The Beatles Song That Helped David Coverdale Get Hired By Deep Purple
David Coverdale formed Whitesnake in 1978 and established a long-lasting rock and roll career with the band. At first, Coverdale aimed for the members of Whitesnake to be his backing band, but they soon became a band on its own. The lineup changed several times throughout its span of 44 years, and Coverdale remained the only constant member releasing 13 studio albums.
Before Whitesnake, Coverdale had an opportunity to be in Deep Purple once Ian Gillan left the band in 1973. He saw their advertisement in a magazine looking for vocalists, and he decided to audition. According to Coverdale, the audition process was amazing, and his blues-tinged voice contributed a lot to the band’s music for three years. He left Deep Purple in 1976, right before the band decided to go on a hiatus.
How Was Coverdale’s Audition?
During an interview in 2016, David Coverdale said that the audition went very well for him. He first sang a rock song, which is expected if you’re auditioning for a rock band, but Ritchie Blackmore wanted to hear Coverdale’s voice in a ballad. The first song Coverdale thought about singing was the classic ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles. It was perhaps a big risk to choose a legendary song to determine whether he gets the job or not, but obviously, Coverdale nailed it.
He didn’t forget to say how amazing he thought the Deep Purple lineup was and called them remarkable. Because his voice is prone to blues and soul music, he sang the song in Ray Charles’s version, creating a cover of his own. He ultimately got the spot as Deep Purple’s vocalist because he treated the song sensitively and won the hearts of the Deep Purple members.
Here is how he recalled auditioning for Deep Purple with ‘Yesterday’:
“The audition was really amazing. Because it was the full band. Ritchie says, ‘Yeah, you can sing rock. Let’s see what you’re like on ballads.’ I went, ‘Oh, okay.’ He said, ‘What do you wanna do?’ The first thing I thought of was ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles.
Of course, these guys were remarkable musicians. John Lord’s inversions and stuff of Ritchie’s, indescribably accomplished musician, guitar player.
So, we do this thing, and I do more of the Ray Charles approach to the song. More bluesy, souly. John Lorde would remark for decades afterward how that was the sell for me. For him, it was the sensitivity that I had dealing with that song.”
You can watch the full interview below.