Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

David Coverdale – The Legend That Is The Most Broken-Hearted Singer?

Popular Rock Star lore would say that in order to create you need to have lived. You need to have experienced love. You need to have experienced heartbreak. You need to have experienced highs and lows, good times and bad times.

Certain artists deal with certain issues. Motley Crue have always been known for their tongue n cheek lyrics around sex, drugs and just having a good ol’ time.

Skid Row focused on sex and relationships on their first album, however two songs from it, “Youth Gone Wild” and “18 and Life” focused more on social issues, which in turn was taken up a notch with the “Slave To The Grind” album.

Machine Head lyrics focus on social issues and government/religious corruption.

David Coverdale on the other hand is all about love. His song writing family tree is a list of a person that has been broken-hearted a lot of times in his quest to find love.

He’s been “Mistreated”, “Time and Again”. He’s been “Looking For Love”, “Time and Again”. He has been looking for a “Love to Keep Him(You) Warm” because “The Time Is Right for Love”.

He asked the “Queen of Hearts” to “Say You Love Me”. Realising too late that the “Kitten Got Claws” and she became a “Lady Double Dealer” on her way to being an ex-wife.

Suddenly “Love Don’t Mean a Thing”.

He became a “Drifter”.

A “Victim Of Love”.

A “Love Hunter”.

A “Love Man”.

A “Slave”.

A “Love Child” calling out “I Need Love”.

An “Outlaw” riding into town and spending “Slow and Easy” good times with the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Women”. Promising to himself that he “Ain’t Gonna Cry No More” as he “Slides It In”.

He became a “Blindman” because there “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” for a Rock N Roll singer.

However he was still “Ready and Willing” to “Cry for Love” once again. “Ready and Willing” to go back on “Living on Love” because he was “Hungry For Love” and he wanted to “Do It Right (With The One You Love)” as “Love Ain’t No Stranger” to him.

But love left him “Crying In The Rain” again. Even when he begged for “Love An Affection”, even when he begged “Don’t Break My Heart Again” he still had to pick up the pieces and start all over again.

“Here I Go Again” he said to himself after the break up of his marriage.

He joined the “Bad Boys”, “All In the Name of Love” gang. He was “Guilty of Love” with that “Slip Of The Tongue”. Then that “Restless Heart” started “Crying” for a “Precious Love” again and it came knocking on his door.

“Is This Love” he asked himself. He told her that she is “Gonna Break His Heart Again”. But she whispered back “Give Me All Your Love”. She told him that he is “All That She Wants, All That She Needs”.

He just asked her to “Love And Treat Him Right” because “The Deeper The Love”, the stronger the devotion.

And then as his Eighties career came to end, those “Woman Trouble Blues” came back again. Every woman wants the spotlight. And then she was gone (“Now You’re Gone”). He asked her to “Take Him Back Again.”

“Too Many Tears” had been shed. He did it “All For Love” but love didn’t set him free again. He was “Crying In The Rain” once more.

But once a fool is always “A Fool In Love” and with time he found another to “Lay Down Her Love”.

Coverdale built a career spanning 40 years because he experienced life and he wrote those experiences into his songs. People always connect with that.

That is what got John Kalodner interested and that connection gave birth to a whole new era of Whitesnake from which they are still doing victory laps from.

There is an unwritten rule that says in order to survive in the music business, one must change with the times. Someone forgot to tell David Coverdale. The evolution of Whitesnake has never strayed too far from the blues medium. Even with the 1987 album, it was still rooted in Classic Rock and as we all know, Classic Rock is rooted in the blues/folk movements.

At the height of his fame, he disbanded Whitesnake.

Then when his contemporaries delivered grungier sounding albums, Coverdale stuck to his guns and delivered two blues rock albums with “Restless Heart” and “Into The Light”.

David Coverdale ignored every passing fad and fancy and still managed to assemble a cast of musicians to produce some of the most enduring hit records/songs of the Eighties era. Some might say that he glammed it up in the mid Eighties. However the musical currents that existed underneath the image were greater than the lipstick and teased hair.


White Lion – Mane Attraction

Vito Bratta – White Lion – Mane Attraction Review

Back Story

After the success of Pride and Big Game, Bratta and Tramp took time out to demo songs for Mane Attraction. All up the writing and recording process took two years. To me this is the most mature White Lion album. Mane Attraction was more thought out compared to Big Game, which was an album that was recorded and released in a very quick fashion as the label wanted to cash in on the band.

1991 – The Year of Change

1991 was a funny year. It has been written that all the labels and radio stations jumped on the grunge explosion and totally ignored the rock audiences during this time. That may be true; however other factors also played a part in the fall of hard rock, glam rock, glam metal, etc. The Metal Evolution series and its episodes on glam more cover this area in depth. Even Mike Tramp summed it up in an interview during one of his solo tours.

“Grunge didn’t kill commercial metal. Rather, commercial metal committed harakiri by copying itself so much that there was nothing original left. The eighties killed the eighties. In the end, every band cloned each other and copied each other so many times and there was no originality left at the end of the eighties and people just wanted an alternative. “

It happens with every scene. It starts off as a niche scene, one artist breaks out to the masses and then the labels are all chasing similar artists so that they can cash in. The market then becomes over saturated. Seriously how many bands started with the term White. Whitesnake was the original and then you had the rest. White Lion, White Tiger, White Cross, White Heart, White Diamond, White Eagle, White Russian, White Sister, White Trash, White Vision, White Widow and Whitefoxx.

The Competition

Mane Attraction was released in April 1991 as well as Temple Of The Dog’s tribute album to the Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood who died of a heroin overdose. In March Mr Big released Lean into It with the number 1 hit To Be with You. Skid Row released Slave To The Grind in June and Lollapalooza is launched in July. Metallica releases the Black Album and Pearl Jam releases Ten in August. Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion I and II and Nirvana’s Nevermind are released in September.

You can see that the album was already up against some stiff competition in the rock circles with Skid Row, Metallica (the biggest selling album of the SoundScan era), Mr Big and the GNR circus releasing big career defining albums and the rise of the Alternative Seattle Scene.

The Album

I remember borrowing the CD from a school mate as I was short on cash. Back in those days, people in my area where not sharing their music as the people that purchased the music felt cheated as to why they forked out $30 for a CD (yes that is how much we paid for CD’s in Australia) and the copier would fork out $3 for a blank cassette and dub it.

Regardless after much persuasion and promises that my mate could copy my Motley Crue collection, he coughed up the CD and I took it home. I remember putting it on my Sony CD Player, plugging in the headphones and just laying back.

Stand Outs

Lights and Thunder – It kicked things off. This was written as a fuck you to the label that was pushing the band to write hit songs. Coming in at 8 minutes long it’s far from a charting song. The album is produced by Richie Zito who is a guitarist himself, and in my view is the reason why Lights and Thunder sounds so heavy.

Let me take you to a place
Where everybody knows your face
There¹s no King and there¹s no Queen
And everything is like a dream
You can live in harmony
With those who were your enemy
You can do just what you want to
No one here will ever hurt you

No one bothered telling the above to all war mongers that kicked off the Gulf War and the Balkan War.

War Song – Again this is the band writing for the band and not listening to their label about writing ‘hit songs’. This song has many different styles into one 6 minute plus song.

What are we fighting for?
When the price we pay is endless war
What are we fighting for?
When all we need is peace

As Axl Rose sang in Civil War, “I don’t need your Civil War; it feeds the rich while it buries the poor”.

It’s Over – It blasts out all sleazy and bluesy from the speakers with its 12/8 feel. Fans of Ready N Willing and Saints n Sinners era Whitesnake would be happy with this song. To me it shows Bratta at his blues pop best if there can be such a term.

Blue Monday – gives Vito a chance to show off his Jeff Beck/Eric Clapton/Gary Moore blues muscles by paying tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan who died in a helicopter crash while the writing process was happening.

Clichéd Songs with Great Bratta Moments

Broken Heart – Maybe they saw how Whitesnake got traction by reinventing Here I Go Again, Fool For Your Loving and Crying In The Rain, maybe they thought the same thing would happen with this song. Maybe the record company thought the band handed in a weak record and wanted a single for it. Either way, the song is catchy, I just wish that Mike Tramp re did the lyrics.

Leave Me Alone – One thing that captures you is the Rocket Queen meets ZZ Top meets Van Halen groove. The whole intro goes for 1min and 10 seconds. The label would have been pulling their hair out with that whole minute intro. It’s a shame that Tramp had to ruin the song with crap lyrics and crap melodies. Like many White Lion songs the lead breaks from Vito are songs within a song, and this is no different. The 7#9 chords also work well.

In a Guitar World issue for September 1989 after Big Game came out, Vito was giving a lesson and had the following to say;

‘In my early years as a guitarist, another thing I found helpful was making up a chord book. I wrote down every chord, from triads to thirteenth chords. Then I sat down and worked out every possible fingering and inversion. It took me a year and a half to do – there must have been about six to seven thousand handwritten chords. Then I played through each one of them and removed the chords that sounded like shit. It would have been easier to buy a Mel Bay Chord Book or something similar, but I didn’t believe in that because I was really learning a lot in the process.’

Originality is summed up there. He could have just purchased a Mel Bay book, and learnt from that, but he did it his own way and that is how an artist can find their true voice. Books could give you the guide or the tools; however you need to take what is out there and apply it in your own unique way. I especially like the part where he played through each chord and crossed out the ones he didn’t like, keeping the ones he liked until those chords became a part of his style.

Love Don’t Come Easy – The song is a good progression from Wait. The chord inversions sum up Vito’s style. He starts off with a D5 power chord, then that moves to the 2nd inversion which is D5/F#, then D5/G and finishing it off with an Asus4 chord. In the second verse he plays an arpeggiated part.

And did anyone pick up the Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ vibe in the intro where Schon does pull offs, Vito does tapping with hammer – ons and pull offs. That idea would have to have come from Zito as he was working with Bad English and Neal Schon in 1989.

‘Do you want it, do you need it, because love don’t come easy’.

You’re All I Need – This is Love Don’t Come Easy part 2 as the chords are identical except in a ballad format. It could have been left off the album in my view and then that magical classical trill a thon lead break appears from Vito.

She’s Got Everything – The song itself is pretty weak, until the Peter Gunn blues boogie kicks in to close the song, and then it goes into an Air on G String style guitar solo unaccompanied.

Till Death Do Us Part – the Phil Collins I Wish It Would Rain Down for pop metal. They did a good job with it. This is the full blown wedding waltz song.

Out with the Boys – ‘Out with the boys, to make some noise’. The song is average, again killer Bratta lead break. I like the bass and drum groove after the lead break.

Farewell To You – closes the album and the lyrics tell me that Vito and Mike knew that Mane Attraction was going to be their last album together.

Vito Bratta is easily the most overlooked songwriter/guitarist of the 80’s. Brad Tolinski in a Guitar World issue from September 1989, described Vito as a guitar player who understands music in a classic, rather than classical sense after commenting on his leads in Wait and Don’t Give Up.

Since White Lion called it a day, Vito has stayed away from the music business and as a fan of his style, I wish that he will be back to create music the way he likes it.