David Coverdale has worked with Whitesnake for over four decades, but his brief musical career with Deep Purple had a lasting imprint on him. Prior to joining the band, Coverdale led a local band called The Government. The band had played with Purple on the same stage in 1969, so Coverdale and Deep Purple were no strangers to each other. In 1973 the singer sent the band a tape and auditioned after seeing that they were looking for a singer to replace Ian Gillan.
In February 1974, Coverdale released his first album with Deep Purple, titled ‘Burn.’ Two months later, the musician performed with the band in front of over 200,000 fans at the California Jam. At the end of the year, the band released their album “Stormbringer”. After its release, Ritchie Blackmore decided to leave in June 1975 because he was unhappy with the sound of the album. After Blackmore’s departure, Coverdale insisted on continuing with a new guitarist. Sadly, in July 1976, Deep Purple bid farewell to the music scene after their albums were commercial failures.
Deep Purple had a deep meaning for Coverdale. Although his tenure with the band was rather brief, the musician loved working with the band. During his last show with them, Coverdale even shed a few tears before deciding to leave. Furthermore, he also incorporated elements of Deep Purple with him when creating the sound of Whitesnake. Turns out he had huge but desperate expectations of the group long before joining them as a member.
David Coverdale was desperate for a move from Deep Purple
Deep Purple released their album ‘Who do we think we are‘ in 1973. However, the band had internal strife and was exhausted from working tirelessly. Due to the heavy workload and growing tensions with Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan decided to leave in the summer of 1973. Roger Glover was also fired after him.
Following the departures of Gillan and Glover, Deep Purple hired Glenn Hughes as bassist and lead vocalist. Hughes joined the band because he thought they would bring in Paul Rodgers as co-lead vocalist. However, Rodgers had other commitments by then, and Deep Purple had to seek other vocal replacements. At the end, they settled on David Coverdale.
Years before, Coverdale opened Deep Purple in 1969 with his band The Government. From what the singer told Rock & Roll High School in an interview, he ran into Jon Lord, and Lord asked her for her number because he was impressed by Coverdale’s voice. However, the musician didn’t have a phone, so he gave Lord his mailing address.
After that, Coverdale waited and waited for an email from Jon Lord. He woke up every day and checked his mail before doing anything else. Additionally, Coverdale expected the band to approach him if things didn’t work out with Gillan. However, nothing like this happened at the time and Deep Purple continued to work with their lead singer.
Speaking to Rock & Roll High School, David Coverdale recalled the following:
“I opened for Deep Purple at Bradford University in 1969, literally after Ian Gillan and Roger Glover joined. And Jon Lord, bless his heart, said, “I enjoyed your set immensely. Do you have a phone number ? My mom and dad never had a phone. It was ‘pigeon post’, you know, ‘Meet me at such-and-such.’
I gave him my address and Every day I woke up and ran downstairs, even before my cup of tea, to see if there was any mail from Jon Lord. His expression was, ‘In case that other guy doesn’t work.’ Which he did, of course, unfortunately.
Years passed and in 1973 Gillan left Deep Purple. Coverdale, then 20, came across an ad for Deep Purple in Melody Maker and saw that they were looking for a singer. The musician then posted to the group a photo of himself with a tape he recorded. In the same year, Coverdale became a member of Deep Purple, and his expectations came true after a few years.