WHITESNAKE released their eighth studio album Slip of the Tongue on 7 November in the US and 13 November 1989 in the UK via Geffen/Warner Bros. (North America), CBS/Sony (Japan) and EMI (other regions).

The album was recorded at the Record Plant, Los Angeles with producers Mike Clink and Keith Olsen. Singles released from this album: “Fool For Your Loving”, “The Deeper the Love” and “Now You’re Gone”. All three singles charted in the top 40 on US Mainstream Rock Tracks, and “The Deeper the Love” and “Fool For Your Loving” entered the top 5. Another single, “Judgement Day” was released as a promo for the album.

Slip of the Tongue sold over 1 million copies in the US, achieving platinum status. The album reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200. The song “Fool for Your Loving” originally appeared on the album Ready an’ Willing, but was re-recorded for this album.

After touring for the band’s previous multi-platinum self-titled album, guitarist Vivian Campbell left the group due to musical differences. Even with Campbell gone, the songwriting process for Whitesnake’s new album began in Lake Tahoe with singer David Coverdale and guitarist Adrian Vandenberg. Some of the song material, including the title track, had been written while on tour and some of the lyrics had been completed by Coverdale on Bora Bora.

Prior to recording, Adrian Vandenberg suffered a serious wrist injury, making it impossible for him to play without experiencing intense pain. After Coverdale waited as long as possible for Vandenberg’s recovery, he was left with no choice but to find a new guitar player to complete the album. Coverdale chose former Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth and Alcatrazz guitarist Steve Vai.

Coverdale was not familiar with Vai’s work with Zappa, Roth or Alcatrazz, but saw him in the 1986 film Crossroads, in which Vai impressed him greatly. Adrian Vandenberg has stated in several interviews that he did not think Vai’s flamboyant guitar playing was off-putting, and that a more bluesy approach would have suited the album better.

Adrian Vandenberg is credited as co-songwriter on most of the songs, while Steve Vai is credited as “fulfilling all guitar responsibilities” on the album, and appears in all of the band’s music videos. With Vai’s entry the recording process begins.

Coverdale asked his old friend and former Deep Purple bandmate Glenn Hughes to come and sing some backing vocals, but unfortunately at the time, due to Hughes’ drug problems, Hughes was not in the health to sing well.

Although some of Hughes’ material was used (Hughes has stated that his backing vocals appear on three tracks) some of the backing vocals are by Tommy Funderburk and Richard Page. Again, keyboardist Don Airey, along with session musicians Claude Gaudette and David Rosenthal, were brought in to do keyboard parts, but like Hughes, most of his material was not included on the album.

The album received a mixed response from music critics. Allmusic gave it 3 out of 5 stars, Martin Popoff gave it 7 out of 10 stars, Robert Christgau gave it a D rating and Rolling Stone magazine gave it 2 out of 5 stars.

The world tour for the album was the largest ever undertaken by the band, and included their third and second headlining appearance at the famed Monsters of Rock festival, with the line-up Coverdale-Vandenberg-Vai-Sarzo-Aldridge. After this tour Coverdale disbanded the band and took a hiatus from the music business until late 1991 when he began working with Jimmy Page, who produced the album Coverdale/Page in 1993.

Track List: (1). Slip of the Tongue, (2). Cheap an’ Nasty, (3). Fool for Your Loving ’89, (4). Now You’re Gone, (5). Kitten Got Claws, (6). Wings of the Storm, (7). The Deeper the Love, (8). Judgment Day, (9). Slow Poke Music, (10). Sailing Ships

20th Anniversary Edition bonus tracks: (11). Sweet Lady Luck (Single B-side), (12). Now You’re Gone (US Single Remix), (13). Fool For Your Loving (Vai Voltage Mix), (14). Judgment Day (from Live: In the Shadow of the Blues), (5). Slip of the Tongue (from Live at Donington 1990), (16). Kittens Got Claws (from Live at Donington 1990).

Whitesnake personnel: • David Coverdale – vocals, • Steve Vai – guitar, • Adrian Vandenberg – guitar (credited but not recorded), • Rudy Sarzo – bass, • Tommy Aldridge – drums.

Guest musicians: • Don Airey, David Rosenthal, Claude Gaudette – keyboards, • Glenn Hughes, Tommy Funderburk, Richard Page – backing vocals. [sources/photo special]