Sail Away: Whitesnake’s Fantastic Voyage by Martin Popoff (2015)


Sail Away: Whitesnake’s Fantastic Voyage
by Martin Popoff
Soundcheck Books, 2015
224 pages

David Coverdale is a rock icon with a stellar voice that never quite received the respect he deserved. In Sail Away: Whitesnake’s Fantastic Voyage, author Martin Popoff sheds light on the underappreciated singer and his career, starting with Deep Purple in the 1970s, following him through various early incarnations of Whitesnake and the success of Slide It In, Whitesnake (1987), and Slip Of The Tongue. Coverdale’s project with Jimmy Page, solo albums, and the 21st century Whitesnake albums are covered very briefly in an epilogue.

Much of Sail Away reads like an interview, with long quotes from musicians and publicists. Popoff conducted thirty interviews between 1998 and 2014 for this book, and researched a number of publications for additional information, including Circus, Hit Parader, Kerrang!, and Music Express. This is a decidedly British biography, and Popoff has a tendency to editorialize at times while commenting on the records and musicians.

There is quite a bit to do with the process of selecting songs, and the relationships that Coverdale had with the guitarists he employed over the years, including John Sykes, Adrian Vandenberg, and Steve Vai. Not much is written about the backstage antics on tour; the focus is almost entirely on the albums, songs, and relationships.

Sail Away is an interesting read, but not necessarily thrilling. It seems Whitesnake was generally a business-like band that lacked much personality beyond the records themselves. Classic rock and hair metal fans may enjoy learning more about Coverdale, but the book is far from essential reading.

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About JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Posted on April 29, 2015, in books, music, reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love Whitesnake. Coverdale didnt get his due because he/Whitesnake was considered a Robert Plant clone or a ‘poor mans’ Led Zeppelin. I think they sound great. Whitesnake had a few decent guitarists as well. You can definitely tell the difference between Vai, Vandeberg & Sykes. I have seen Whitesnake live several times and each time, the focus was definitely on the show/music rather than off/back stage antics. Coverdale was all business on stage and he sounded great. The last show I saw with Whitesnake was a triple bill in Dayton, OH at Hara arena with Dokken as the opener, Whitesnake was the sandwich act and The Scorpions where the headliner. Great show, great venue with great friends!

    • I have only seen Whitesnake once, about 5 years ago they opened for Judas Priest. They do put on a spectacular show, and Coverdale is the consummate professional when on the stage.

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