October 1987: Whitesnake Turn Down to Blow Up with IS THIS LOVE
The year 1987 was very good to the band Whitesnake. After going through major upheaval in the band, singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes recruited a new cast of players to record the self-titled follow-up to 1984 full-length, Slide It In. The LP was powered by a re-recording of 1982 track, "Here I Go Again." The third single (and its music video, starring actress Tawny Kitaen) from the album was a smash, storming all the way to #1 on the Hot 100 for the week of October 10, 1987.
The next single from Whitesnake, "Is This Love," translated some of that "Here I Go Again" energy (and another steamy video featuring Kitaen) into a storming power ballad. Released in October 1987, the tune raced up the charts, peaking at #2 for the week of December 19, 1987, when George Michael's "Faith" refused to relinquish the top spot.
It's a song that very nearly ended up in the hands of the "Private Dancer" herself, Tina Turner: "'Is This Love' had a bit of a different lyric, which I really enjoyed," Coverdale explains in this video about a trip to the south of France for a writing session. "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 piano ... [Sykes] said, 'What is that?' I went, 'It's not for us.'"
Once Sykes heard the melody, he worked to transform it into a Whitesnake song. The rest is history.