It might have been 25 years since the first pressing of this unofficial Whitesnake biography but there are at least three good reasons so as to make a special reference to it. Firstly, there is a shortage –quite surprisingly, I must add- of Whitesnake books out there. If my memory serves me well, Tom Hibbert tried to write a few things down back in 1981 but the overall result was mediocre, to say the least. A couple of years ago, a spectacular photo book hit in limited quantities the market but it was so expensive that I wonder who really gave his hard earned money for it. And that’s it really…
The second reason is the author himself. Simon Robinson is a brilliant connoisseur of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake and the rest of the family. He is a man dedicated to the cause and every single classic rock fan thinks highly of him. Last but certainly not least is the fact that the book is packed with many unreleased, archival photos and if through the years we had the chance to see them, it is a welcome turnout to have them all collected in one book.
Despite the fact that the book was not sanctioned by Mr. Coverdale, the author was not deterred and seek out most of the Whitesnake members who were happy to share some of their experiences/memories. So, in these 100 glossy illustrated pages, Robinson manages to capture all the essential information on Whitesnake. He seems to follow the golden rule: “it is most important what NOT to write than to include everything on the final text”. The overall effort deserves an additional round of congratulations as it was made during an era when the internet was no available and the research had the expected obstacles but a certain charm, too. Right from the early Whitesnake days up to the multiplatinum “1987” album the reader is…beamed down in time when Coverdale and Co. faced some serious problems (right up to “Ready an’ Willing”) that made the emblematic frontman follow the path of his eccentric former employer when it came down to the rotation of band members. Quite possibly, the sole negative aspect of the book is the fact that Robinson makes some personal remarks regarding the evaluation of some albums (like for instance he degrades the excellent “Come an’ Get It”) but I guess it’s a matter of taste.
Having said that, “Whitesnake, An Illustrated Biography”” is a must have for all the Whitesnake and classic rock fans. It’s somewhat rare, as it was never reprinted, but if someone tries, he will get to find it one way or another. And mark my words: it is surely worth the search. This is not a “dated” book despite its date of the first pressing!