David Coverdale’s Jeff Beck And Elvis Presley Inspired Whitesnake Hit
It is almost impossible to create something that has never been done before, especially in the music industry. David Coverdale‘s specialty is finding different riffs and patterns and molding them into the Whitesnake sound. He is also known for deriving inspiration from cult acts while working on new music, such as 1984’s ‘Slow an’ Easy,’ which was accused of being a Led Zeppelin rip-off.
However, the musician does not do this secretly and shares his admiration for the bands and artists that have created those tracks. One song that hints at many different artists is a classic Whitesnake hit, and Coverdale himself has admitted that the song had obvious nods to Zeppelin. However, the track also combined influences from songs by Elvis Presley and Jeff Beck, which led to the creation of a rock classic.
The Whitesnake Cult Classic Is A Combination Of Elvis Presley And Jeff Beck
Even though the frontman derives inspiration from other bands like Led Zeppelin, he still incorporates the distinctive Whitesnake sound into their albums. The frontman hit the nail on the head on his first try with ‘Still of the Night,’ a track from the band’s self-titled debut album released in 1987.
The Whitesnake founder wrote the song with the band’s then-guitarist John Sykes two years before the album’s release, and its impact on the rock ‘n’ roll scene was one for the books. Coverdale was already under fire for having songs nearly identical to Zeppelin and ‘Still of the Night’ added to the already roaring fire. However, David Coverdale defended himself by giving details about the song’s creation process and his initial inspirations.
In a video series titled ”87 Track by Track’ Whitesnake, released in 2017, the frontman shared the story behind ‘Still of the Night.’ The frontman said that he understood the comparisons with Led Zeppelin; however, his prime influences were Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and Jeff Beck’s ‘Rice Pudding.’ He added that this was one of the songs he was the proudest of and a fan-favorite during live performances.
The song’s writing process started with a riff that he played to former Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes, who added his flare to the song. David Coverdale said it’s a unique song that all Whitesnake’s guitarists have looked forward to playing on stage since it is a ‘big guitar hero lick.’
Coverdale’s words about their hit ‘Still of the Night’:
“With all the Led Zeppelin comparisons and stuff, it was a hybrid of 1957’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’ by Elvis Presley, and the middle piece was inspired by a Jeff Beck Group song called ‘Rice Pudding.’ But of course, the Zeppelin overtones, it’s one of the biggest songs I’ve ever been involved with, one of my favorite songs to perform. It’s one of the audience favorites because they take over for me as soon as I stop singing. It’s cool.
I had a scrubby little riff, and when I played it to John Sykes – you can hear actually on the ‘1987’ 30th-anniversary edition – you can hear it evolve. John’s contribution to that guitar lick is just astonishing. It’s a unique piece that every single one of the guitarists I’ve worked with can’t wait to play. It’s a big guitar hero lick and a big chest-beating song. It’s great; I love it.”
You can listen and watch the music video of ‘Still of the Night’ below.