It was written by the band. It is perfect and sleazy. The small lead break before the bridge is reminiscent to what Sykes did in the Cold Sweat solo break by Thin Lizzy. He is referencing his past. His influences.
Even the lyrics are classic Coverdale style lyrics.
When she walked in the room
I was drawn like a fool almost hypnotised
You made my heart beat, baby, like never before
Underneath her disguise I saw trouble and lies
But I walked right in
She said tonight I’m gonna make you push it
And that’s the score
The sad thing about all of this is that David Coverdale threatened to delay the follow-up to Whitesnake’s 1987 album if Geffen Records put cash behind Blue Murder. It didn’t matter if John Kalodner was a big fan of John Sykes and that he organised his signing to Geffen Records. Whitesnake was where the money was at the time, so David Geffen complied with Coverdale’s request. The label failed to promote it and the album more or less disappeared.
To be honest, David Coverdale hasn’t really released anything as good as the 1987 album and John Sykes hasn’t either. The Blue Murder albums combined could rival the 1987 album. Basically the two of them together, that was the magic. Add Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Neil Murray on bass. Rock Metal History.