The Real Reason Whitesnake Broke Up In 1990

While some ultra-successful bands see their demise after decades of staying together, other bands breakup mere months or years after the height of their success. And although some band breakups come as major surprises to fans, other dissolutions can be predicted easier than rain in Seattle.

English glam metal band Whitesnake met its fate 12 years after its formation in 1978 with singer David Coverdale calling it quits in 1990, stating that he would be taking a break from the music business. The other members followed suit, and Whitesnake promptly hung up their hats after the last show of the Liquor and Poker tour. But with such a quick ending for the longtime rockers, fans were left scratching their heads: Why did Whitesnake break up so abruptly? And what road would they be going down on their own?

The industry became too much

While the 1990 breakup felt jarring to longtime fans, Whitesnake began seeing trouble on the horizon beginning with guitarist John Sykes and Vivian Campbell's departure in 1985 and 1988 respectively due to creative differences. The void that both members left resulted in several subsequent lineup changes, according to Louder.

Following Coverdale firing all core musicians in 1987, leading to even more lineup changes, the band behind "Here I Go Again" and "Is This Love" quickly disbanded following the last 1990 tour dates, with members Adrian Vandenberg, Rudy Sarzo, and Tommy Aldridge promptly forming a new band, Manic Eden, per Sleaseroxx. Although Coverdale stated that he was done with the music industry for a while, the singer started to work with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for the 1993 album Coverdale • Page. Not the worst way to mark a return to the industry.

Here they go again

Although a new line-up of the band was assembled for 1994's Whitesnake's Greatest Hits album (including former Ratt guitarist Warren DeMartini on lead guitar, drummer Denny Carmassi, the return of bassist Rudy Sarzo and guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, and the addition of keyboard player Paul Mirkovich), Coverdale and Vandenberg joined forces again in 1997 to work together on a new Whitesnake album Restless Heart. The album was supported by a VH1 unplugged performance and a well-received tour. However, at the end of 1997, Coverdale folded the band again, taking another break from the music business.

Per Ultimate Classic Rock, Coverdale reformed the band for Whitesnake's 25th anniversary in 2002, this time including guitarists Doug Aldrich of Dio and Reb Beach of Winger, bass player Marco Mendoza, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboardist Timothy Drury. Since the resurgence, the band has released four studio albums paired with several arena tours. Whether the current lineup will stay intact remains to be seen.