David Coverdale Explains Tina Turner’s Impact On Whitesnake’s ‘Is This Love’
During his appearance on Whitesnake TV, Whitesnake singer David Coverdale opened up about the creation process of one of their iconic songs. As a part of celebrating their ‘Greatest Hits 2022 Collection,’ Coverdale revealed he wrote the song for Tina Turner and explained how he changed his idea.
Whitesnake’s self-titled seventh studio album came out on March 31, 1987, in Europe, and on April 7, 1987, in North America. It received very positive reviews from critics and fans and was a commercially successful record. Along with the sales, their step into more modern glam metal sounds was seen while listening to this work of art. The album produced several hits, but one of them had a great and exciting story behind it.
One of the tracks in the record, ‘Is This Love’ which brought great popularity to them, had been initially created for famous singer Tina Turner. While answering a question about the song’s success despite being a radio-friendly ballad, Coverdale told the song’s story in detail. EMI Records authorities, who were also his friends, needed new songs for Turner after her previous album, ‘Private Dancer,’ and its track, ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ drew significant attention.
Therefore as a big Tina Turner fan, the singer wanted to create a song for her and went to a villa in France with his bandmate John Sykes. Coverdale was working on ‘Is This Love,’ and Sykes realized its greatness, but the singer reminded him that it was for Turner. In addition, after the producer, David Geffen heard it, they both insisted that it was for the band, not Turner. Coverdale added that the singer would perform the song remarkably if they decided not to use it in their album.
Coverdale stated in the video that:
“The original idea was for Tina Turner. My friends and associates at EMI Records were looking for songs to follow up on Tina’s astonishing success story. The album and ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ was huge global, and they were looking for songs. They knew I was going away to do the old correlation of song ideas and said, ‘If you come up with anything that you think might be good for Tina,’ because they knew I was a huge fan, ‘Let us know.’ So that was the idea; the original idea for ‘Is This Love’ was for Tina.
John Sykes and I rented a villa in the south of France, and John and I had different hours. He had owl hours, and I had daytime hours. John would stagger out of his room to get coffee as I was tinkering away and turning the volume up at about four in the afternoon. He said, ‘Oh, what’s that? That’s nice.’ I said, ‘Oh, it’s not for us. It’s for Tina Turner.'”
“Anyway, he gets his coffee, sits down, and starts playing these. It was just this organic thing. These ideas fed beautiful things that I wouldn’t have come up with. Maybe John wouldn’t have come up with the chords, but the embellishments were just part of the whole package of the song. When Geffen heard it, I said, ‘No, no, no. It is for Tina Turner.’ They said, ‘No, it’s not.’ It’s one of the biggest songs that we have.
Whenever we play big heavy metal festivals around the world, I’m going, ‘Should we do it?’ Man, everybody’s hugging because usually, by that time of the day, people need a good sonic hug. So we’re only too happy to oblige with that. Sorry, Tina. I would still love to have heard her sing it, though. If you were to imagine it in your mind’s ear, you know she’d do a superb job on it.”
You can check out the video and song below.