How A Science Teacher Changed David Coverdale’s Aspect On Music


On September 22, 1951, David Coverdale was born in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Riding Of Yorkshire, England. When he was around 14 years old, he began to work on his voice to develop it. Later on, Coverdale began performing professionally after learning to sing correctly.

Coverdale started to perform with the local band Vintage 67 between 1966 and 1968. He then worked with The Government between 1968 and 1972 and with Fabulosa Brothers from 1972 and 1973 before joining Deep Purple. As it turns out, Coverdale owes his music career to a science teacher at school. Let’s learn how this teacher inspired him.

David Coverdale’s Science Teacher Showed Him Singing Is A Vehicle For Expression


In a 2011 interview with Classic Rock, David Coverdale remembered how he expressed his feelings when he was a child. He stated that his singing was miserable as he was out of tune, but drawing was his primary way of expressing himself. Coverdale then revealed his passion was attending an art college back then.

Moreover, the musician said he was also singing at high school. As Coverdale recalls, his music teacher was ill one day at school, and his science teacher was there as he was the only person who had free time. The teacher then played them Sidney Bechet and Leadbelly, and David Coverdale suddenly felt deeply connected to this music.

Coverdale then said he spoke to this science teacher following this incident, and his emotional responses seemed fascinating to him. Later on, he introduced Coverdale to ‘Big’ Bill Broonzy and Muddy Waters, which gave him a great inspiration for his music.

In the interview with Classic Rock, David Coverdale recalled the following about his childhood:

“I was miserable because I was not in tune! But as a child, my primary way of self-expressing was drawing. I found out at six or seven years old that there was a school you could go to, to learn how to draw, called art college. And that was my passion from then on.

But I was always singing too; I was singing at school. I have a beautiful Renaissance playlist in my multitude of iPods. It opens with an old English song called ‘Sweet Nightingale,’ which I sang rather sweetly before my voice was bastardized by cigarettes, whiskey, and wild, wild women. It was my showpiece at school.”

He then continued:

“I didn’t realize that singing could be such a vehicle for expression until a chance moment of fate, or whatever you want to call it. I had a music teacher who was ill one day at school, and the only teacher who had a free period at that time was a guy called Benbow, a science teacher.

He came in struggling with the school record player and said: ‘I know nothing at all about music, so I’m just gonna play some records I like.’ So he played Sidney Bechet and Leadbelly — the hairs on my neck stood up; I had an immediate emotional response to this music, whereas many of my friends were all sniggering, thinking this was most amusing.

I spoke to him afterward, and he was fascinated that I was getting emotional responses to this kind of music. So he went from there, introduced me to ‘Big’ Bill Broonzy and Muddy Waters, who to me is, like Otis Redding, a divine deity. It gave me great inspiration.

So, although David Coverdale was singing at school, he wasn’t aware of how he could express his emotions with music. At that point, his science teacher showed him how it’s done and inspired him by introducing him to music.