Sunday, November 8, 2020

"Is This Love" by Whitesnake

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3312
Date:  10/24/1987
Debut:  53
Peak:  2
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This British band led by David Coverdale broke through in a big way with the #1 hit "Here I Go Again." It was a remix of a song that appeared on their self-titled seventh album. For a follow-up, this power ballad was released. The mainstream-leaning track would be another winner nearly topping the Pop chart while getting to #13 Rock and #38 AC. By this point in time the album had already peaked at #2 and gone triple-platinum, but this hit helped the album keep selling and by January of '88 it would reach the 5 million mark. Eventually it would sell over eight million copies.

ReduxReview:  For a band known for their hard rockin' tracks, this soft ballad was a little unusual. Other hard rock bands at the time were doing well with power ballads, but this one was different. It was a pop song lightly wrapped in 80s glam rock production. It was on par with other mainstream lite-rock ballads like Heart's "These Dreams." The fact that the song made the AC chart certainly set it apart from anything the band had done previously. Still, even though some of the band's core fans didn't like the slick track, it went a long way in making the Whitesnake album sell over 8 million copies. I thought it was a terrific single. It was well-written with a production job that made it ready for radio.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Back when David Coverdale was beginning to write tunes for the Whitesnake album, someone over at EMI contacted him and asked if he might have something good for Tina Turner. Coverdale didn't have anything readily available, but decided to try and write something specifically for Turner. As he began coming up with the tune, the band's guitarist at the time, John Sykes, joined in. Between the two they came up with "Is This Love." However, after it was finished it seems that the song never made it over to Turner. Coverdale and Sykes decided to keep it for Whitesnake. Coverdale was a little apprehensive in recording the song as an actual ballad as the intent was to give it a rock arrangement, but after label head David Geffen heard the song, he encouraged them to keep it as a power ballad. It was a good move with the band scoring a big #2 hit.  2)  The lyrics in the chorus of this song go "Is this love that I'm feeling." Does that sound familiar? It should. That line along with the title was used two years prior in the #9 hit "Is This Love" by Survivor. Could the writers of the Survivor song (Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan) have sued Coverdale and Sykes over the same title/line? Most likely not. First, musically the songs are vastly different. Second, common phrases like "I love you" have been used in different songs over the years. Many songs have also shared the same title. For someone to have a dispute over lyrics, the words need to be very specific and considered a distinct, new creation by the artist. Music and melody could also come into play. "Is this love that I'm feeling" isn't all that unique or creative. If it was, then both of the Whitesnake and Survivor songs would have been in trouble because back in 1978, Bob Marley released his song "Is This Love," which included the exact same line in its chorus.


1 comment:

  1. Not just Survivor...there was also "Is It Love" by Mr. Mister, a couple of similar titles from Van Hagar ("Why Can't This Be Love" and the later "When It's Love"). They all have basically the same lyrical and thematic content.