Two official studio versions exist. A very bluesy and sorrowful version from the 1982 album, “Saints and Sinners” and a very polished guitar heavy gem from the 1987 self-titled “Whitesnake” album.
However the version that I listen to all the time is the version that appears on the “Bad Boy Live!” album by John Sykes, released in 2005. It is an exact replica of the 1987 version that brought “Crying In The Rain” to the masses.
Of course, the guitarist on the 1987 version is also John Sykes and even though I have heard various incarnations of Whitesnake play this song live since then, none of the guitarists seem to connect with it the same way that John Sykes did.
There have been conversations about how much the original bluesy version from 1982 borrows from Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” in relation to the tempo and the bridge, which is ironic since “Dazed and Confused” was copied from another artist by Led Zeppelin. The 1982 version is sleazy and if you strip away all of the production it is basically a 12 bar blues shuffle in the key of E. The solo section in the 1982 version continues with the blues shuffle like “Roadhouse Blues” from The Doors and every other blues song.
Not the 1987 version. Credit John Kalodner. He requested that David Coverdale revisit the song as he felt the song, along with “Here I Go Again” would make a mark in the US. Guess Kalodner was right. This song is powerful and it was the album opener. Fans of the earlier versions of the band hated the 1987 version, calling it “glam rock” masturbation.
You hear the C5, B5 to E5 progression and then David Coverdale starts singing “A black cat moans when he is burning the fever”.
What a way to start the album! For millions of fans this was our first initiation to Whitesnake. I actually purchased the record because of the album cover. Yep, I handed over $20 and purchased an album without hearing a single note. How times have changed compared to today. In an interview on the Whitesnake website, this is what David Coverdale had to say on the new logo and the new design;
INTERVIEWER: The ‘1987’ album saw the advent of the “new” Whitesnake logo. Was this logo of your own design and was it meant to signify a break with the past?
COVERDALE: Yes.Well spotted. It was meant to be a whole new beginning, a fresh start. A whole new bag. I worked with a fine, graphic design artist called Hugh Syme, a Canadian chap. Very gifted. We connected on a very positive, creative level. I discussed with him all the elements I wanted to have in the presentation, a new logo, an emblem, a Celtic, runic style amulet that looked ancient, like it had been here forever, but, still maintained immense power.
All the symbols within the emblem represent only positive energies. Sun, Moon, fertility, Yes, a little ‘humpty dumpty’ in there, too. Check out the interlocking snakes. They are DEFINITELY getting to know each other! But, no negatives, no black magic nonsense. It seemed to work.
Yep it sure did.
“I keep on dreaming dreams of tomorrow
Feel I’m wasting my time lighting candles in the wind
Always taking my chances on the promise of the future
And a heart full of sorrow paints a lonely tapestry”
What great lyrics. You know that feeling when you think that tomorrow will be better if you just ride out the storm that is present today, however today is getting worse and tomorrow is looking so far away.
How many times can David Coverdale be out of love or in love? The whole Whitesnake catalogue has a large chunk devoted to heartbreak and love.
The song is large and epic. Just think of that John Sykes solo and the thunderous powerhouse drumming after the solo section. Aynsley Dunbar does a brilliant job connecting with the song which in turn connected with the audience. Seriously, look at his history and credits coming into the Whitesnake recording sessions. This guy could play and along with another season veteran in Neil Murray, it all came together.
John Kalodner in an interview on the Melodic Rock website, said that he always tells David Coverdale that he should work with John Sykes again.
The David Coverdale and John Sykes team wrote 9 songs and re-recorded 2 songs from Whitesnake’s back catalogue. The 1987 album was so good, even David Coverdale was left shocked and speechless when John Kalodner said he wanted “Children Of The Night” over “Looking For Love” on the album on the US release.
I feel the same way as David Coverdale. I still believe that “Looking For Love” is one of the best songs that John Sykes and David Coverdale wrote together and it never got a proper release and it remains largely forgotten.
It is a shame that John Sykes never got to tour behind the album. There are so many different stories that have done the rounds like;
- John Sykes wanted to replace David Coverdale due to the uncertainty around Coverdale’s throat problem. He contacted John Kalodner and ran that proposal by him. John Kalodner didn’t seem impressed as he did sign David Coverdale before John Sykes even came in the picture.
- David Coverdale wanted a second guitarist and he was interested in Steve Vai before Vai joined the David Lee Roth band, however John Sykes wasn’t interested. This led to arguments.
John Sykes said the following in an interview with the Baltimore Sun from 1994;
“Me and David, we wrote the songs between us. We went to France, wrote the songs, then took the whole thing over to Los Angeles, which is where we found Aynsley Dunbar, the drummer.We started recording up in Vancouver with Mike Stone at Little Mountain Studios, and as the closing part of the drum stuff was getting finished, Aynsley comes to me and says he’s been fired. I thought that was kind of strange, because David hadn’t really talked to any of the band members about it. We couldn’t really figure it out. So Neil [Murray, the bassist] finished up his parts, and he got fired. This is over a period of months. And then, I was just wrapping up guitars, Mike Stone phoned up his office and he found out that he’d been fired.”
You can see where this is going. John Sykes starts to freak out that he is next. He calls David Coverdale in LA and Coverdale doesn’t answer. Sykes leaves a message and Coverdale doesn’t return the call.
So Sykes calls John Kalodner, the Geffen Records executive in charge of the project. What he heard from Kalodner was far from comforting. This is how Sykes described it;
“So I said to John: ‘Look, I’m kind of wondering what’s going on. I can’t get ahold of David, and I’m starting to wonder if I’ve been fired.’
“And he said, ‘Well, it’s kind of looking that way.’ “
What a sticky predicament.
“My option was to quit right then and not finish the guitars,” he says, “but obviously that would mean he’d get someone else in to do guitars — and I didn’t want that to happen, seeing as I’d written most of it with him. So I finished up the guitar leads, and just walked away from it.”
By now Sykes found out where Coverdale was mixing the album and flew out for a final confrontation.
“I went into the studio and caught him, and it got into a little bit of a shouting match. One thing led to another, and he wound up locking himself in his car, shrugging his hands like ‘It wasn’t my choice.’ Then he just drove off.”
Yep, David Coverdale drove off into platinum heaven, while John Sykes went back to looking for love in a new band where he was the leader.
17 thoughts on “Crying In The Rain – The John Sykes Firing From Whitesnake”
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Such a fantastic songwriting duo. My favorite guitarist, sykes. I guess both the guys are hard to work with.
Mine too. My bible for when I was learning to play the guitar is RR Tribute album, John Sykes 87 album, Maiden Live after Death album, Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction and Metallica Justice For All.
John Sykes Rules !!! Great Person, Great Guy, He’s Bless by (***GOD***)
One of my all time favourite players!
It’s really sad these two can’t put their differences aside for the greater good. I don’t think there has ever been a lineup of Whitesnake that sounded as good as the 1987 album members. From Coverdale’s strong vocals and lyrics to Sykes’ intricate riffs, strong chord progressions and flourish not to mention excellent bass lines from Murray and some of the most explosive and complex drumming ever recorded by Dunbar. What I wouldn’t pay to hear these guys play together again?
And we now see Coverdale was never able to create the magic he & Sykes built during the “Whitesnake” writing and recording sessions. It’s hard for me to believe that John Kolander or Coverdale himself would manage to ignore this fact, but as an accomplished musician myself, I’m here to say from experience, even the most talented musicians are friggin’ knuckleheads!
When your hungry and chasing success, it’s a different mindset. The meeting of Sykes and Coverdale was a perfect synergy. Coverdale started to get traction and wanted to establish himself and Sykes is the hungry lion .
Its been known that Coverdale wanted a band that had that 80s look which is why these guys were fired.
Reminds me of the original Dio Band story, once V Campbell got the chop it never felt the same, and the magic of that quartet of Dio, Campbell, Appice and Bain was lost forever..
I agree. Something was missing. Craig Goldy And Rowan Robertson brought some good stuff with em, but the original version was special.
One of the best. Huge influence on me. “ Still of the Night” is a song I still play to this day . The beginning of the guitar solo. The part that kinda sounds like a violin. Still cramps my hand. But dam it sounds awesome .
Yep I agree on that Violin part of the solo.
I’m glad I’m not the only one. You think after playing it so many times. I’d get used to it. But every time. I’m like “ ouch” lol Thanks.
I am the guy Dave wanted as a 2nd guitarist. John was highly intimidated by my unmatched skill and he panicked like a little girly bitch. Bad choice, Johnny boy.
No love for Johnny Boy. Lol
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