The Whitesnake Song That David Coverdale Wrote For Tina Turner
Whitesnake was formed in 1978 after David Coverdale left his previous band, Deep Purple. When the band first emerged in the 1980s, they became the new hot thing and got a big fanbase. Whitesnake became famous and successful after releasing ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Is This Love?’ which topped the charts.
The band went through several lineup changes and broke up a couple of times while David Coverdale focused on his solo career. Whitesnake reunited in 2003 for their 25 years celebration tour and then took a break from touring and focused on producing music. Finally, in 2018, the band announced their farewell tour, but most dates got canceled or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even when the band’s career was unstable, Coverdale continued to put effort and write songs for the band. Whitesnake’s 1987 hit song, ‘Is This Love?’ was highly important for the band and Coverdale. It helped the band attract attention, and Coverdale explored his feelings for Tina Turner.
What Did David Coverdale Say About ‘Is This Love?’
In 2017, Coverdale talked about this single and discussed its writing process. Initially, he wrote the song for the singer and actress Tina Turner. The band’s guitarist John Sykes also contributed to the track’s writing process and played the guitar while Coverdale sang the lead vocals.
‘Is This Love?‘ is a love song, and the sound is softer than the band’s other songs. The lyrics state how in love the speaker is and that he wants to treat the other person right and look after them. The speaker also cannot believe his feelings and keeps questioning if what he is feeling is love.
Once their producer David Geffen heard it, he stated that the band had to keep the song. Coverdale admitted that he was doubtful about playing it to a rock/metal crowd because it’s a ballad. However, afterward, when he saw even the darkest members of the audience enjoy it, he knew they did a good job.
Here is what he stated back in 2017:
“I was messing about with this idea for Tina Turner – the amazing, luminous Tina Turner; I would still love to hear her perform it. I was playing it on the piano. And John would stay up most of the night – he’d get up at the crack of 4 PM straight to the kitchen for a coffee. I’m playing the song, and he said, ‘Oh, what is that?’ I went, ‘Oh, it’s not for us, it’s for Tina Turner.’
He sits down, picks his Les up, turns on his Rockman little speaker, and starts playing the most incredible embellishments, just entirely naturally. It was so meant to be. The song just unfolded in a beautiful way. I still never thought of Whitesnake recording it as a full ballad. When Geffen heard it, it was, ‘No, no, no, you’re keeping that.’ I was a bit nervous about It – until it was a smash hit!
And it still is. It’s a huge, swoony song. At times we’ll play these big heavy metal dark festivals, and I’ll go, ‘I wonder whether we should drop ‘Is This Love’?’ But no, they’re all there, all these big guys in leather coats, Iron Maiden t-shirts, ‘Is this love…’ It’s adorable. It’s a good vibe, a very positive vibe song.”
You can listen to the song and Coverdale’s interview below.