The Band Whitesnake’s David Coverdale Refused To Front


David Coverdale is a rock singer and frontman mainly known for his tenure in Whitesnake, the band he founded back in 1978. Before fronting Whitesnake, Coverdale worked as the lead singer of Deep Purple between 1973 and 1976. He joined the band upon seeing an article in which Deep Purple announced they were looking for singers to replace Ian Gillan. After sending a tape and auditioning, Coverdale eventually joined Deep Purple.

In 1974, Deep Purple released their first album with Coverdale, titled ‘Burn.’ The album turned out to be a huge success, and in April 1974, Deep Purple and Coverdale performed to over 200,000 fans on the singer’s first trip to the U.S. In December that year, the band released the ‘Stormbringer’ album. This album carried funk and soul influences more prominently than the previous record, and as a result, Ritchie Blackmore decided to leave the band in June 1975.

Deep Purple decided to move on after Coverdale persuaded them to continue with Tommy Bollin. With Bollin’s addition to the band, they released one studio album titled ‘Come Taste The Band’ in 1975. The album became less successful than Deep Purple’s previous albums, and at the end of a tour in March 1976, David Coverdale decided to leave, claiming there was no band left anymore. During that time period, the singer refused an offer to front a band. Let’s learn which band that was.

David Coverdale Refused Ritchie Blackmore’s Invitation To Front Rainbow


Back when Deep Purple hired David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, the pair provided the band with the elements of funk and blues. The resulting sound was quite apparent on the 1974 release of the band titled ‘Stormbringer.’ Although the album was quite successful, the guitarist Ritchie Blackmore disliked ‘Stormbringer’ and its funky soul elements. As a result, he left Deep Purple to form his band: Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

According to David Coverdale, Ritchie Blackmore approached him to front his new project, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and invited him to join. However, Coverdale refused as he felt uncomfortable about this idea, thinking it would be inappropriate. So, this refusal affected the pair’s relationship. Following that, after Coverdale’s recommendations, Deep Purple hired Tommy Bolin.

As reported by BraveWords’ Greg Prato, here is what David Coverdale recalled about those times:

“When Ritchie Blackmore decided to go from Deep Purple, Ritchie had invited me to go with him to do the Rainbow project. But I felt uncomfortable about it – I didn’t think it was appropriate. And that’s what led to some abrasive aspects of Ritchie’s and my relationship for a while, unfortunately.

When we had a meeting without Ritchie, my recommendations were number one, Jeff Beck, number two, Rory Gallagher, and number three, this guy called Tommy Bolin, which no one had really heard about. I’d heard Tommy Bolin on the Spectrum album by Billy Cobham, and I’d heard him on Alphonse Mouzon’s album, Mind Transplant.

I was really impressed with this work, and I had no idea if he was a 70-year-old African American – I had no idea. So everyone went, ‘Oh wow, he’s pretty good!’ So we sent the word out. Now at that time, Purple was this huge global entity – one of ‘the rock ‘n’ roll aristocratic bands,’ before the market was so oversaturated, as it is now. Even we couldn’t find out where he was.

We found him a few miles down the road from where I used to live in Malibu – he was living there. We arranged for him to come down and jam with us. This guy walks in with multi-colored hair, lime-green Arabian knight…they weren’t trousers, they were like pre-Steven Tyler floating pants. And on four or five-inch sole platform…they weren’t platform shoes, they were kind of platform sandals!”

Following Ritchie Blackmore’s departure, Deep Purple hired Tommy Bollin. David Coverdale was eager to continue, so he persuaded his bandmates to move on. They then released one album with Bollin in 1975, titled ‘Come Taste The Band.’ However, the album turned out to be less successful than its predecessors. A year later, in March 1976, David Coverdale decided to resign in tears, and he believed there was no Deep Purple to leave. So, he went on to form his own band Whitesnake in 1978.